My children were 2 and 3 years old when we moved to Canada. They had a handful of toys that we had packed in our suitcases: a Barbie doll each, a Bratz doll, a toy telephone, a couple of educational toys, and a few fluffy toys. What they had was enough, especially as they had spent a lot of their time playing outside in the sandbox.
Christmas time that year in Toronto was quite an eye-opener for my husband and I. We have a couple of cousins here and they gave my children some toys for Christmas. We could not believe their generosity – a generosity we were thankful for when it became too cold for the girls to play outside for long periods of time. My daughters spent many hours using the dolls and small doll house they had received as the gateway to their imaginary world.
My children’s toy stash increased dramatically with the advent of kindergarten and the receiving of gifts at their birthday parties. Parents offered my children Barbies, fluffy animals, DVDs, board games, and art activities. It seemed to me as if my children’s room was overflowing with play things: dolls, lego, and a variety of little shapes often littered the floor. I had to get the mess in order ! And make sure that not too many toys were out. A room that is too messy discouraged my little girls from cleaning up!
My solution? Sorting the toys into bins according to “themes”: lego in one box; barbie dolls in another; Polly pockets in a different box; musical instruments and stationary in another. I also made it a rule that they could not play with more than two boxes at a time – a rule that made tidying up less stressful.
I still cannot get over how many toys my children have – a lot more than if we had stayed in South Africa. I have often felt grateful, though, for their toy stash as it has kept them occupied during cold winter days and the long summer holidays (especially as TV is limited in our household).
What has been your solution to your children’s toy stash?
(This blog post was inspired by Jake and his stunning graphics. The prompt for his weekly challenge this week is: Toys.)
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012