July 16, 2008

Who needs toys?

None of his is new or rocket science. I am writing this because I need to remind myself that our little boy doesn't need toys or other playthings. First of all, he has plenty. Second of all, there are so many other ways of having fun. When I think of my favorite things from when I was a kid, there are a few things that stand out: Erector Set, Strawberry Shortcake paper dolls, Mousetrap, and some small amusements such as Simon and Rubik's Cube. But the things I spent most of my time doing included making forts (lawn chairs and towels outside, cushions/pillows/blankets inside), picking fruits and enjoying them in our tree house, swimming, and exploring. No toys required. I am sure the lack of toys can help stimulate creativity as well, so I do want to be careful not to overdo it.

The little boy does have a few stand-out items so far. Legos are a must-have, his Learn 'n Groove musical table inspires all sorts of fun wiggles and giggles, he can put wooden puzzles together in no time and knows all the sounds now too, and I absolutely recommend a push-toy such as our John Deere tractor, especially as they're having fun learning to walk. That said, I recently gave the boy a paint brush and a bucket of water, and he was very happily occupied for over an hour, "painting" the rocks/picnic table/chairs/flowers in the yard. Then he had fun picking flowers and putting them in mommy's hair. A great reminder that fun and inspiration can be found anywhere.

Other non-toy fun for the little ones:
- Salad Spinner and a couple items to put inside and spin around
- Spices make great rattles (cinnamon sticks, crushed red pepper, etc.)
- Boxes, of course
- Laundry basket - they can help sort items, or hand them to you to fold, and then crawl inside and laugh their heads off. At least, that's what Aaron does. :-)
- A couple baking pans, a wooden spoon and a whisk make a great drum set

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