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Old 01-27-2013, 12:48 PM   #11
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Re: I'm STILL Stuck on Toys

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I'd buy your bristle blocks lol
For real? I'll pm you as they're the only thing I listed for sale. Everything else I either donated this morning or will donate this week.

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Old 01-27-2013, 01:16 PM   #12
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Re: I'm STILL Stuck on Toys

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Does anyone else have a hard time downsizing collections? I think that's an awesome suggestion but when it comes to things like building toys, how do you know if you will end up w/ too few to actually build something? Like we have 2 sets of megabloks/duplos but 1 set doesn't seem like enough to build much. BTW, she's never been into building toys. We've had wooden blocks, largest mega bloks, mid-size mega bloks, bristle blocks and lincoln logs and the wooden blocks have gotten the most use even though they're more often used in pretend play as "cheese" and other food. She's such a girly girl, but building toys seem like something she should have so I'm not limiting her play options.
I know how you feel about limiting her play options. I had a REALLY hard time with that when my daughter was little. We had wooden blocks and Duplo, but she never really played with them. She had no interest in building toys and still doesn't really to this day. She'll play with her brothers' Trio blocks every now and again, but I think that's only when the boys are playing with them. Otherwise she's never really had much interest in building toys.

What really helped me was realizing that I need to stop thinking about what I should do and start thinking about what my kids actually get the most out of. As a friend of mine once said, "Stop 'shoulding' on yourself. All it does is make you feel guilty." He's right. You can't be making the choice based on feeling guilty because you feel like you should do something. As you've said, those toys "seem like something you should have", which means neither you or your daughter are attached to them. You're just holding on to them because you feel like you're supposed to offer it as an option for creative play. It sounds like you feel it's something you're supposed to do, not something that fits the needs of your family. The truth is if your daughter really has no interest then it doesn't make much sense to hang on to it. You're just offering an option that she's not taking, so it's just taking up space. That was the hardest part of my own process. I didn't want to limit my kids, but in trying not to limit their options I was taking up space. Once I let go of my attachment to what I felt my kids should have we all felt so much better.

As for cutting back on sets, I always start with the easiest sets to cut back on. Play food, for example, it's easy to see what food gets the most attention and what foods get commonly ignored. It's not hard to pick out favorite dolls, favorite doll clothes, and favorite doll accessories. Stuffed animals can be a fight in our house, but we've cut that back to the favorites only, and it's easy to see what those favorites are. I think the hardest thing to cut back on are things like art supplies and building toys. A friend of mine did this by taking the collection and cutting it in half. If her kids were still able to build everything they wanted and didn't seem frustrated by the smaller quantity of stuff, she'd cut it again by half and keep going until she found the point the kids no longer had enough blocks to do what they wanted. When she found that point, she'd give the last half she took back, and gave the rest away. If taking half of them prevented her kids from doing what they wanted, she'd give them half of the portion she took and keep going up in size like that until she found the amount that the kids could easily build what they wanted. Then she gave the rest away. Building toys and art supplies really seem the hardest because there's no easy way to see what's needed or wanted. With dolls and things you can see what gets the most play time. With building toys and art supplies, there really aren't as many favorites beyond one type versus the other, and finding the right number of any one thing really is just trial and error.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:30 PM   #13
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Re: I'm STILL Stuck on Toys

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Thank you all so much! The things that have helped the most were "if it's in storage, it can't possibly be her favorite" and "try thinning out some of the sets." But honestly, it's ALL helpful right now.

So I just packed up the following to get rid of today: 1 doll stroller, 1 doll carrier, 7 puzzles, bristle blocks, 1 large shoebox of play food, the 2 stuffed animals my daughter agreed to part w/ last week, 20 kids VHS tapes, 6 chevron cars, 1 board game and 1 ball. I have so much more progress to make, but I'm finally feeling a little better.

Does anyone else have a hard time downsizing collections? I think that's an awesome suggestion but when it comes to things like building toys, how do you know if you will end up w/ too few to actually build something? Like we have 2 sets of megabloks/duplos but 1 set doesn't seem like enough to build much. BTW, she's never been into building toys. We've had wooden blocks, largest mega bloks, mid-size mega bloks, bristle blocks and lincoln logs and the wooden blocks have gotten the most use even though they're more often used in pretend play as "cheese" and other food. She's such a girly girl, but building toys seem like something she should have so I'm not limiting her play options.
I dont think you'd be limiting her play options if she never plays with them. If it's not an interest, then I doubt she'll miss them. I need to go through DS's toys and get rid of some. Plan to do that in the next couple weeks. Life has finally settled down after holidays and DDs surgery so I'll have some time to do it now.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:44 PM   #14
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Thank you all so much! The things that have helped the most were "if it's in storage, it can't possibly be her favorite" and "try thinning out some of the sets." But honestly, it's ALL helpful right now.

So I just packed up the following to get rid of today: 1 doll stroller, 1 doll carrier, 7 puzzles, bristle blocks, 1 large shoebox of play food, the 2 stuffed animals my daughter agreed to part w/ last week, 20 kids VHS tapes, 6 chevron cars, 1 board game and 1 ball. I have so much more progress to make, but I'm finally feeling a little better.

Does anyone else have a hard time downsizing collections? I think that's an awesome suggestion but when it comes to things like building toys, how do you know if you will end up w/ too few to actually build something? Like we have 2 sets of megabloks/duplos but 1 set doesn't seem like enough to build much. BTW, she's never been into building toys. We've had wooden blocks, largest mega bloks, mid-size mega bloks, bristle blocks and lincoln logs and the wooden blocks have gotten the most use even though they're more often used in pretend play as "cheese" and other food. She's such a girly girl, but building toys seem like something she should have so I'm not limiting her play options.
This may be the opposite kind of help, but if she's not utilizing the blocks because she's girly, then just casually ask her if she wants to build a doll house or tea table with them. Mine builds houses for her teddy bear, castles with dolls inside, or a large 'table' and then has a tea party with her dolls.

I'm the same about 'should.'. There are many toys I WANT them to play with but they realistically don't. I've also gone through many types of blocks and find wooden and duplos to be the standbys. There are also many toys that look like good toys, but if you ask yourself 'what do they actually DO?' You might realize that those toys are easily replaced by other more imaginative toys, or perhaps you can revise your opinion of those toys.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:19 PM   #15
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Re: I'm STILL Stuck on Toys

One thing that helps my daughter get rid of stuff (or not throw a fit about giving stuff away) is that I make an area with all the things I think should be given away and then she can trade out any of her toys (that I haven't deemed for giving away) for an item she doesn't want donated. So far after thinking about it (she usually has 24-48hrs before I do a donation) she has only ever switched one thing.

Now we do have "family" toys and she can't pick from those only her own toys. I have pulled one thing out of the donation pile(it had been put away for about six months) when on two separate occasions (a couple of months apart) she asked about that toy.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:45 AM   #16
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Re: I'm STILL Stuck on Toys

I struggle with what I feel like they should be playing with too. I have plenty of opinions on what types of toys help their development and creativity and academics, but the reality is that every child is different, and my parenting/schooling philosophy is very similar to the Royal Tenenbaums. {we also draw inspiration in execution from Waldorf and Montessori methods, but that's not really relevant in this discussion}. I'll explain our schooling approach, because it really affects what stuff we keep and purge:

We give children access to a variety of opportunities, but recognize and encourage their specific interests the most. Once you see their interests are not in building, then you can eliminate that opportunity to make room for him/her to really focus and delve into what does interest them and/or make room for new opportunities to be introduced. I try to respect their natural inclinations and encourage them to focus.

Example: DS is heavily inclined towards science and math. He's had an incredible amount of knowledge retention for dinosaurs and evolution since about age two. It's only expanded since then. Because of his thirst for dinosaur/evolution/fossil knowledge, he wants us to read ALL.THE.TIME. to him. We can't and won't, so instead of splitting his time into imaginary play, art, and building AND reading, we are now heavily encouraging reading so that he can read all day. He's not really interested in the rest. He's very excited to be able to get as many dinosaur books from the library as he wants and read them all day long. Do I want some healthy variety? Of course. But I have to let him spend his life the way he wants. So instead of encouraging MY definition of creativity that he's not interested in, I need to rethink my definition of creativity the way my son sees it.... in science. Science can be VERY creative if you look at it from a different perspective. If we introduce music to him, it will likely include the way the instruments work, the way sound waves work, etc. Hopefully we can encourage a love of that creative medium through the science behind it. If not, we'll move on.

Does any of that make any sense? I think we give traditional variety too much credit. There is a lot of variety in each subject of interest. Science can be creative for my oldest son. Art can be scientific with the creation and use of different mediums. Physical awareness can be creative and scientific. My middle son is very physically inclined. He is good at sports, so we also encourage creativity in dancing, not drawing. Because of his love of dancing to music, he has developed a love of the music istelf. It started with the dancing though....the physical. When the time comes for more variety, we'll have to introduce science in his understanding of the world: the science of movement and physical properties. And we'll have time and room to do that, because we aren't wasting our limited time and space with the art supplies he doesn't care about, or the science experiments he doesn't relate to...

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Old 01-28-2013, 11:30 AM   #17
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Re: I'm STILL Stuck on Toys

When I have moments of "I *should* keep this, even though they don't play with it because they *should* play with this kind of stuff"...I remember this. We had alphabet blocks, duplos, and lincoln logs when my youngest DS was two. He loved to build...with the canned goods in my pantry. We only have the alphabet blocks now, and only because all three like to make their own live-action Angry Birds game.

If you think she's turned off at blocks because she's too girly, I'd purge all the blocks and maybe try one of those new girly pink and purple lego sets and see what happens. Then if it still doesn't take, purge that and stick with what interests here.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:38 AM   #18
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For us it's Lincoln Logs. I suggested them. DS uses the longest one as a wand and never plays with them. Sigh.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:53 PM   #19
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Re: I'm STILL Stuck on Toys

Lincoln logs - LOL. I loathe them. DH likes to build with them, but the kids scatter them hither and yon. They are GONE.

When I get the first inkling that toys are about to take over, I eliminate duplicates first. Not just 2 cars or 2 dolls or whatever, but 2 toys that provide the same kind of experience. Like keeping the musical toy that plays the most variety and getting rid of the rest. Like keeping one set of cars, not 3 sets in different sizes. The favored train set, the favored princess, the ball they play with the most. Stuff like that.

This all started awhile back when I believe i asked here which Little People sets to keep. *I* thought kids should love little people sets. In the end, I was convinced to sell all but one of them. They don't play with it all that much, but they play with it more than they did before because there are fewer choices to overwhelm them.

Just this weekend, I did a major toy purge. I emptied the toy box, went through every box and bin, and actually got almost every toy out of the living room. Then I packed up about half of them to give away and boxed up half of what remained to rotate back in later. The living room is so calm now. We cleaned it up in about 4 minutes. It helped that the kids played with a cardboard box for several hours, but still. Goes to show that kids will play with whatever is available, no matter how little. And they played so nicely together. It's like fewer toys made them calmer and less prone to arguing. LOL
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:38 PM   #20
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Re: I'm STILL Stuck on Toys

A box. They do that here, too. We had what amounted to a huge box (a cardboard castle) for a while and they spent days playing in it.
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