Sarah's Toy Philosophy

Thursday, February 4, 2016

When I had my first child I was completely overwhelmed by all of the options and the general sensory assault that toy shopping can be. Hello bright packaging, talking toys, crazy colors and what about the flood of character toys that is ever changing?

I didn't really have a toy philosophy, but soon realized I had strong opinions on toys mainly because I had been working in the design industry before kids and while pregnant. It was really hard for me to spend money on something that I thought was poorly designed, either aesthetically or use wise.

In general, I like to think of our toys as a curated collection and I even follow this line of thought when organizing the toys for my kids to play with. I have found that if the toys are displayed and organized in an appealing way, the kids are more likely to play with them and enjoy spending time in our playroom.

Luckily, as I became more familiar with toy options I realized there are plenty of beautifully designed toys that are wonderful to play with. Here are the criteria I use when picking out toys to add to our collection:

1-Buy toys that are well designed.

I like toys that look pretty. I figure that if I am going to be playing with and looking at these toys on a daily basis they should be beautiful. Even though I am a big fan of wooden toys, I also love certain plastic toys like Playmobil, Legos and vintage/classic Fisher Price toys to name a few. I prefer to have a good mix and so do my kids.

2- Buy toys that last.

This speaks to the quality of the toy, as well as the play value. I do not like buying toys that my kids play with once and then forget about nor do I like buying toys that quickly break. All of our building toys fall in the toys that last category, my kids love basic unit blocks, the colorful grimms blocks, and magnatiles. Magnatiles are a current favorite and they get played with by both of my kids almost everyday.

3- Buy toys that help my kids learn.

I wholeheartedly believe that play is an important part of how children learn and therefore their toys should be learning tools as well as a source of fun. When children play with a ball they are learning cause and effect by rolling and throwing it, they are learning shapes when you describe it to them, colors if you discuss that as well. They are developing motor skills, language, laying the groundwork for socializing etc.,

Some of the toys that we own that fit this criterion are our play kitchen, dollhouses (victorian, mushroom, and key house), cash register, toy instruments (hand bells, xylophone, and trumpet) and puppet theater.

For anyone who is interested, our playroom shelves are the Ikea Kallax placed horizontally instead of vertically and our green bins are from Target. Our globe collection is vintage, from ebay and flea markets. 


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