SUNDAY POST: TOYS

I think we are overrun with toys. With four children at home, that is hardly surprising. Even if a child gets toys only during birthdays and Christmases from us and some relatives, those toys will eventually accumulate over time. After seven years, our house is packed. There are toys in the attic, in the basement, in the bedrooms, in the common living areas. There are toys in the backyard, in the garage, in the toolshed. There were times when I suggested that we purge out some toys. My husband and the older children, however, were lukewarm to the idea. You see, in our household, toys, like clothes, are being handed down to the younger ones.

Because we have boys, you can imagine what kinds of toys we have. There are train sets: Thomas and friends,  and Geo Tracks,  and others – the number of which is enough to provide efficient transportation for our tiny State. They are parked in a basement room where the train table that my FIL and husband made was placed. I intended that room  to be  my craft area, my private space, when we got around to renovating it. However, I had to say goodbye to the idea when the trains came.

As the boys got older, they got interested in knights and army men and superheroes. So we have a whole battalion of plastic soldiers and tanks of all make and sizes. Then there are the swords, axe, maces, shields and helms. Our older sons sometimes pretend that they are knights duelling each other.

There are the construction toys – the diggers and excavators and dumptrucks. They were mostly banished outdoors where they do their work during spring and summer time.

Then there are the building toys – the legos, the lincoln logs, and all those toys with a gazillion pieces that carpet our floors. They do keep the children busy – busy with scattering them all over the house. For that reason, and the fact that I am often called upon to build structures with them, I count them among my least favorite toys.

Not all of the toys our children have were acquired new. Some were from yardsales and thrift shops.  We got an entire crate of a Thomas trains  set for $4.00. Some were hand me downs from friends. My husband has some of his childhood toys in the mix, too.

One thing I noticed about our children, and this may be true of many other children as well – is that they are not too picky with their toys. No one cares whether a toy is expensive or not. Each toy  gets the same treatment, each looks ratty and well-loved at the end of the day. The children  do not care that  a toy is gender specific. One time, a son bought a doll house from the  Salvation Army – it made a good home for the soldiers on furlough.  Neither do they care if  a toy’s paint is peeling or if it is missing a part. In fact, sometimes, the boys  don’t even care that their toy is not really a toy, i.e., manufactured and bought from a store.

A guest in our house is likely to catch our sons playing with sticks or pieces of cardboard that they cut and turned into an armor, for instance.

He’s ready to attack the other knight. But he is missing his helm.

One winter time, we had a big box parked in the living room, full of little holes and other appendages that were generously taped on it. It was their big tank.

This was parked in the kitchen until it was moved to the living room. It lived out its life in the bedroom closet.

And the little baby. Everything is a toy for him. If I need to distract him, I hand to him whatever safe items I have available. I let him help himself in the kitchen drawers and play with the utensils and containers.  Sometimes, he would drag the broom and dustpan from their corner and happily toddle around with them.  I get extra things to clean, but at least I had  the time to do my job.

There are occasions when  I feel overwhelmed by the toys around me. I can’t help but feel that they are intruding on my space. They make the house a little tinier than it is. It may be true but I suppose that the bigger reason for my ambivalence about toys was the fact that I did not grow up with any. My siblings and I, and our friends too, made do with what our surroundings provided for us. Thus, I grew up thinking that toys are not necessary. Be that as it may, I still like buying toys for the children and will not even contemplate on them having none at all. I understand that, though they are not absolutely necessary, toys contribute a lot to their well-being and happiness. The toys bring memories that will make their adult years happier. So now, when I see toys around, I think of the reason why they are in our house: we have children who we love dearly and want to be happy.

Why is it that even when there are many toys around, they would quarrel over one toy?

 

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Head on over to Jakesprinters Sunday Post for more responses.

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9 comments

  1. I agree with your sentiment. My sisters and I grew up with few toys; and yet my children have a plethora of items. The disarray in the house all seems worth it when you see the children acting out their imaginary world and spending hours with well-worn items.

    • Hi, Colleen. First of all, thanks for the follow. 🙂 Yeah, I will be truly glad if they do play with their toys all the time. As it is, they are only interested with the toys for the first few hours that they’ve been taken out of storage, then they tell me that they are bored and have nothing to do but play in the computer.

  2. When they play with the toys and it keeps them occupied and happy and it also keeps them from the ‘electronic’ ones then I think it’s likely worthwhile for now putting up with all it entails.

    One thing we used to do when our children were young is that each Christmas they would choose some ‘good’ toys to ‘donate’ to a place where other children would receive them…also to make room for the new toys they would receive….Diane

    • As I was telling Colline, the toys do not keep the interest of the children for so long.
      The practice that you had was wonderful. We have friends who did that and we were, in fact, beneficiaries of their kindness. I think it is a good idea because it teaches children many things – like kindness and detachment. I think I will suggest this to the children and see how they respond. Thanks for the suggestion, Diane. 🙂

  3. Wow, so many memories with this lovely post. It seems only yesterday my boys were that young and how lovely to see yours having so much fun with their toys and with each other!

  4. Love you son’s creativity and ingenuity. The cardboard shield reminds me of the Captain America shield I made for my son 2 years ago for Halloween. Fun toys that brings out the best playtime in a child. Have a wonderful day!

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