How Many Toys Should I Give My Baby?

Posted on Oct 10 2012 - 2:11pm by megganmamma


A few months ago, when Joshi was three months old, I decided that there is such a thing as too many toys. My intuition was telling me to reduce, reduce, reduce. So I gathered up most of Joshi’s toys (and honestly, there weren’t that many) and put them away (mean mum?!). (My plan was to bring them out slowly over the months ahead.) Then I gave him just one toy at a time (typically his wooden teether or just a cloth) and he was quite content and fully absorbed in it. Then I decided to regularly give him no toy. I noticed that when he had a toy he’d usually get into it (ie chew in it … or chew on it … or chew on it), but having no toy he really started observing life, interacting with and enjoying the world and the people around him. With no toy he also spent more time exploring and discovering parts of his body, like how tasty his toes are and how fun doing yoga is when your body’s super duper flexible!

I’ve since done some googling and read that in Germany, two public health workers persuaded a Munich nursery to pack away all playthings for three months out of every year, leaving the children with nothing but tables, chairs, blankets and of course their initiative. They then watched what happened.

Initially, the children were bored but by day two they’d made dens from the tables and blankets and were absorbed in make-believe games. (We used to do this when we were kids. Can’t wait to do it with Joshi!). Hardly surprising – the kids became more imaginative and content and learned to concentrate and communicate better and integrate more in groups.

Anyway, I’m going to continue to follow my intuition and to avoid electronic toys and go for simpler, more natural playthings that need imaginative input from Joshi instead. For now his favourite toys seem to be the box that used to hold my socks (in the picture below), an apple (although he’s not yet eating solids) and my yoga bolster which he loves using to bring himself up to standing. Sorry Mr Modern Day Toy Shop, you’re not going to be getting much dosh from this mamma!

Joshi Playing In My Socks Box

Joshi Playing In My Socks Box

PS. I did however, find a few websites with great natural toys! … I especially love the woollen balls.

6 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Auds October 11, 2012 at 1:51 am -

    Megs, he’s absolutely gorgeous. You are so right, we didn’t have many toys as kids but we should had some great times making dens, tree houses, forts etc… GOOD times.

  2. Maria Cooks! October 19, 2012 at 3:15 am -

    It’s so nice when there are fewer toys around! My arbitrary maximum is three at a time – I feel like my son has much more focus because of it. He’ll sit and play with one toy for over ten minutes at a time which I find remarkable. Although his favourite toys at the moment are a sieve, his daddy’s socks and a cardboard box.

  3. megganmamma October 19, 2012 at 10:05 am -

    That’s great Maria! I do believe it makes a massive difference to their ability to focus. How old is your son?

  4. katesurfs October 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm -

    How did I miss this post! We have about 3 or 4 boxes of toys. They sort of accumulated, I’m not sure how, gifts, yard sales, clearance tables, you know… They’re mostly the nice, wooden type, or classic Mr. Potato head things. The book case with 800 books, that’s a different ‘story’. You know what Margo loves to play with most? The plastic containers in my kitchen cabinet, ice cubes, a bunch of cups and some water. She always makes a big mess on the tile floor, and even cleans it up with a rag. She takes my pots and pans and rips my mint leaves off and makes me all sorts of make believe food. She also loves taking care of her baby doll. Puts a nappy on, tells me how it’s done a poo in the bucket, etc. She has a pair of safety scissors and will sit and cut card stock paper for about half an hour, practicing following the lines that I draw for her. They don’t need toys! A few are fine, and even though I feel like we have too many, I know we have less than most people do! Kids can play with anything! If you do end up with too many toys, as it often happens, you can just hide some and put them in a rotation.

    • megganmamma October 19, 2012 at 11:07 pm -

      I love it! The creativity just oozes out of them, given half a chance! Joshi’s new favourtie ‘toy’ is my guitar case. Today he actually climbed right up on it and did downward dog! That was the moment that I knew he was feeling better again after his runny nose and feeling miserable.