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