thoughts on the toy collection

"the most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things." - plato

since simplifying atticus' toy collection, i've been thinking a lot about toys. what purpose do i want them to serve? what kind of boundaries, if any, are appropriate? i had been thinking a lot about my desire to see atticus play with a few, higher-quality, natural-material toys, which in part motivated the toy purge of last week (or whenever it was).

then, when reading a book that i thought was totally unrelated to the topic, i came across some great guidelines that seemed to articulate what i had already been thinking about.

1. is it beautiful? does it encourage kids to value good design and craftsmanship, and to prioritize human work and experience over consumption?

2. is it simple? can it be used in a variety of ways across a variety of ages? does it evoke creativity and imagination?

3. what is it made of? does the toy collection show an adequate representation of materials that occur in nature? not only are these toys appealing to the senses and long-lasting, they can be talked about in terms similar to those regarding whole foods: the closer to the original source, the better.

4. what senses does it use? is it beautiful to more than one sense? children are particularly sensitive to sensory stimulation, so the more it engages their senses, the better!

5. how is it organized? i loved this guideline - adults feel more comfortable and productive with organized materials in an organized environment. it only makes sense that children would feel the same way about their things! are toys easy to find and accessible?

6. is there too much? the author stressed that this might be the most important guideline. are we teaching our children to overconsume, or to appreciate what they have? do they KNOW what all they have? if not, there's probably too much - or it's probably not organized well.

(guidelines are from 'the creative family' by amanda blake soule)

a few more that came to mind as i was reading:
*do you know where it comes from? who made it and why?
*is it repurposed/could it later be repurposed?

just some things that have been on my mind lately - definitely not saying that it should be a hard and fast rule for every family, i just think it's the direction i'd like to go.

1 comment :

tivo vovo said...

these are some really good thoughts. thanks for investing so much time and energy into our children and the life they will come to know as their childhood.