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Toy Room Ideas for Minimalist Toys
Recently, I got rid of the toys. Not only were we swimming in mess and chaos, but I had noticed that my kids weren’t even really engaging with what they had. Instead, they would throw toys onto the floor then move on to something else. If you’re thinking about decluttering the toys in your house – I can tell you that it is 100% worth it. There are so many benefits for both you and your child. Of course this doesn’t mean to say that you shouldn’t have any toys at all – but instead to think carefully about toys that will grow with them when you purchase them.
Below are 10 categories of toys that you may want to include in your house. How much of each category (or if you even include a category) you have, will be completely dependent on your child. Through observing them, and learning about their interests you may build up one particular category quicker or more than the others. I have linked some of our favourite products to those available on Amazon – these are ones that we have purchased ourselves, actually used and rate highly – but I do totally encourage you to check out second hand stores or swaps online first.
Note: I haven’t included arts and crafts as a category, nor have I included books. This is purely because I feel that every household should have these toys! Actually, I wouldn’t even class them as toys! And don’t forget – as long as a child can get outside and play and be a child, then they will be happy. All these extras are just a bonus!
Categories of Minimalist toys:
Blocks are an amazing way for open ended play, and there are so many different varieties to suit children of all ages. Whether it’s duplo, progressing to lego as they get older, magnetic tiles or classic wooden blocks. The possibilities are endless with blocks, and the sophistication of how they’re used grows as the child does. Our favourites are: Grimms and Melissa and Doug
Family play develops over time – starting from a small child liking a particular doll or teddy, then progressing to replicating real life. Keep in mind guys that dolls are not just for girls! My son absolutely LOVES playing family – but his sister rarely gives him a chance and I don’t want to purchase two of everything lol! As the play becomes more sophisticated, a highchair, pram, cot can be added. In this category I would also include something like a play kitchen! We love: Miniland Dolls
Just like dolls aren’t only for girls, vehicles are not just for boys! My daughter was into vehicles well before she started to enjoy playing “mummy”. Like blocks, this is a broad category encompassing trains, trucks, cars, construction equipment and more. You could be simple with a road mat and some small cars, or focus just on a train set. Go for what your child is into. We have a variety and they’re just stored in one big box – so when they feel like playing cars, it all comes out at once. Makes it easy to tidy up and store away when they’re done! Our favourite is a multi-use road mat by WaytoPlay
Sensory play is so beneficial for any age! For a baby it helps them learn and discover new things, for a toddler it can transform into experimenting with new textures and learning how different materials work together, and then as a preschooler it shares more about science. Sensory play is probably our favourite type of play and very little is needed! Most things you can find in your pantry or cupboards already such as rice, water, dry beans, pasta. If you’re keen you could make up a heuristic play basket, or a nature basket. All you need to add is a container to play in, and maybe some small animals or characters to create scenes with.
A controversial category probably due to the noise factor haha! But just like art and reading, I do feel that exposure to music is a must for a child. We have a small box of musical instruments that we keep together, and bring them out when the kids ask for them. From just making noise, to learning to keep beat with songs on the radio, our kids now put on little shows for us. Our favourites are: Hape Musical Stacking Boxes and Hape Toddler Beat Box Set
Another category that may be associated with smaller kids – but really, kids of all age love and benefit from make believe. Similar to family play, make believe props allow children to imitate the world around them, make sense of new things as well as be creative. You really don’t need much – even some basic props would do – gosh, my 3.5 year old will grab a rope and pretend it’s a horse haha! But if you are keen to extend their play creating a box of dress ups and props is ideal! Think: scarves, different occupations, princesses, heroes, animals and more.
Puzzles are amazing and there is such a variety out there! This is definitely one category that I encourage you to go second hand shopping for! At a young age, basic shape puzzles are the best, allowing a child to focus on fine motor skills and the concept of completing a puzzle. As they get older there’s the classic floor puzzles or awesome multilayered puzzles for more complex thinking. The ones highlighted above are our favourites!
Items like nesting cups, stacking rings, shape-sorting toys, things that stack and so on really encourage problem solving skills and cognitive development in our wee ones. At a younger age they are happy to watch things be built up then knock them down, or putting things in and seeing them disappear. As they get older, it’s a source of language acquisition as well as learning shapes and colours etc. Our favourites are: Hape Geometric Stacker and Fisher Price Baby’s First Shape Sorter
The movement category encompasses all those toys that encourage gross motor development. Many of these are for outdoors, but you might be like us and let the kids use them indoors too. Our favourites are: balance bikes (especially if you can get one that grows with the child from a three-wheeler to a two-wheeler!), a balance board (which can be used as an accessory with so many other categories, our kids love using it as a ramp or bridge with their cars), and of course – balls!
Taking it back to the old school, containment objects are simply that – containers and the like. Honestly, who can’t say that their baby or toddler hasn’t spent a good chunk of time emptying and exploring the kitchen cupboards! Spades, buckets, containers, kitchen utensils, jars, bottles etc are all great options and make for open ended play. Placing pegs into bottles, playing with water, stacking, used with sensory play etc the list goes on!
And there you have it! Marketing today will make you think that your child needs this and needs that, but like I’ve mentioned before – they really need very little to be happy. We totally try to avoid toys that are made to “entertain” them i.e. babysitting toys (think plasticy, noisy, light up etc). You may feel apprehensive to make the changes – I totally remember that feeling! But seeing my kids I can hand on heart tell you that they are happier with less, they are more creative, spend more time outside and more time reading! Win win!
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