Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rethinking Christmas Toys

There are so many amazing toys out there now, it's easy to go overboard. And this is the first year that Ava's started to really express a desire for a particular toy (I'll give you a hint, it rhymes with Garbie). But she also has a bedroom and a playroom filled with so (so, so, so) many toys. Many of which she barely plays with.

So this year I've really been focusing on quality, not quanity, and on really well made, well designed toys, especially those that are also educational. I've also been buying things she needs like books and clothes, and even jewelry and hair accessories instead of toys. I even filled a bag with toys she doesn't play with to take to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

And, I've begun to look into better storage options for her toys, so she can find the ones she wants to play with and knows where to put them away when shes done (cleaning up is something we really need to work on with Ava). For this, I'm taking a page from her daycare's play book. They have different areas set up for different kinds of toys or types of play and everything has a particular place so the kids know where to put it back.

These are some of the toys I'm thinking about this year. A Puppet Theater, adorable Dollhouse Furniture to go in Ava's dollhouse, a Paper Doll Game that's won lots of awards, Magnetic Dress-Up Dolls, and Ivy and Bean books.

The Ivy and Bean books are for a bit of an older audience, but Ava's nickname is Bean and we've also started reading the Junie B Jones books, which she loves. I think it's actually good to sometimes read books to younger kids that don't have illustations on every page because it encourages them to use their imaginations.

I also love all the Wooden Play Food from Melissa and Doug (also available at Land of Nod and Target) and this adorable Art Easel from Ikea for only $15 (plus a Splat Mat from Land of Nod to catch any spills)

For storage, I'm thinking bins, baskets, shelves, and jars all labeled and easy to spot.

I'd like to add rub-on numbers (from the craft store) onto the jars and use them to store small toys like Darby accessories, legos, Playmobil and Little People. The candy jar style ones are only $5 at Target, but are only available in stores. The baskets (these ones are from World Market) would be great for under bed storage or on a bookshelf and could hold things like play food, blocks, etc. I would add tags painted with chalkboard paint. The bins are great for doll storage (especially the cute paper doll bins from DwellStudio) or stuffed animals.

I'm also trying to focus more on handmade/homemade gifts this year to cut down on consumersim and to give our loved ones something we really put our hearts in. More on this later.

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