Most minimalist parents strive to find a happy medium when it comes to their kids’ toy clutter. They want their kids to be kids but don’t think having hundreds of toys is the way to go. So how do you create a minimalist home with less toys and more creativity? Here are some practical, simple to execute strategies for building a more creative play environment for your kids.
The benefits of less toys
In an article written for Psychology Today, a study of kids and toys was discussed. Read the full article. Here is a quick breakdown of the findings:
- Fewer toys meant better interaction
- Kids played longer with fewer toys
- Creativity was enhanced with less toys
It’s no surprise that less toys meant more creativity for kids. After all, the benefits of less clutter has proven to reduce anxiety and depression in adults.
Toy downsizing tips
If you have younger kids, downsizing toys is relatively simple It’s when the children are a little bit older that you might face some power struggles. There are two basic questions to ask when deciding what goes and what stays
- Do they play with this?
- Does this enhance more creativity?
As parents, it’s important that we’re honest with ourselves about what is not being played with and what is not increasing their creativity. It can prove to be difficult on parents who attach a financial value to the toys in their home. “This cost $50, I’m not getting rid of it!”
While this monetary struggle can be difficult, it also could prove helpful in future situations when you find yourself tempted to spend significant money on a toy.
There are different things you can do to encourage delcuttering depending on your child’s age.
For older kids:
- Set a timer and make a game out of finding un-used toys to donate.
- Make a list of favorite toys and then encourage them to let go of anything that didn’t make the list.
- Before Christmas and birthdays, remind your children if they want new toys, they must make room for them by downsizing some that they currently have.
For younger kids:
- Secretly store toys that don’t get played with often in closed bins and put away where the child can’t see it. Give it a few months and if the items are not missed, donate them.
More posts you’ll love:
- 28 Unique Experience Gifts to Give Instead of Buying Stuff
- Screen-Free Road Trip Ideas for Kids
- Clutter-free with Kids. Is It Even Possible?
- 7 Minimalist Mom Tips for Raising Independent Kids
There are several standard toys that help promote creativity in kids. It may be a good idea to keep these toys on hand or to encourage them in the future. There are also other areas to play or explore that can be extremely helpful in promoting creativity in your children.
Toys for creativity:
- Play-Doh —here is a great homemade recipe
- Dress ups
Out of the playroom play time
Remember that playtime doesn’t just have to be in a playroom or even with toys! Letting your kids play in the mud, help with gardening, baking in the kitchen or even helping with dishes can keep them busy, and you are sure to have less toys and more creativity.
Don’t ever underestimate the importance of teaching your children basic life skills. Not only will they benefit as adults, but one on one life lessons help them grow more creative and independent while they are young.
Great ideas for out of playroom play time:
- Baking — Check out baking kits at KidStir
- Cutting fruit (butter knifes work)
- Matching Tupperware lids
- Scrubbing dishes
- Cleaning the car
- Folding laundry
The options are endless when it comes to toy-free learning. Sometimes you just have to get creative.
Participate in creativity
If you are hoping for a home with less toys and more creativity, make sure your kids know this is a good thing.
More than anything your kids want time with you, don’t deprive them of that luxury. There are so many ways that you can play with or be involved in their learning without them feeling like it’s learning.
10 Minute play time activities:
- Read together — The Read Aloud Family book talks in depth about the benefits of just reading to your kids, with your kids or even listening to audiobooks together!
- Super heroes on a timer — Play dress up with your kids and set a timer. Go all in and when the timer goes off pretend the story is “to be continued..” this makes kids feel like they are in their own movie and it helps build anticipation for your next play time
- Their pick — Ask your kids what they want to teach you for 10 minutes
- Make dinner — Have your kids crack eggs, stir the bowl or even preheat the oven. You could even do an amature cooking class with Gobble meals! Gobble prepares meals in advance and sends all the stuff right to your door. Putting these gourmet meals together only takes a few minutes and it’s something you and your kids could do together without you needing to put in a ton of effort! Click here to see 15 minute dinner ideas!