Archive for the ‘Toys’ Category

One of my neighbors dropped by this afternoon and gave us some hand-me-down giant lego blocks. My husband has tremendous issue with my ready acceptance of hand-me-downs. He complains that I never turn anything away, and he’s right. As a result of my open-arm policy on hand-me-downs we have a home bulging with toys. The problem is compounded by the fact that I haven’t purged any baby stuff yet. It all just keeps getting boxed up and put in our (als0 bulging) garage.

When my daughter was an infant and I first started getting these piles of hand-me-down clothes and toys from various streams, I was blown away by friends and family generosity. Now that my daughter is almost four and my son is breeching two, I see it from a different perspective. We are choking on baby clothes, toys, tchachkis. Everything keeps coming in… nothing goes out.

The problem is that we’re not 100% sure that we’re done having children. Also, a lot of the hand-me-downs were provided with the understanding that I’d circle them back, if needed, to the original giver. Since no one has had babies since (except me, with our son), the stuff lives in our living room, our children’s rooms, our closets, our bedroom and garage. I’m choking for a good purge. Fortunately, one of my sister-in-laws is about to have her fourth (whoops! holy surprise on that one!), so I’m going to rotate half of my supply out (the girl stuff). I’m giving it with the same provision though…. “Hold onto it in case I need it back… don’t give it on to anyone else…”

Letting go of children’s things is really hard. As much as I hate tripping over it, feeling like it’s eating up so much space in our house… it’s hard to let go. It’s even hard to pack some things up to the Toy Purgatory of our garage because that means our children have officially outgrown them. The toys will sit in their storage boxes, silent, gathering some dust… waiting on the chance that we may have another baby in our lives. These are the thoughts and feelings that tug at me and make it hard to clear everything out.

My husband constantly complains about it. He was practically glowering at our poor neighbor while she handed me the basket full of Legos. Pressured by his frustration, I immediately set about to putting toys in two bags – one for the trash, the other for the garage – in order to create new space in the house for more age appropriate toys…

Until my husband saw me putting Emily in the bag. Emily is the $20, French, all-natural rubber giraffe teething toy that was all the rage when my daughter was 6 months old. Neither of our children play with Emily now. In truth, they didn’t play with her much when they were teething. But she’s terribly cute and she represents a moment in our parenting lives, the moment when we would pay anything to try to help give comfort to our little girl’s teething pain.

My husband stopped me as I put Emily in the bag — “You can’t take Emily!!!” “Why not?,” I asked. “Because that’ll mean they’re growing up.”

So, we live with some more clutter for now.


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Toys for a Three to Four Year Old

My daughter is exactly three and a half years old. Yesterday, she broke something of mine that she wasn’t supposed to touch. It was no big deal, really, but I expect that she can learn the concept of respecting other people’s things at this age. In order to give her a logical consequence (or at least related consequence), I told her that since she had taken something of mine without her permission, she would have to lose a toy of hers for a week. Then I scanned the toys in our living room, looking for the right one — something that wasn’t too dear to her, like a favorite doll, but something that was still relevant and not mostly a toy her younger brother only uses. As my eyes ran over the shelves and bins, I had a dawning realization… our toys are, for the most part, grossly inappropriate for her age. They literally range from something you would give a 3 month old, like soft fuzzy balls, to those sorting boxes.

My son is 18 months, so, theoretically these toys are relevant to him, and my daughter does still play with them… but that’s probably because she doesn’t have anything better! We tend to keep her “crafting” related (messy / tiny bits) toys in her room, but she literally has nothing age appropriate in our main play / living area.

So, now I’m on a quest to find some good toys. We get a lot of hand-me-down toys (yay!) and the few we do buy we almost always get used. After the first months of having a newborn, I couldn’t stomach the amount of new stuff I kept buying and starting hunting Craig’s List instead.

Here’s my list so far… I’m going to add to this post as I go and use it as a reference point, though, in reality, we’ll maybe end up with only three or four  new toys for the next six months or so.

Neurosmith Music Blocks
A few years ago, I saw a preschooler playing with this toy. It’s amazing, especially for children who are tuned into music. I can see both of my children enjoying this for years, and actually regret not having one earlier in both of their lives. Apparently the newer version pales by comparison (read this review to get a good understanding why), but you can still get the older version on eBay. This link is to the new version, since it’s a more stable location on Amazon.

Musini Magic Sensor

My daughter loves music and dancing, and my son is just figuring out how to bop along, so this looks like a great way to let them have control of the music they’re grooving to. All too often I end up putting on a mix of music for them that doesn’t suit their moods. I’ve also seen this on eBay for the “used” price listed on Amazon – shyuh! Like I’ve got $100 for new children’s toys!

The Retro Fisher Price Teaching Clock

I think my daughter will LOVE this. $16

The Butterfly Pavillion

This looks so cool and would be great to bring to her preschool next year.

Sprout and Grow Window

Again, this would be great at home or preschool. I love that, like an ant farm, they can see exactly how the plant is growing.

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