My kiddos have officially been without toys for four days now. That is they have only the pocket playgrounds that I made for them, their school supplies, a doll and a stuffed animal. The experiment is well underway, and well, I wish I had more to report than I do. The last four days have been unextraordinary in my kiddos lives. They have played, and argued, and done their work pretty much the same as they always do.
I’m not sure how to interpret this “DATA”. I was thinking this would either be a complete failure (me dragging out all their toys because I couldn’t stand it anymore) or a complete success (my children happily playing and getting along and my house being super tidy and quiet).
I have had a couple of requests for old (you know the ones they had only five days ago) toys: L.L. has asked several times to be allowed to play with his LEGOs (he is getting pretty creative about asking – once when I was in the bathroom and twice when I wasn’t completely awake). Babyman keeps telling me that his kitty (a little felt stuffie I made him for Christmas) is dead. I have assured him that kitty is NOT dead – just upstairs – but I am tempted to give it back to him (mostly because I feel bad for him, but also, because he might think I pulled a Lazarus when kitty is “resurrected” – don’t you just LOVE three year olds!).
But in all actuality, my kiddos spend most of their time fighting over the one flashlight that I didn’t put away.
That brings us to something else I wanted to discuss. I really like the Tools not Toys philosophy. It seems to go hand in hand with the Montessori prepared environment that I also enjoy. I will give you a brief overview of the best parts of these.
Tools not toys, is the movement to provide your kiddos with tools instead of toys. Here is a possible list I put together for illustrative purposes:
Sewing supplies (fabrics, needles, pins, scissors, yarn, buttons, crochet hooks, or knitting needles)
Musical instruments (just one or two real ones!)
Camping/ outdoor supplies (mess kit, flashlight, magnifying glass, binoculars, compass, pocket knife, fishing pole, slingshot, and a backpack)
Tools (wood, hammer, screwdriver, saw, sandpaper, nails, screws, wood glue, level, clamps, etc.)
Baking and cooking supplies (real ones, not pretend)
Cleaning supplies (clothespins, mop, broom, dustpan, spray bottle, etc.)
Montessori teachers and parents provide many of these same types of supplies in their prepared environments. What I like about Montessori that I think needs to be added here is that all of these supplies are REAL and CHILD SIZED. It is so important for the items to be real working items instead of just pretend plastic ones. If you provide your child(ren) with real working tools that are small enough for them to control, you will be amazed at what they can accomplish. My three year old can cut bananas and make oatmeal for himself. My seven year old can make ice cream and then clean up afterwards. My nine year old is stitching embroidery on a kitchen towel and doing basic crochet. My 15 year old made our entire Thanksgiving dinner. I’m truly not bragging, this is normal and typical for kids that grow up in this type of environment. I only mention it so that you see that sometimes WE are the ones holding our kids back.
Just some AMAZINGLY SIMPLE ideas for today!
A few of you let me know you are a little behind on your email homework, so I am trying to give you all a few more days to catch up. I don’t want to overwhelm anyone – keep trucking – you CAN do it! If you are caught up – go find something to get rid of! 🙂
Let me know what YOU think about toys!