Before the birth of my baby, I thought and wrote a little about the world of children + their toys. But now that I have a 5.5 month old, I am thinking about this topic more and more often. I think about it whenever I hand her a toy to play or chew on. I think about it whenever she receives a gift from someone — I debate in my mind whether to keep the gift or not.
I’m currently reading a book called, The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule. I can’t help but love what she says in an interview I posted in a previous update: “I think my one piece of advice for that would be to choose carefully the toys you bring into your home. For lots of reasons, ‘less’ is more. It’s better for children’s imaginations, better for creating a peaceful family environment, and it’s much easier on the space in a house. I also think ‘beauty’ is an important factor to consider when bringing a toy into your home. Shouldn’t children’s toys and surroundings be beautiful, too? I think so.”
I just love this idea of a peaceful and beautiful, yet real and comfortable home — one that fosters an appreciation for beauty in a completely natural way. I truly feel that the run-of-the-mill plastic attention grabber toys, plethora of stuffed animals, beanie babies and barbies, television, and video games take beauty away from the home and what it symbolizes. It also takes away the beauty of being a simple, curious kid.
One of my favorite things to do on weekdays is take my daughter outside to our garden and let her touch each plant as I go on to tell her the name of each one, “dill…cilantro…rosemary…squash…cucumbers…lettuce…broccoli.” We usually walk back in the house with the smell of dill or rosemary on our fingertips. I also let her feel the fabric I’m using during a sewing project, and explain to her what mama is going to make this time. I can’t wait until I can teach her the sweet simple things in life. (Like baking cupcakes.)
As for toys, I hope to weed out the consumer bad and keep the good — educational, natural fibers, simple. (Like our neighbors who gave her a cloth toy veterinarian’s medical bag filled with cloth medical equipment. Love it!) Below are some of the toys my baby plays with these days. She loves to chew on her cloth animals and doll. I actually purchased these cloth toys five years ago when I was in college. I guess you could call me a “think for the future kinda gal” — purchasing cloth toys, a small library of children’s books and simple cotton clothing for my future kids. I wasn’t even married at the time. ; )
The following are a couple wooden rattles I picked up a couple months ago from a darling Etsy shop located in Columbus, Ohio, called, Little Alouette. Love these, and so does my baby girl. Maybe she’ll love them so much that they’ll inspire her to be a woodworker when she grows up. : )
As a parent or a lover of children’s goods (like I was), what are some toys/books/goods you recommend?