children + toys, part II.

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?

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  1. ahh, a fellow toy snob :-p i hate CPC and honestly, find plastic toys in general to just be so ugly. my MIL is pretty on board with this, and has really only gotten him stuff i’d buy – lots of melissa and doug and catholic toys.

    my parents however, love the ugly plastic stuff. i do do lots of weeding out – regifting and returning of things, but somethings? he loves. like his mini tonka trucks and garage with ramps (luckily, its small and collapses down to fit in a basket) – i could never “sneak it away” because it is truly one of his favorite things. same thing with mr. potato head. i’ve also bought him matchbox cars ($1 treat from target!) because little boys need cars 🙂

    luckily, he also loves his wooden blocks, wooden train, knitted shaving kit and wooden bowling pins (all handmade from etsy). so i get the nice stuff in there too 🙂 but you might find, as she gets a bit older (starting around 18mo or more, i’ve found), that somethings you don’t have the heart to “bar entry” from the house because once they’ve opened them, they fall in love – plastic and garish though it may be!

    here are some of my favorite etsy shops. nindesigns is who we got our train from and johnny loves to go “window shop” and look at the truck pictures. literally, he asks to go look at the “choo-choo” pictures. too cute1 (knitted playfood and toys. LOVE) (Little felted saints and angels – a great church toy!) (bought our blocks, bowling pins, rocking horse and block box from them. the block box was a custom and they thought it was such a good idea, they carry it in their store now!) (bought one or two things from them, mostly as gifts)


    1. wow, thanks for the awesome links! and I’m thinking once she gets older it will be hard to pry the plastics from her little fingers…but hopefully she won’t have a taste for them…but that’s prolly too much to ask! 🙂


  2. my two favorite childhood toys are special because they both hold a specific memory with each parent.
    honestly both memories are me really wanting it and seeing my parents say no and then cave in and get it. that never happened. Ever.
    so when it did, it was something i really loved. and on a day where my parents showed me special attention.


    1. hi niki! yes I agree…when we finally get something we’ve wanted for a while…it’s all the more special!!! 🙂


  3. I still can’t forget Binu’s demand upon seeing Dhara cry, “give her a toy! give her a toy!” Then when seeing this wooden object thrust toward her, which is a so-called toy he says, “take away the toy, take away the toy!” 🙂


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