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June 21, 2011

How We Do Things Series...Toys

Toys, toys, toys!!! Seems like a never ending job to keep on top of that subject around here!

With this many occupants and this many birthdays, we had to find a way to manage toys before they took over our house!!!!

We used to have a play room down the basement and that is where we stored most of the toys, with the exception of “special” toys. Those get stored in the kids rooms. (But there is a limit to how many they can keep in their room). So our kids would spend a lot of their time in the basement playing with “toys”.

But as our kids grew and as God added more of them to our family, we started to realize that a lot of character training happens when children play together. And when our children were downstairs, out of earshot, we were missing out of a lot of training opportunities. It was then that we decided to move a bunch of the toys upstairs. Since then the kids have played upstairs, around us, within hearing range.

This took some adjusting, because I have to admit, I enjoyed the peace and quiet that came when our kids were playing way downstairs and I couldn't really hear them :) But when we moved all the action upstairs, the noise level rose and my tolerance and patience had to rise with it.

But we have never regretted this decision. It has been so valuable to have them play around us.. Not only is it fun to listen to (most times) but there are so many character issues we can deal with, before things get out of hand. Way less, “He said, she said.” “He did, she did!”

We have always tried to keep our kids toys narrowed down to things that will assist them in playing out real life skills. When we built the family room we finally got the toys organized the way I had been dreaming of for a long time. We have one shelf, with containers that are labeled with different toys. eg. Cars, lego, blocks, dishes, play food, people, farm machinery, ect. The children are only allowed to take a couple boxes off the shelf at a time and are to clean those up before they take out any more. The boxes have helped me be more organized in the toys that I buy, and it helps the kids to be more organized in their play and not make huge messes that are too overwhelming to clean up. We also have one box that has misc. type toys plus a toy box with baby toys These toys do not go on the shelf.

The board games are on the top shelf for the simple reason that everyone cannot reach them. I love to encourage our kids to play games, but I don't like all the lost pieces that happen when they have free reign of them. So this way I can somewhat moniter them.

We are very careful with the toys we let our kids play with. Like I said before we like to buy toys that assist in acting out life skills. In the same way, we don't buy toys that would encourage attitudes or behaviour that is contrary to our morals and beliefs as a family.

An example of a couple of things we have chosen to avoid would be guns for boys and barbies for girls. We have talked about guns and came to the conclusion that they only imply one thing and that is death. And we would rather encourage life. In watching little boys play with guns, rarely have we seen them simply shoot at targets, rather they shoot at living things. When they are younger, we would rather cultivate an attitude of kindness and caring for life. Now we understand the whole thing about boys hunting and all that, but we think that is something that they will learn easily enough when they are old enough and responsible enough to handle a real gun. So we choose to keep toy guns out of our toy box.

Barbies are something we have never had in our home. We teach our children to be modest and that beauty comes from the inside. We feel that barbies teach the opposite virtues. Instead we provide our little girls with baby dolls. We have been amazed at how baby dolls seems to bring out the nurturing side of little girls. This is something we want to encourage, as we hope that one day our girls will be able to experience the joy of motherhood.

When we buy toys for our children we ask ourselves if this is a toy that would encourage our children in the values that we have taught them. If we feel a certain toy encourages feelings, desires or emotions contrary to God's Word, we don't encouraging our kids to practice it in their play. If it's a cartoon character we would not let them watch on video, it is not something we allow in our toy collection.

We want to glorify God in every area of our family's lives. And the toys we allow our kids to play with is no exception. It is never worth lowering our standards just for the sake of entertainment.

And so here is my top 10 list of toys:
Building Blocks
Play Tools
Dolls, Doll House and Little People
Play Do
Play Kitchen, Dishes and Food
Farm Machinery
Plastic Animals
Board Games

How about you? What are some of your families favorite toys?


Elisa said...

Hi:) I am new to your blog but I am enjoying it alot so far! This has made me think alot and I think we will be going through our toys soon and getting rid of ones I do not like.Thanks for this post! God bless you!

Clarissa said...

Great post once again!

Heather said...

I love this post! One question though - do the kids just have enough older siblings around to help them put things back where they belong? I know my little girl would not be able to put the right things in the right box or the box back in the right place....but I can definitely see it working when she (and hopefully other children) are bigger...I'm thinking maybe something with pictures would be good for her at this point!
She has the same dollhouse - I found it at a garage sale for $1 and its outside in her playhouse so we don't have it taking up room in here! I love these "how we do things" posts!

The Pauls' Family said...

Hi Heather,

Thanks for your kind comments. Pictures would be a great idea, although if you want to have an opportunity for a learning experience, I would include pictures too :)

Our kids have learned the spelling of what's in the boxes by actually seeing and playing with them!

Some of the younger ones have to ask someone which box contains the toys they want to play with when they take it off the shelf, but because they are only allowed to take one box out at a time, they know which box to put them back in. Am I making sense?

Glad you are enjoying the series!


The Pauls' Family said...

Sorry Heather, meant to say on the first paragraph.
"Pictures would be a great idea, although if you want to have an opportunity for a learning experience, I would include words as well :)"