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Toddling Through the Silicon Valley

By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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Rotating Toys

Uploaded: Dec 13, 2014
It sounds like the perfect solution. Take out a subset of toys for your child to play with and every couple of weeks rotate it with another subset. Your child will enjoy the novelty of "new" toys and you will enjoy less mess to clean up every day. Win win!

Our son was forced to try something similar when we moved to the Bay Area. Our movers accidentally put his box of toys into storage. So for the first few months he played with only a subset of his toys. When he got his toys back from storage he did enjoy them more than I expected. Maybe it was because they were in storage for so long or maybe it was because he was now a couple months older.

When our son was younger, I tried making his toys more interesting by organizing them around themes. One day I would get out his farm toys and books. Another day I took out his car books and toys. It worked very well...until he became a toddler.

As a toddler, our son became interested in taking more control of his playtime...which toys to play with and how to play with them. I quickly realized that one of the best ways to let him direct his own play was to teach him where all of his toys were stored. And to keep the ones that he typically plays with easily accessible. That way he can choose the toys that most interest him that day and decide how to play with them himself. Shouldn't he be in charge of his play, not me?

I still bring out some of the lesser-used toys to play with on a rainy day, for playdates or just because. But, for the most part, it's fun to step back and let him get absorbed into his play. Maybe our organization of toys will change again as he gets older or as his sister accumulates more toys. But for now, it works well for us.

Now that we are in the season of more and more and more toys, how do you deal with their abundance?
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Posted by Mother of 4, a resident of Palo Verde School,
on Dec 14, 2014 at 3:22 pm

This piece reads something like the previous one with regards to techie gadgets, except that the topic is toys.

Once again, kids don't need as many toys as parents often think they need. Kids will play with what they like and I can guarantee that a week after Christmas, most kids will be back playing with the favorites while the new ones start gathering dust. Just as it is down to the child themselves to decide what they like rather than being told to play with certain toys in a rotation.

Notwithstanding, we did have certain rules with toys. We had "bedroom toys" and "family room toys" and aimed to keep certain toys in certain places for play, the same obviously with outdoor toys and indoor toys. Some toys stayed in the car, and some were just in the diaper bag and never taken out at home. The boy toys and girl toys were treated the same by us and as individuals our kids decided if they wanted to play with them or not. All bikes, etc. were neutral colors so they could be passed on. We also allowed certain favorite toys to be put away in secret (parents' room) when friends came over for playdates as these did not want to be shared and that was OK too.

At this time of Christmas, it is easy to go and buy all the latest kid toys or follow the latest trend, but quite often less toys makes for happy kids rather than indulging every whim. My kids love shopping with me for a kid their age on the charity wish tree at school. They love imagining what a kid their age would like.

Even a toddler can get by with fewer toys that we imagine. That way we even see them using mixing bowls and wooden spoons as a drum kit, tupperwares and measuring cups as stacking toys, and empty boxes as cars or trucks to sit and "drive". Let their imaginations soar and help them to be innovative. Even find an old rotary phone and let them play with that!

Now as they get older and preteen and teen, it may be another story. But for the younger years at least, the best playthings may not be what we as parents expect and hiding a favorite thing for a rotation may cause more tears as opposed to a new found treasure.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Dec 14, 2014 at 11:04 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mother of 4- What a great tradition! Shopping for a child on the charity wish tree is a great way to remind children what the holiday season is truly about.

Posted by Mark Waterman, a resident of another community,
on Mar 2, 2015 at 6:47 am

Just read the posts with interest thought I'd share an awesome (I'm not sure if it for kids or adults) thing a came across recently. It seems to be a trampoline, a play house and a gyroscope plus a bunch of other stuff all in one. So if they get bored with one thing they can have something else.

It does't say when its available but I want one!

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 2, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mark Waterman - Thank you for the link. I have never seen anything like that! Definitely a different way to "rotate" toys. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

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