Josée in Ottawa

Kids Are Natural-Born Minimalists

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“What?!”, I hear you say. “Have you seen the state of our toyroom??”

It might not seem like it, but it’s true. Kids really are natural-born minimalists. Since I last posted about having thrown out three garbage bags full of toys, my stealth decluttering of the toy boxes has continued. (In an upcoming blog post I’ll set out some tips on how to cull the toys.) I estimate that I’ve probably gotten rid of half of the toys, and nope – my kids still haven’t noticed. I thought for sure they would start asking questions when I approached the one-third mark, but it hasn’t happened.

“How could this be?”, I’ve been wondering. Then…

Bonhomme is great at inventing intricate games using whatever materials are at hand. This morning he invited me to play “soldiers” with a few lollipops from his Hallowe’en treat bag! He’d already spent at least thirty minutes sorting and stacking his candy, and the lollipop soldier game kept him occupied for another fifteen. Who needs expensive, battery-operated toys when you have a few lollipops? Kids will use their imaginations and will find ways to play with whatever is at hand.

Thinking about this brought to mind another instance of kids making do. A few years ago B.G. excitedly called me into the living room to play store. She had set out some toys to “buy” on the ottoman, and had angled it so that you had to walk along it like you do at the grocery store checkout. She made a point of telling me that the colouring book placed at the end of the line was not for sale. I obligingly picked out a few purchases, and was surprised to find her “scanning” the items across the colouring book before putting them into a grocery bag. That day I happily put our rather large second-hand plastic toy checkout counter (complete with cash register, scanning wand and safe) in the donate pile. She didn’t notice then, either.

If you limit the toys, kids won’t suffer – they’ll simply (and happily) make do with what they do have.

What so you see?

Lollipops or soldiers – what do you see?

One thought on “Kids Are Natural-Born Minimalists

  1. I really, really need your post on culling. Bring it on!

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