Please, Quit Buying all the Toys!

Picture this… you’re walking across your living room floor and, in the short trip, you stumble over all manner of toys. You step on a tractor, a lego, and have to kick a stuffed animal out of your way.

Sound familiar?

Do you ever yell across the room, “Pick up your toys!” Yeah? Because I feel like I say this ALL the time! Before breakfast, lunch, dinner, bath, before leaving the house, etc. I swear, it’s constant. But that’s normal, right? I sure hope so.

This month is my tiny tot’s birthday and I am dreading it, but not for the reason you’re thinking. You know, the whole “getting older, slow down” thing. Trust me, I can’t believe my baby is going to be three and I wish he could stay little forever, but I know that is not possible. No, I am dreading it because of the gifts. Specifically, the pile of shiny new toys he is bound to receive.

Sure, I am thankful that our family loves to spoil my son. But, spoil they do. We get so many toys for every birthday and holiday. I feel guilty getting rid of a gift, so they just keep stacking up in bins, bags, shelves, and toy chests. Toys are all over my floor and on top of tables. The toys are EVERYWHERE! I keep telling myself that my second kiddo will get some use out of them too, but in my heart, I know the same thing is going to happen with him. Toys, toys, and more toys! I am starting to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume.

child playing with toys insideI periodically try to change things up. I secretly tuck some toys away in a tote when the kiddos are at daycare and pull a good ol’ switch-a-roo with a different tote in our basement. The first day is always full of excitement because they are toys the kids haven’t seen in a while, but then the novelty will wear off. Half of the time by day three, my oldest is just upset that I took some of his favorites away. I usually cave and go get them. It happens so slowly that I don’t even notice that the tote in my basement is now empty and my living room is once again, PACKED with toys.

Am I the only one going bonkers living in Toyland?

While pregnant, I was sure that we wouldn’t be one of those homes with a million and two toys. Well, newsflash, we probably have close to that. At least it feels that way…

I know everyone wants to get him the best new thing or score the favorite gift of the day, but in the long run, half of the toys he receives he doesn’t even play with. They just sit collecting dust. Why? Because toddlers gravitate to specific toys and once they have a favorite, it’s hard to sway them. {Because toddlers are the most stubborn creatures on Earth.} 

I am also the world’s biggest sucker and can’t get rid of anything until the absolute last minute. I keep telling myself, “You never know if they are going to use it.” With a new three-month-old, I am likely going to be hanging onto things for a good long while because he will also play with them… eventually. I feel like it’s a never-ending cycle.

Here is a little perspective:

We are currently in the thick of potty-training. And {TMI alert} my tot FINALLY went poop on the potty at daycare! It was a huge deal. I’m sure you understand. 

He was so excited that as we were getting into the car {a few days before his birthday}, he asked me if he could ask for a present. Of course, I said, wondering what he would say. My sweet, innocent toddler then asked for some Blaze and The Monster Machine undies. I about died, not from the cute factor, but because he wanted underwear for his birthday… NOT TOYS! Hooray! I, of course, told my big boy yes. The next day, I immediately ran to the store during my lunch hour to find them. Were they his absolute favorite part of his birthday party? Absolutely not. But will he be able to get months, if not a year of use out of them? Heck yes! 

little boy surrounded by toys outsideSure, toys are new and exciting and super cool. For a little while, at least. They are a novelty that parents only end up tripping over or begging to be picked up. These fancy new toys lose their sparkle and begin collecting dust.

So please, no more toys. Be practical. Sure, a non-toy gift might not provide the same instant wow factor, but it will be appreciated in a different way.

Not sure what to get? Here are some super simple ideas:

  • Growing kids could always use clothes and shoes. Too boring?
  • Experience gifts are great – try zoo passes, children’s museums, aquariums, movie tickets, or a day at the local arcade.
  • Do something fun with them – how about a picnic, a shopping trip, or even a meal at their favorite restaurant.

The list of possibilities is endless, get creative! The memories will last a lifetime, long after the dust gathers on the greatest toy of the moment. 

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Cassie lives in the Thumb. She is married to Eric, and they have two boys, Tanner and Reid. Cassie and her family also share their home with their two dogs (Pomeranian and a Pom-mix) Turbo and Cooper. Cassie is extremely involved in Agriculture, not only is she a full-time field consultant (working with Sugarbeets) in the thumb, but Eric and his family also own and operate a dairy farm and cash crop operation. Most of her free time is spent at the farm with their kiddos (oldest is obsessed), trying new recipes or just cooking in general, reading, and watching the bachelor with her girlfriends. Follow along with Cassie as she writes on her experience of becoming a mother, farm life, and plenty of other random things.

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