I am a firm believer in minimalist living. That said, my kids like so many others have WAY too much stuff. We are working hard to change this and focus on what actually makes sense. The phrase, “I’m Bored” is never to be uttered in my house. I get this from my darling Grandparents who had a large hand in raising me. There is NEVER an excuse for boredom and if you do find yourself bored, there are always chores to be done. It always amazes me what bored minds can come up with when given the alternative of scrubbing the bathroom.
I have a huge problem with how so many toys on the market today have one use. The toys tell you how to use them (this even goes for planned building sets). I want my children to use their imagination and to not be hindered by what a toy is suppose to be for. (And don’t get me started on all the idol/hero worship, dolls who look like streetwalkers and massive amounts of fighting toys.)
So, what does a child really need (other than love, shelter, clothing & food):
- Scissors (stored in a safe place)
- Paste (which you can make or purchase)
- Building Blocks
- Kitchen Play
- Your Recycling Bin
With these items, a child’s play options are limitless. Pull some scraps from the recycling bin and make new pieces of art with crayons, paste & scissors (Now is a great time for snowflakes, my kids had fun making them out of newsprint, old wrapping paper & various other scrap paper). Building blocks are vital, whether you choose standard wooden building sets, lincoln logs or lego type of blocks doesn’t matter (except wood is a more eco friendly choice than plastic)! A child can build a castle, a boat, an airplane. Every child needs a doll or stuffed animal to nurture and love. They can play house, zoo, hospital, dentist, school and so much more. Kids also need pretend kitchen play. This doesn’t mean you need to invest in a child size play set, you can simply dig things out of your cupboards for the little ones to use. My kids love to play restaurant, chef and have tea parties. Remember to bring your kids into the kitchen with you for real cooking time. This is a great (if messy) bonding experience. The options available in the recycling bin are limitless. Cardboard becomes a doll house, a hospital, a play house, a puppet show theater (make puppets out of mismatched socks). You can make cardboard swords and helmets from milk cartons. Egg cartons become a great container for homemade finger paints to decorate that cardboard house.
That’s it… with these few items your child can allow their imagination to take over. When they aren’t inside playing with these items, get them outside to play with sticks, climb trees, go on scavenger hunts, throw snowballs, look for birds and other wildlife. Turn those cardboard boxes into a table and chairs, add some cups and saucers and enjoy a tea party under a tree. Pull out an old sheet or blanket and picnic on the ground.
If you are looking for something to break up the tedium during these long winter days, head out to your local home improvement store for a free building workshop. The photo is of my children with one of their projects. These finished (WOOD) projects make great gifts! Free, DIY, Fun with your kids, wood, what’s not to love?
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