In the days of kerosene lamps and coal furnaces, house wives had a ritual called ‘spring cleaning’. The residue these two items created mandated cleaning homes from floor to ceiling.
Even when electricity and gas furnaces replaced the dirty utilities, housewives continued the spring-cleaning ritual, opening windows, airing out the house, cleaning from top to bottom.
Today, we don’t need to remove coal dust from our walls. More likely, we need to purge the accumulation from Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s day from our closets and cupboards to make way for the next round of gifts, different sized clothing, and fresh fashion trends.
Our children’s rooms are no different. As they grow, closets need to be purged of items too small to wear; replenished with summer gear and eventually new digs for the school year. But what do we do with the rooms that house toys?
The bedrooms our children occupied were very small. Most of their toys were in the basement, where the Lego builds could remain from day to day; little villages created from Fisher Price doll house and farm set could last more days than one until a new game or adventure awaited. I have a distinct memory of allowing friends to come and play after church. The next Monday, I went to the basement to do laundry to discover EVERY TOY and piece was on the floor of the play room. Even I was overwhelmed at the mess, not certain where to start picking up. There was no way my children could tackle such disarray. Some of you may face a similar story.
When I read about research about the amount of time spent with a toy and the creativity it produced regarding numbers of toys available, this memory immediately came to my mind. Perhaps you will also find this article fascinating. It was printed in RETURNTONOW.NET. Read it and see if you can ‘spring clean’ toys or at least box a few things up so a rotation system can occur.
Too many options in the toy room can overstimulate and overwhelm a child, so that he can’t focus on — or learn from — any of them, a recent study finds.
Reducing the number of toys results in more creative, imaginative play, researchers found.
For the study, researchers from The University of Toledo gave toddlers either four toys or 16 toys.
The children with fewer toys played with each toy for longer periods of time, studying, observing and experimenting with it.
“An abundance of toys present reduced the quality of the toddlers’ play,” the study’s authors wrote. “Fewer toys at once may help toddlers to focus better and play more creatively.”
The children with four toys exhibited one-and-a-half times more interactions with the toys than the children with 16, indicating they were playing in “more sophisticated, advanced ways,” they added.
“This increased involvement with a toy has positive implications for many facets of development, including imaginative and pretend play, self-expression, physical skills such as fine motor coordination, and problem-solving,” writes psychologist Susan Newman for Psychology Today.
The study echoes the findings of a German experiment in which all of the toys were taken out of several kindergarten classrooms for 3 months.
The children were left with only their desks, chairs and blankets to play with.
At first they were bored to tears. But by the second day, they got creative.
They started building forts, turning their desks into trains, and performing circuses and plays.
Their drawing and painting skills even improved:
“The children used to do one little squiggle on a piece of paper and then throw it away,” teacher Gisela Marti told The Independent. “But when paper was given back to them they drew or painted all over it until there was not a patch of white paper left.”
“We find that children [who participated in the experiment] concentrate better when they work, integrate better into groups and communicate better than the children who didn’t take part,” said Elke Schubert, a German public health officer.
For tips on how to streamline your children’s toy collection, check out Simplicity Parenting and Clutterfree with Kids: