We are up to the section entitled, “The Power of Less” in Chapter Three. Kim John Payne talks about going through toys in this section. He advises:
- Try doing the first whittling away of toys without your child present.
- Throw out the broken or damaged toys or ones that are developmentally inappropriate.
- Throw out any toy that is too complex or ones that will break easily.
- Evaluate the remaining toys – is it a toy a child can pour imagination into or is it too fixed?
- Choose and keep the simplest toys. Children usually play with what they can move or what they can use in conjunction with their imagination.
- Avoid high tech toys or gadgets for small children – realize things like cell phones and such are being purposefully marketed to children as young as 8 to 10 years of age.
- Do not buy the toy of the moment.
- My favorite quote: “In a world as sped-up and hypercharged as our own, surely the last thing our children need is more stimulation.”
- Donate the rest of the toys, and organize what remains.
- Remember the role of real work in play: baking, digging, gardening, food preparation….Have real items around for children to participate in these roles.
- Play with the four elements outside and have tools for this available: buckets, nets, shovels, kites, scoops, bubbles, baskets and containers for pouring and collecting.
- If you have a yard, this is your “first frontier of nature”. Use it!
- For books, children before the age of eight or nine only need one or two books accessible. A dozen or fewer books can be on a bookshelf as a permanent collection. Kim John Payne advises at seven or eight years of age to add in reference books about the subjects your child is interested in.
How do you simplify your child’s toys and books and encourage outdoor and social play?
Can you explain why more than one or two books are not necessary? Is it because of the emphasis in Waldorf tradition on storytelling? Why is this considered by and large better than reading? Most parenting sources recommend a lot of reading.
I did the toy culling and it worked very well. Now my 9 year old, who has some money from odd jobs arouns the neighborhood and can also spend part of his allowance, wants to buy himself a new toy every few days, And he nags and nags about it. My husband thinks that, if it is,the child’s money to spend, he shoukd be able to spend it on anything he wishes but is starting to agree with me that there is too much emphasis on the aquisition of stuff. It is frustrating!