Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why I don't buy my kids toys

If I had the time and creative energy there would be an angled photo of wooden cupboard doors right here.

But it's the end of a long day full of work, kids, Christmas trees, fast food dinners, baths, fights over homework and addressing Christmas cards.

So you'll just have to imagine it.

I sometimes dread the "Christmas list" request that inevitably comes this time of year.  Sure, give my kids a Target or Toys R Us ad, and they'll come up with a huge list of toys they want.

But the thing is, I'm their mom.  And I know them better than they know themselves at this point.

My kids don't play with toys.  We have lots of various toys, but in reality they truly are underused.

I know that the toys my kids receive are new and exciting for a week, tops.  Then they find their way to the bottom of the toy baskets, not to be seen or played with for months.  Toys they thought they would love, are hard to use or require parental supervision [which we don't have a lot of time for.]

So what do my kids do?

They play with OUR stuff.  Way more than they play with toys.

We have a tall wooden armoire that currently is in our living room.  It's had a variety of uses over the past years, and this is not it's permanent position, it's just that when we moved bedrooms, our new bedroom doesn't have room for it. The top of it contains Bean's clothes.  The man has a 4-drawer dresser in our room [actually, our dressers are in our closet, that's how small it is.]  He uses two of those drawers.  I'm not sure what's in the other two, clothes he doesn't wear much, but most of his everyday clothes are in the top of the armoire.  The bottom shelves contain various paperwork and personal effects.

A few weeks ago Gracie started putting her babies to bed in the bottom.  And storing toys there.  Anytime she wants a toy that we can't find, we have to remember to look in the armoire, because that's probably where it is.  She opens and closes the doors.  In fact, she also likes to put herself in there, even with the stuff that we have in there.

Even more recently, Miss Rose decided she didn't want to be left out and laid claim to the top.  She's been putting various items of her own in the top, along with Bean's clothes.  She calls it her "locker" and locks it with rubber bands.  Which annoys Bean to no end because he has to take them off to access his clothes.  Last night he exclaimed "really, she has to pick one of the only places in the house that is mine?"

Miss Rose has also developed an affinity for office supplies.  In fact she has shoeboxes full of labels, index cards, postal forms, stickers, folders and various other office supplies that my mom has given her recently.  Her favorite location for her office is our bed.  Maybe because it's higher and at her waist level.  She'll spend an hour, laying out all the supplies in stacks and playing school with them.  Miss Rose is dying for one of those correction tape dispensers.  Guess what she's getting in her stocking?  And I bet it will be one of her favorite gifts.  And cost all of $2.99.

THIS is why I don't buy my kids toys and why I don't need others to either.

My brother in law likes to call me a grinch and tease me about it...but it's the truth.

It is helping with my Christmas shopping this year.  They are each getting one big gift and then several small items--like pajamas, slippers, warm socks, and the usual stocking stuffers.  They'll load it all into the armoire and be happy as clams.


  1. I'm sure my parents think Kyle and I are grinches too when we don't get all excited that they would buy my kids just about any toy they want. We've actually told them we DON'T want some of the things they've bought our kids and they've taken them back. Bummer for them, but I just know they would have been space takers that wouldn't have been used that much. :)

  2. We made the mistake of giving Bryan the ToysRus ad one year and he picked out things that stayed in the packages months later and had an overwhelming amount of toys which all the grandparents had purchased. Now, I make an Amazon wish list for each of them and the grandparents can pick off of that. Shaun and I don't really have to buy anything. White-out tape sounds like a great gift and let me know if you need boxes that seems to be the favorite in my house. :)

  3. Funny! At least you know what they like. My kids DO play with toys but they love to move them around the house and use boxes or bags too. I found a vet clinic in my bed the other night (about 12 stuffed animals recovering from surgery) :D


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