"The average child in America gets seventy new toys a year, and the United States, with 4 percent of the world's children, consumes 40 percent of the world's toys. This is doing our children no good. Rather than bulldozing their way through dozens of one-note, breakable, and possibly harmful toys, children benefit from repetitive use of old favorites, finding new ways to play with them as their minds mature and expand."
seventy toys? i must admit that in nearly 10 years of nannying, i'm all too familiar with toy-mania. some families had more, some families had a little less, but in general, all of the children i watched had more than enough toys to go around (the block). the best memories of my nannying days don't include any recollection of store-bought playthings. the kids and i went for long walks, did art with found objects, took trips to the park. board games were fun on rainy days, as were forts constructed from sheets & blankets, neverending sessions of hide-and-go-seek, cooking lessons (cupcakes, yum) and playdough whipped up from scratch.
lucy, at 7 months old, has a very large basket (think laundry basket-ish) filled with toys. there's not too much in the way of craptastic plastic--so far we've been able to stick pretty well to a few sets of blocks, stuffed animals and cloth creatures, a couple soft stackers and shape sorters, a puzzle, a vintage xylaphone, finger puppets, sophie the giraffe and a whole mess of secondhand books (the books are in another basket). i like her toy stash--it's big enough so that she doesn't get bored, but it's not running the risk of overtaking our house. yet. i've always believed in the "one in, one out" rule--at some point soon i'm sure we'll have to implement it.
her newest toys (as pictured above) include a container full of tupperware lids, a wooden spoon, metal measuring cups (good for banging, mom!) and a rolling pin. recent additions to her bathtub collection are a trio of metal scoops i found in the cooking drawer, burried beneath more frequently used tools. once again, they are quite good for banging. they sink when you drop them, too. wow!
fun times, this mommy stuff.
if you're in the mood for a bit more reading, please take a look at this post. handmade toys are in danger of becoming extinct due to impending legislation that will require extensive testing prior to sale. while this is good in theory (who doesn't want safer toys?) it means that lots of small toymakers and work-at-home crafters will no longer be able to sell their goods. they simply won't be able to afford it. which means that so many of the things on my "someday" list for lucy will be gone, and in their place will be crappy plastic toys from big box stores. yuck.