For our babies and toddlers to play means to learn (to learn means to play) and they enjoy to learn from and play with us. Therefore they don’t need any toys at all.
Scandinavia has one of the highest rates about (children) happiness but if children were ask what they would wish, they still say they would wish to spend more time with their parents! So it’s not about consuming, it’s about shared moments.
But still somebody could respond that kids love modern toys and here is an idea why:
Everybody is willing to learn, that’s why we survive. Learn and success means serotonin, it feels good. The natural path is a bit like
o baby sees mum walking
o likes to do the same
o tries to get up
o falls down
o Same again and again
o Stays - success -> serotonin
o Tries to make a step
o Again and again
o A first step -> success and serotonin
o proud and self confident child
o a baby in a flow
Modern toys are more like
o Push the button
o Music, moving puppy, bright lights -> success and serotonin
It’s like TV or sugar. Our brain uses and likes it but it doesn’t last, it doesn’t go deep enough, it’s fast energy but not substantial and it needs more and mir or a fast low is the result. But why should a baby or toddler choose all the frustration if it can choose the faster benefit? If we ask them later at school to learn and work things out, we don’t understand why they doesn’t like it. That’s one reason.
You are now wondering if there is something in between? Yes.
At some point we decided to go for even less toys and therefor to offer different and natural materials with different textures. We now try to find materials that can be used for different things and in different ways, which includes different age groups (maybe because some little things are added). That means to dad a marble to the blocks instead of buying a marble run. You need more examples?
So if we are choosing toys for our children now, we try to be mindful while choosing. And in moments we need to say no to toys they wish, we remember that they memories of childhood will be joint moments.
Did you ever thought about an annual pass for the zoo, bird park or joint yoga class as next birthday or Christmas present?