What happened to the good ole’ days when kids played with cardboard rolls and bubble wrap? Or ran around outside with other neighborhood children? I remember having squabbles with my siblings over paper towel rolls and hours of fun playing capture the flag in my neighborhood. More and more I am noticing children are so attached to their electronics that they have become disinterested in playing outside with friends. I’ve noticed a lack of creativity as children are totally zoned into their phones, computers, tablets, etc…
Early on in my pregnancy, my husband and I talked about the values that we want to instill in our child. Most importantly we want our son to love Christ and to follow him. After that, we also want him to be creative, adventurous, compassionate and conscientious.
When we were making a list of things that we needed for our baby, we were astounded by the number of things people told us were absolutely necessary. We went down the lists and marked off so many items that we felt we wouldn’t need. This was partly because we want our home to have a minimalist feel. Because our home is small, we don’t want to fill it up with a lot of baby gear! Approaching the baby lists with an open mind helped us to save a lot of money; while also requiring us to have some creativity!
When it comes to Conrad’s toy box (or more accurately: his toy crate), we are very selective about the items that go into it. We have steered away from any toys that light up and make sounds at the push of a button. We want him to have safe, sustainable and socially conscious toys that will foster creativity and imagination. We also do not want him to have an overabundance of toys. With those principles in mind, and with the values that we want to instill in him, we have had so much fun picking and choosing the toys that he plays with!
Most of Conrad’s toys are wooden. They are very durable and lack harmful chemicals (like BPA). He has wooden blocks, rattles, animals, balls and teethers. These toys are made from unfinished wood (no stain or treatment) and are sanded down so that they are safe for little hands! We also have a fair amount of rubber toys that are great for sore gums. We have also added various toys borrowed from Montessori and Waldorf traditions. These toys are meant to leave space for the child’s imagination in play.
In addition to selecting safe and durable toys for our son, we have also been lovingly gifted toys that are locally made. This is something that is very important to us. Several members of our family have small businesses; so we understand first-hand how difficult it is for small business owners to create and sell their goods. We want Conrad to appreciate the works of individuals in his community growing up; so we certainly cherish those toys.
We read lots of books, tell lots of stories, sing silly songs, play guitar and take beautiful outdoor walks with our little bug. We hope that he will learn to love reading, music and the outdoors (some of our greatest loves!) Conrad is only a few months old now and will surely develop his own interests in the years to come. Right now we are thankful for the influence that we can have on him and for the ways that we can teach him little lessons; even ones that include his toy box!
* Some different places from which we have purchased our toys:
– Uncle Goose: great, USA made wooden blocks!
– Bella Luna Toys: a wonderful selection of wooden, Waldorf and Montessori toys. If you sign up for their newsletter now, you will receive $10 off your first order!
– Mama Bird RI: a sweet local shop in our hometown
– Winters’ Wonders: a family business that creates beautiful crocheted animals for babies and children
– And Etsy, of course!
* And if you are interested, a great book that has had an influence on how we approach parenting our son is Simplicity Parenting.
* Instructions on how to build a similar baby gym (shown in picture above) can be found here!
That’s all, folks! It’s Nap time!