Buy a Child a Toy…

And they will play with the box…
Or the wrapping paper.

Or the bow.

Lastly they may play with the toy, but never in the way it was actually meant for.

Every parent can attest to this.

Grandparents, stop buying your grandchildren expensive gifts! Just get them boxes!

I grew up on 10 acres of land surrounded by another 90  we had free range of thanks to neighbors who understood that kids needed space to adventure in. My summers were spent wandering through corn fields, woods, in lakes and there was lots of dirt.
We had neighbor kids who were more adventurous than I, but together we would roam our small portion of the earth and revel in fighting bad guys, being fairies in the woods, finding treasures and making discoveries.
I want that for my kids.
Using sticks and rocks to make fort for your survival as new settlers in a new world.
Taking water from the lake to make a moat for your sandcastle to protect it from pirates.
I don’t remember many toys in my childhood. My Mom says we had plenty which tells me that experiences are more important to childhood than gifts.

When we had kids we specifically chose not to have a lot of battery operated toys for our kids.
(Their Grandparents had a different say in that choice by the way. )

Over the last five years we have had lots of toys come into our home. Even battery operated ones.

I know every family is different, but we have made a choice to live more simply with our home than how either of us were raised.

I know some kids play with all their toys, but I just got to a point where I was so sick of having toys lay around that they never played with!
Plus… I’m a neat freak.

So, over the course of 6 months, I just paid attention. If they played with it, it stayed. If not…

It slipped out into the dark of night, bound for another home via a box labeled “Donation.”

Never.
To.
Be.
Seen.
Again…

(Insert evil laughter)

80% of the time if my kids are playing with toys it’s Duplos.
I can personally attest that a box of Duplos being dumped out in the morning is the worst sound ever to be heard by the ear of a human.

The other 20% is their indoor “bike,” shopping cart, balls or a few choice stuffed animals.

So, that’s what we have.
Sometimes we have other kids come over and ask, “Where are all your toys?”

You know what happens 5 minutes later? They are all having a blast playing with not the small amount of toys we have, but boxes and sticks and rocks and blankets. It’s my evil plan to convert all my mom friends…

I see the imaginations come alive and while we may never have 100 acres for our kids to roam on, they will know the joy of playing unhindered.
Healthy imaginations don’t happen naturally. They must be drawn out. They are a muscle to be exercised. Screens, lights, buttons, noises can damped the parts of the brain needed for creativity.
Natural light, the outdoors, books, the smells of nature, the smell of a new box of crayons and turning a box into a rocket ship… those things force the brain into imagination and creative problem solving.

This is my house today.
It looks like a Where’s Waldo page.
Yes. Those are 2 x 6’s.
( I mean the race tracks)
Yes. Those are our paper towels.

(I mean Pi’s new couch )
Yes. Those are boxes.
( I mean their houses and H.Q.’s)
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I’m not here to tell anyone how to parent. I know each family, and each child, function differently.
I think we worry too much about making sure our kids have all the right things and forget to just let kids be kids and just… turn out.

Bring your kid home a box…

… and they’ll turn it into a mine riddled with gold…

or a rocket ship.

or a head quarters…
or a bear’s cave.

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