The team behind building toy Click-A-Brick says they are pleased to read one Dallas, TX mom blogger’s idea for encouraging natural development in her son while simultaneously cutting down on the amount of clutter in his room and discouraging mess making with toys.
In a post entitled ‘Why I Got Rid of the Toys’ published on the Dallas Moms Blog near the beginning of summer, Denaye Barahona says she was inspired by her son’s neighborhood playgroup, which is run out of a Montessori school. Rather than just having toy boxes where toys get jumbled together, each toy in the schoolroom is kept in its own basket on its own designated spot on the shelf. The school also has a rule that each child should only play with one toy at a time, and put it away in its container in its spot when they are done playing with it. The blogger says she was pleasantly shocked to see that all of the kids were completely engaged in the few toys the schoolroom had to offer and they were well-behaved while playing with the toys and put them away when asked.
The Montessori school’s philosophy about toys is outlined in a post by Stacy Burnett on the I Heart Montessori blog that encourages parents to be more thoughtful in how toys are arranged, displayed and organized. Nothing should be stacked or hidden or kept in cluttered toy boxes or bins, Burnett says. Keeping a small amount of toys in containers that the children can see into, and access easily will encourage kids to only interact with one toy at a time and will discourage kids from making a mess by emptying out their toy boxes as they look for things.
Barahona says she embraced this philosophy and now keeps only a few carefully chosen toys in her son’s room that change as he grows. She outlined how she changed her son’s room from a traditional room to a more Montessori-inspired one. She started with an empty space so she could carefully consider each toy as she added it. She then got rid of the deep toy boxes and replaced them with short trays so her son could easily see, access and put away everything. The blogger then adopted a ‘toy style’ to follow so her child’s toys were consistent. She adopted a toy style of task-based toys with a mixture of open-ended toys. Barahona says she now purchases toys year-round rather than just on Christmas and birthdays and sticks to a one-in-one-out policy for toys, making sure to upgrade her son’s toys as he outgrows them to continually offer a variety of new toys that will facilitate his development as he grows. To keep variety, the blogger says she always makes sure to have the following types of toys: Gross motor, fine motor, plush, stacking, building, connecting, puzzles, pretend play, musical play, art play, and a rotation of books. Finally, Barahona says, she keeps a minimalist aesthetic for her son’s room.
Co-Founders of building toy company Click-A-Brick Jason Smith and Georg de Gorostiza applaud the mother and blogger for what they refer to as thinking outside the toy box and eschewing the traditional messy roomful of toys for a more nuanced approach.
“Because we’re a toy company, it may sound counterintuitive to say we appreciate this mother’s dedication to buying fewer toys for her son, but we really like this approach,” Smith said. “We especially like that each toy is kept in its own container and has its own spot on the shelf, which keeps sets all together and keeps them more engaging for kids. Even though we’re thrilled when parents and other customers buy Click-A-Brick, we don’t just want the kids to play with them for a bit and then toss them into a huge toy box to get lost in the shuffle of a thousand other toys. We’d rather the child decide they want to play with Click-A-Brick, take it off the shelf and build with it and then put it away when they’re done. In addition to cognitive and motor skill development, this encourages them to develop decision making skills and teaches them tidiness and organizational skills.”
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