Making Toys a Part of Our Home

We had a wonderful Christmas in our new home just the three of us. We ate and watched Christmas Movies. Of course, there were lots of presents and Helen was thrilled to rip through the wrapping paper to get at what was inside. 

We loved getting all the packages in the mail from family and friends and watching as Helen joyfully discovered a new toy inside. I love seeing her smile every time she goes in her room to play with all her new things. 

There is another part of me that struggles with what to do with all the stuff that surrounds a 1.5 year old. I want her to have toys and enjoy them, but I also believe that more is not always the better way to go. 

So I've been working out how to integrate her toys into our home so that they feel like they are part of our lives and not tucked away somewhere hidden out of sight. (which was my first instinct)

Here's what I'm trying to implement (with some success)

-Choose toys that are beautiful and well made. This one is not easy, but it can be done, I promise! There are some amazing craftpeople out there and with sites like Etsy it's surprisingly easy to find well crafted, thoughtful toys.

-Integrate a play space or toy into every room of the house. So far I've only been able to do this in the dining room. We bought Helen a beautiful vintage desk and it sits in a corner of dining room which is part of the kitchen. She wanders over and sits and reads multiple times a day. It's great because she wants to be where I am, so when I'm cooking she can play in the same room.

-Rotate toys. I keep some toys stored away and regularly rotate out the one's she's been playing with. This keeps her from getting overwhelmed and it also makes old toys seem new again. It also helps with declutter and keeping things tidy.

-Consider ordinary objects as toys. This is huge discovery for me. Helen loves to play with things that aren't necessarily considered "toys". If it's not a danger to her I always allow her to engage with everyday object around our home. An example is "playing" with books from our library. I encourage her to take them and look at them while teaching her that she has to treat them with respect. This of course hasn't always worked and there have been torn pages here and there. I still think it's a great way for her to not feel like she's so separate from the things that we enjoy "playing" with.