According to my standards, our children have a lot of toys. Compared to other children of similar ages, they likely have a lot less. Since completing the KonMari Method, while I am mindful towards the amount of toys in our home, I am more concerned with the quality of toys and whether our children are actually making use of what they own (aka. what Sparks Joy).
As part of my KonMari Kids program, I teach parents how to guide their children towards learning what it means to Spark Joy, but for the focus of this post, I am only concentrating on the criteria that I use when buying toys for our children.
5 Criteria for Investing in Toys
- Quality - As with most things, "you get what you pay for". Toys prove as an excellent example of buying once so you do not have to replace. When I buy toys I want them to last and be durable enough for all three of our children to get use from them.
- Think & Move! - I always look for toys that make my kids think, be creative and encourage movement. Toys such as Lego maintain their novelty because they are open-ended, meaning children can continue to invent new ways of playing with it. Toys that promote physical activity are always a good choice.
- Portable - As a young family always on the go, having toys that can come with us is always a solid bonus. I look for toys that are compact, easily portable and can be enjoyed both indoors and outside.
- Range - Toys that can be used at various ages and stages of development are always a safe bet. A toy that grows with your child decreases the amount of turnover of toys and instils a sense of contentment and ingenuity in children.
- Space-savers - I like open areas for play and the sense of calm that an uncluttered playroom provides. Limiting the amount of big toys in play areas allows for smaller ones to easily be put away without taking up a lot of visual space. This allows for children to enjoy easier movement and creative play.
Things I Avoid when Purchasing Toys:
- Themed toys. Now, my kids do have character toys, but as much as possible I try to limit them. This is because in my experience, as kids quickly outgrow the latest fad, these are the toys that tend to lose their novelty (or Spark Joy factor) the fastest.
- Dollar-store toys. While cheap and fun in the moment, toys from the dollar-store usually do not hold up and tend to be a waste of money. I encourage mindful consumerism and try to avoid places that make for easy impulse decisions.