I know Christmas is still a wee while away but toys, and the way they seem to take over your house when you have kids is a subject dear to my heart. I am not anti-toy. There are many wonderful toys out there which become cherished possessions. I myself still have my Belle doll (Snoopy’s sister, who had a dazzling array of outfits, complete with a hole for her tail) that my Mum saved for me. Heck, I still love Belle.
What I hate is how many toys kids have today. It’s crazy. I am constantly fighting the flow of toys in my own house. In fact, I swear they breed, because one day Sausage held up a toy that I’d never seen before in my life. Despite being selective as to what toys my children have, I still find myself culling them every few months and donating full-sized bags to charity.
I think it’s really hard for the older generation in particular to understand that children today are drowning in stuff. People my parents age were lucky if they had a train set and a doll. Childhood is very different now. Toys are readily available, often cheap (and nasty, so they break within seconds), and it’s just the done thing to give them as gifts for Christmas and birthdays.
Today many children have so many toys that their parents have to devise cunning rotation systems, so the toys aren’t all out at once. More and more children have entire rooms dedicated to their toys. The ‘rise of the playroom’ is an interesting phenomenon I’ve noticed of late (When I was little, I knew one other kid who had a ‘rumpus room’ and boy was I jealous of them!).
If the toys are breeding at your house, and you want to stem the tide, here are some non-toy Christmas gift alternatives for the toddlers in your life. And if you’re an aunt, uncle, grandparent or friend, you might find these ideas more appealing than braving The Warehouse toy section on Christmas Eve…
- beach towel
- sleeping bag and torch/flashlight
- trip to the movies
- trip to the ice cream parlour
- pony ride
- pay class fees for a term e.g. ballet, kindy gym
- a special one-on-one outing somewhere really cool
- garden tools/gloves/seeds
- birdhouse and binoculars
- photo album all about them
- quiet book
- tool box and real kid-sized tools
- art easel
- noticeboard to display their artwork
- duvet cover
- dress up clothes
- jewellery box
- hair ties and hair clips
- poster/art for their bedroom wall
- magnifying glass
- their very own box of chocolates(!)
- piggy bank
- wallet or purse with a few coins in it
- wooden name sign for their bedroom door
- toddler couch (my kids have one that was inexpensive which folds out into a bed)
- cutlery set/plate/bowl
- drink bottle
- hairbrush and hair ties
- suitcase/travel bag (ones they can sit on are great)
- clock (weary parents love gro clocks)
- first aid kit
- And my favourite, books
This Christmas give gifts that last, that children really need, and that get them out and about exploring the world.