Simple Tips to Transition Away From Plastic Toys

So you have read all about wooden toys, here are simple tips to transition away from plastic. Maybe you have even started to enjoy reading up on different learning approaches such as Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Emilia or Heuristic but what now? How do you sell this to your child and their beloved collection of plastic? The answer is slowly. Plastic isn’t the end of the world, but there are much more environmentally friendly options out there! This post is how we began our journey to open ended, wooden toys about 3 years ago.

I was that mom that didn’t put batteries in toys when we got them. One time Lily figured out a Doc McStuffins toy took batteries and I would be lying if I said she didn’t dance around for about ten minutes. The reality is, that was short lived; we had so many toys yet they would sit around untouched. All the pieces, all the sounds, it just added clutter and chaos! There is a quote I love,

“An avalanche of toys invites emotional disconnect and a sense of overwhelm” -Dr. Kim John Payne

I started researching and eventually found my way to Montessori. I loved the concept of following the child’s lead. The concept of a hands on learning approach emphasizing concrete versus abstract learning material really grabbed my attention. Learning this information got the wheels turning and I started analyzing the toys in our home. I decided I wanted more purpose and overall fewer items. I had found my why!

One of my early shelfies and invitation to play ice cream shop from 2018

This started a long process of slowly getting rid of toys. Lily was just about 2 so sitting down with her and having her make decisions wasn’t totally realistic. I began to pack things away in containers or bags that were rarely used; I would then store these items out of sight for a bit and see if they were missed. The overall goal was to help Lily grow, not upset her. The conclusion, these items were not missed. Out of sight out of mind, now as she has gotten older that has changed a bit. I now sit down and we have discussions about getting rid of things, I allow her to make choices. We typically make a pile of things to keep, things to sell and things to donate. Sometimes there is bribing of something fun and new, I wont lie and I’m not above it- haha but I try to avoid that. We had one epic heartbreak over a Doc McStuffins mobile doctor cart.

I had purchased this very cheap on Facebook Marketplace, it was something they no longer sold. I thought I was clear to get rid of it and that was wrong. One day, months later she perfectly described what she was looking for and when I told her we didn’t have it, oh the tears she cried. I then was on a hunt for this plastic cart which I ended up finding and driving FORTY FIVE MINUTES FOR, only for it to be played with very briefly and then stashed away yet again in a container and eventually donated. But again, this process was not about upsetting her but helping her grow.

Once we started to cut back on the amount of toys we had, I started to look into toy rotation and we eventually implemented that into our playroom. Read more about that next!

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