Spring seems to be synonymous with cleaning. But I find that once the road side fields ignite with wild flower blossom and the sea air wafts through open windows, I want to kick off my shoes, get outside and play amongst it all. Autumn however, with it's drawing inwards nature always inspires me to rethink the way we're living. I tend to go about about my decluttering more gently at this time of the year too allowing plenty of time to thoroughly cleanse areas of our home.
With one babe at school and the other besotted with a handful of cars and trucks I have turned my attention to our toys. Although we have mindfully sourced high quality play things I have found what with birthdays and Christmases that the collection has grown beyond the cupboards, and more importantly, beyond the needs and wants of our little people. How much do they really need?
At times we've been lured by the fanfare of catalogues and advertisements and we've guilted ourselves into believing that our babies are missing out if they don't have a sizable collection of Sylvanian families or a plastic washing machine that makes bubbly noises. But watching them deeply immersed in simple play has highlighted the power of less and re-affirmed the choices we are making. Toys of natural and sustainable materials, handcrafted and beautiful, recycled and reinvented; toys with soul. Ones that will grow with them, water the seeds of creativity and inspire imagination to blossom. And few of them.
These are the toys our babies reach for time and time again:
- Schleich animals with little wooden fences, trees and Mumma made felt play mats. Housed in a hodge podge of baskets they are easy for little hands to help with packing up.
- Fossicked shells, stones and seed pods are ever inspiring props. Add a few colourful silks, tiny boats and this timeless gnome house and all manner of worlds can be created.
- Dress ups housed in a vintage suitcase that lives under the bed.
- Baskets of Duplo and Lego can fill an afternoon with quiet play.
- A simple kitchen setup with a little sink and oven, a handful of knitted fruit and veg, wooden eggs and thrifted pots, pans and wooden spoons. Simple, beautiful play.
- The sandpit.
- Second hand match box cars and a small collection of handmade wooden trucks and trains.
- Wooden puzzles (again mostly sourced on thrifting adventures).
- Blocks; off cuts of building timber, tree blocks and handcrafted and rainbow ones. And with the addition of a mirror and some loose parts, the sky's the limit.
- Sets kept in calico bags e.g. doctors, hairdressers with most props sourced from trips to the local op shop.
- Soft dolls and animals, puppets and gnomes and a small basketful of handmade dolls clothes, old baby wraps and blankets.