Toy Blog

Toy Talk | Interview with Maggie

Toy Talk | Interview with Maggie

Welcome to the first edition of Toy Talk! This will be the start of a series of interviews, done with real moms/parents who made the transition to wooden toys/open ended/less plastic.

We are excited to interview Maggie, who has 5 children ages 7, 4, 3, 16month twins! 

Let's get started...

What made you transition to wooden toys/open ended toys? 

We were tired of the constant fighting over characters, the battery operated toys, and the toys that “did the playing” for them. And by that I mean there was already a developed story (ie paw patrol, Disney jr shows, etc). My kids would reenact those stories instead of creating their own. 

How did your children handle the switch, after years of plastic?

They were upset for a few days, but it actually wasn’t bad. We transitioned over a few months. We’d do a toy purge, replace plastic with wood, and our kids were excited about it. I think it took about a full week before they stopped saying they were bored and began actually using their imaginations again. 

Do you feel your older children enjoy wood toys and are more imaginative now?

I do. My oldest has always been very good with transitions, and I feel her imagination has only improved. Our 3 and 4 year olds have definitely become better with imagination. We still get the occasional main stream characters while they’re pretending, but they’ve developed their own stories for them. 

How did your extended family handle the change? (Birthdays Christmas Presents)

My in laws were amazing with it. They completely understood and instead gift our kids with experiences, or they’ll give us cash to get them exactly what we feel will benefit them. My sister and dad were on board as well, but my mom refused. She was a gift giver, and she always had to give them whatever they wanted. We would take the gifts, say our thanks and pass them on to other families.

What advice would you give to a family thinking of making the switch? 

Just do it. It’s never too late. Kids are much more resilient than we think. They’re behavior and imaginations will improve, and they’ll become better, more rounded adults. It’s scary at first, but the rewards are worth it.

Thank you Maggie for sharing your experience with M+L

Would you like to share your story with us? e-mail collabs@mapleandlark.com we'd love to hear from you!

 

Read more
The Big Switch

The Big Switch

8 years ago we were getting ready for our son's first Christmas, I remember being so excited to find things he would love to open on Christmas morning. Little did I know our son would be surrounded by gifts, a sea of presents far more fit for a family of 4 then 1.

 I was proud of my bargain shopping, I had started shopping early and felt confident I got toys that were the best. After Christmas the following year, I did the great purge during the summer. I donated so many toys, threw away so many broken pieces. I sat there looking at all the money going down the drain. Then it was Christmas season again, rinse and repeat the cycle of buying/purging. We had our first daughter and then our second daughter, before we knew it we were run over with toys.

I was spending my days sorting, cleaning, organizing, all for nothing. My kids were overwhelmed, I was overwhelmed and it was time for a change. We bought our first home in Colorado, and I was determined to bring less stuff in. I purged so much and it felt so good, I was happy with what my kids had left toy wise. The following Christmas we decided to watch what we were getting the kids and make more meaningful gifts and memories instead, it was the best Christmas. Our children got more thought out toys, and more importantly toys that would last. When we did our big move to Texas this summer, we purged even more really getting rid of the final cling-on-plastic toys. Yes we still have barbies in our home, and legos. My son enjoys his hotwheel cars and a few action figures. It sounds scary to invest so much thought, effort, and money into making the switch. However the rewards are worth it 100x. Happy kids who are not stressed out over so many toys, brain development and milestones using open ended imagination play. Is the fun gone? no, in fact I would say there is even more fun to be had. I love playing with my kids now, instead of being stressed out looking around at all the toys and what I should be organizing. Does it take a bit of hard work and dedication? yes! 

A few starting points when making the switch. 
1) Explain to your family the why you are making the switch, talk to your kids about it. Ask them how they feel when everything is messy and cluttered. 


2) Marie Kondo time. I tried the little by little method it didn't work. Dump all the toys in the middle of a room, really sort through them. Keep the meaningful ones, the ones with memories that your children love. However my best advice is to NOT let the children purge. They want everything and it's hard. I narrow down a good amount of toys, and then present that pile to them. I ask them to pick their top 5 favorite items they would like to keep. It's too much for them to go through all of those toys and try to purge. It will end in a melt down, either you or your child.


3) Get your kids excited about the possibilities of open ended play toys and wooden toys. Let them see the options online, head to our website and Instagram. Show them what it could look like, and let them be inspired. We have a wish list feature on our website, have them create their own wish lists for holidays that they would like. You aren't purely taking away their toys for the fun of it, you want to show them you are going to build an environment for so much fun play! 


4) Change your mindset. This is no longer throwing every clearance toy at target in your basket. It's saying no to the impulse to get the good deal (no black Friday toy shopping!) It's choosing to put money where the quality is and something that will last through all of your kids, not just 1 kid for 6months. 

   


"Children don't need more things, the best toy a child can have is apparent who gets down on the floor and plays with them" - Bruce Perry 

 

I hope you feel inspired and motivated. All of us are in this together, and there is no perfect method, our hope is always for you to be able to relate and feel encouraged here! 

Blessings,

Chelsey

 

Read more
Back To School

Back To School

Friends,

It's that time of year again. The hustle and bustle of books, pencils, new shoes, lunch boxes, drop off lines, the new school year jitters, and the early morning wake ups. What a fresh start a new school season brings, as Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail says she loves the smell of freshly sharpened pencils. I tend to agree with her, something about it all brings us back into focus from summer fun.  I have a fun challenge for everyone this school year, when everything seems to be busy, when your child is crying about doing homework again. Take a beat, hard stop. Pull out whatever patience you can muster, grab a basket of toys, get down on the floor and play. Remember what's important first, your child's heart. Filling up their tank with quality time, playing on their level. It will refresh not only them, but you too. Then you are able to tackle those hard things. 

Be encouraged this school year, and know that all of us are in it together!

Chelsey

Read more