The Best Things In Life Are (Practically) Free
The Best Things In Life
The department stores in our city have recently begun their mid-year toy sales and I’m not ashamed to say that we were getting in amongst the action on day one. Toy sales are just so hard to resist, and we were far from alone!
When we first found out that we were going to have a baby, we did a massive clear-out of all the pointless items that had been clogging up our living space. Gathered over the years by both my partner and myself, two big kids at heart, these toys, clothes, gadgets, etc were too numerous for us to possibly get value from; most of them were basically just gathering dust.
Before purchasing new products while pregnant, we carefully weighed up the different options available, the pros and cons of each, the value for money they offered, and made an educated choice on how to spend our limited money.
Then along came our baby.
Just a few short months in, our living area resembles a child care centre, with just about every type of baby plaything invented having at least one representative on the colourful playmat in the centre of the room. After our first foray into the toy sales (yes, we went more than once…), I sat our little one down amongst his electronic keyboard, teething toys, play mirror, cloth books, and rattles and offered him his latest brightly coloured musical toy.
I think I’m being generous when I say he spent a full minute investigating his new acquisition before picking up a plastic bottle part filled with rice- the cheapest item in the room.
The funny thing is, although he often chooses this ‘toy’, we continue to purchase purpose made baby toys for him, perhaps because we are conditioned to the consumerist way of life… or maybe we are just living vicariously through our baby!
My aim from now on is to resist as many of these bright, noisy toys as I can unless they offer obvious educational value and instead make or collect basic items for him to explore, such as:
• More bottles part-filled with buttons, seeds, beans, etc
• Wooden blocks and sanded offcuts
• Edible flowers and leaves, etc
• Sponges, cups, ladles, etc for bath time or warm weather water play
• Fabrics of varying textures
There is so much joy to be had from playing with these simple, practically free items that there’s almost no need at all to spend exorbitant amounts of money on mass-produced molded plastic toys that will only serve to clog up our living area all over again.