beautiful + simple gifts for kids
“A smaller, more manageable quantity of toys invites deeper play and engagement. An avalanche of toys invites emotional disconnect and a sense of overwhelm.”
– Simplicity Parenting
Ten years of motherhood has taught me a lot about toys, mostly that less is more and quality is absolutely essential.
I think the most inspiring message regarding toys and play comes from the book Simplicity Parenting. Author Kim John Payne explains that the key to successful play is no clutter. Ultimately, when you decrease the amount of toys your child has you increase their attention and capacity for deep play.
Time and time again, after clearing out and re-organising, I’ve seen this very thing happen before my eyes. It’s incredibly affirming and reinforces one of my very favourite quotes: “If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money.”
I’m not going to say that I’ve created an idyllic, simple play space for my children. There’s been many regretful purchases and countless frustrated moments where I’ve cursed at the miscellaneous blocks and cards and puzzle pieces that have wound up under the couch without a home. However, I have figured out – through trial and error – the very best way to buy toys that will last and be enjoyed by multiple siblings.
Create small collections of themed toys.
Vehicles, Nature Play, Home Play, Dress-Ups and Outdoor Play. The beauty of this system is that everything has a place (important!), it makes cleaning up easier (very important!) and when family and friends as for gift suggestions, you can easily suggest a set of wings for the dress-up box or a wooden horse to add to the animal collection.
This year I’m buying even more minimally than previous years with a focus on practical gifts that will be used as we travel. That said, Percy and Marigold will be getting this barn for their animals – a heirloom piece that will, no doubt, be loved for many, many years to come.
I usually do multiple gift guides for Christmas but this year I’m keeping it simple and sharing a few beautiful pieces I’ve discovered throughout the year. The majority of these items are plastic-free and they are things the kids and I adore. But most importantly, they are gifts of creativity, skill and imagination.
- Filana Beeswax Crayons : I’ve decided that we won’t be purchasing textas anymore because they are little tubes of plastic that end up with missing lids far too often for my liking. I’ve tried most of the beeswax (no petroleum) crayons on the market and Filana are my absolutely favourite. The colours are deliciously vibrant and they’re lovely and soft for little hands.
- Modular Wooden Dolls House : the beauty of this wooden house is that you can move the rooms around – a dream come true for the budding architect/designer! Made from wood and non-toxic paint (and zero plastic packaging!) this house comes with furniture and a little family.
- Classic Wooden Truck : made in Australia and packaged in a heirloom quality metal tin, this is the perfect first truck for your little one. Made from beechwood, Maple and Tasmanian Oak it’s finished with non-toxic oils (and comes in a natural finish, too).
- Lion Mane + Butterfly Set : dress-ups are one of the most-loved things in our home and inspire endless hours of dramatic play.
- Wishbone Balance Bike : the best bike for little ones as it transforms from a trike to a two-wheel balance bike. It’s also incredibly well-made from kiln-dried, preservative-free plantation birch/ash, finished with eco friendly glues, certified organic cotton spare parts bag, recycled packaging printed with non-toxic inks. Even wheels made from 60% post-consumer recycled plastic! We gifted Poet this bike for her 3rd birthday and it’s been so well-loved. Now Percy rides it and I’m certain it will last long enough to be used by Marigold, too. There are also a range of additional options for those who like to personalise their ride.
- Wooden Tool Box : the beauty of this set is the drawings on the box which makes packing up a breeze! Perfectly made for little hands who love to build.
- Felt Alphabet : made by a women’s fair trade co-op in Nepal, this alphabet offers your child endless options when it comes to phonetics, reading and writing. This would also make the perfect alternative to a chocolate advent calendar!
- Roll Your Own Beeswax Candles : I love gifting creative kits at Christmas so the children have a few activities for the school holidays. Rolling your own candles is such a beautiful process that engages all the senses and the finished product can be enjoyed every evening. Queen B creates the most beautiful beeswax candles and are currently offering my readers 10% off storewide with the code: PSBEE* (thorough post about the process from hive to candle coming soon).
- Why Do We Need Bees? : the perfect accompaniment to beeswax candles, this informative read explains exactly why bees are such an essential part of our ecosystem. Also – The Book of Bees + Thank You, Bees.
- Ostheimer Wooden Animals : We’ve been collecting these delightful wooden animals for a while now and they are beautiful to hold, look at and play with. Honestly, nothing compares! They are the perfect addition to a child’s play space and encourage an inspired and tactile play experience.
- Natural Watercolours : created from food pigments and packaged in a tin case, these paints are eco-friendly, plastic-free and perfect for young (or old) creatives. Team them with a hemp journal and foraging bag and you’ve got the perfect package to inspire nature journalling.
- Exploring Soils : a beautiful, educational story about the wonder of the underground, this book can be paired with a gardening set or a few packets of seeds and voila, an inspiring gift for outdoor play.
- Brio First Train Set : Percy got this for his 2nd birthday and it’s so, so loved! The train is battery operated (but can be used without the battery) and seeing Percy’s face as it chugs up the mountain is absolutely priceless. I’m a big fan of the Brio range – highly recommend for its colour and quality.
- Ever Earth Tool Belt : eco-friendly and made from renewable forests, this tool belt comes with 4 tools, 2 nuts + 2 bolts and is particularly helpful for encouraging fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination.
*limit one per customer. Code expires Dec 21st 2017.
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