Minimalist Child Play: Why Fewer Toys is Better for Your Child's Development

As you continue shopping the never-ending sales and as your family gets overwhelmed with a pile of gifts from well-meaning family members and friends, we'd like to encourage you to pause and take a step back for a moment. Do your kids really need all those toys you are looking to buy? Sure, it is fun to shop for kids and watch them unwrap their gifts during Christmas morning. But did you know too many toys actually has a negative effect on children?
Specifically, studies like the one performed by researchers at the University of Toledo, confirm that kids exposed to fewer toys have higher quality play experiences. They are able to concentrate longer on playing with the toys they have and engage in more creative play. What studies suggest is that too many toys create distractions for children, so they aren't able to focus as well on playing with a single toy.
In addition, kids tend to value the toys they have a lot less when they have an abundance of other options. Children grow up to be more resourceful and appreciative of what they've got when they have fewer options.
With the above in mind, our suggestion is to focus on buying fewer toys of higher quality, focusing primarily on open-ended toys, preferably made from sustainable and safe materials like wood. Below we are sharing a few examples of high-quality open-ended toys from trusted brands that grow with your child. 


Uncle Goose

Uncle Goose blocks are sustainably made in the USA (in Michigan) out of fast-growing American basswood trees in the Great Lakes area using non-toxic inks. This brand offers a variety of wonderful nature-inspired blocks that are the ultimate open-ended childhood toy with lots of developmental benefits. 

Uncle Goose Bug Blocks

Uncle Goose Women Who Dared Blocks

Grimm's Spiel and Holtz

Produces high-quality, wooden open-ended toys inspired by Waldorf and Montessori philosophies since 1978. The quality of these toys is top notch. They are sustainably made in Europe, using only non-toxic materials. 
Large 6 Piece Rainbow Stacker  

Grimm's Game and Wooden Design Grimm's Plug Daffodil



Another great German toy maker, in business since 1938. Also focused on eco-friendly and non-toxic manufacturing practices and open-ended play. 

HABA Here Fishy Fishy! Magnetic Fishing Game  

HABA Basic Building Blocks Large 60 Piece Set 

HABA Magica Wooden Baby Rattle, Clutching Toy & Teether



 Green design, quality, and safety are at the center of this toy brand. Made from environmentally friendly materials from sustainable sources, these toys are designed and made with future low to no-waste disposal in mind. Great for kids' development, encouraging creative open-ended play, these toys are made well enough to be past on to future generations. 

Hape Wooden Quadrilla Super Spirals Marble Run  

Hape Wooden Kids' Art Easel  

Hape Dynamo Wooden Domino Set


Other great gift options are art supplies, coloring books and even non-material experiences that the whole family can enjoy like memberships (zoo, children's museum, etc.), child-friendly subscription services, streaming and audiobook subscription services, lessons (music, sports, etc.) Those are the gifts that keep on giving throughout the whole year. A small child may not appreciate those types of gifts as much since they aren't tangible at the moment of gifting, but kids over the age of 5 wood have a higher degree of appreciation. 

Share with us your minimalist gifting recommendations for kids! 

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