How many favourite toys should a child have?

Recipe for a happy afternoon: one old tyre, a nearly two-year-old and acorn cups.

This blog post is by Nicola Baird sharing ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children. This post asks why we bother to buy toys for our children. For more info about my book Homemade Kids with lots of ideas about parenting, click here.

Why do we even worry about getting enough cash to buy our children toys? I haven’t said the word Christmas, but I’m thinking about it…

My niece (left), who is two this week, and I spent a really happy three hours today doing these things – eating a meal (takes time!), reading and re-reading a book, jumping on and off the sofa and picking windfall apples.

She’s a lucky little girl with a big garden so there’s also  swing and a dog to distract. While I was picking up a small pile of fallen ash twigs for her mum’s woodburner my niece she simply sat in a tyre left on a bit of concrete under an oak tree arranging and rearranging the cups that acorns balance/grow in. These really look like fairy cups – and in the past I’ve sprung them on toddlers and bigger as their own special gift from the fairies. They are very small but you can fill them with tiny bits of grass and pebbles, or even a rabbit poo, if you want to make your own fairy nest. They are also just the right size to pour a mini potion too.

Over to you
To get away with giving your children objects that will spark their imagination it’s best to start young. A child already used to shop bought glamour is likely to be disappointed by an autumn windfall find… or do you think I’m being pessimistic? What were the things you really enjoyed doing as a child? Nowadays it is too often all about putting your flock of Barbie/Bratz dolls away rather than the anticipation of digging a hole to take you to Australia.

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