Friday, 20 September 2013

Parade of Toys

A while back Bunch featured an article about Kid's and their Toys that displays pictures from Italian photographer Gabriele Galemberti.  His Project "Toy Stories" includes pictures of children with their toys from all over the world.   According to Bunch, " He travelled the world for a year and a half, making these portraits of children with their toys, and observing more similarities than differences in what toys they were drawn too. But he also noticed that the wealthier children were more possessive about their toys, and less enthusiastic about showing them to him."

The article got me thinking about materialism and the glut of baby stuff that is swallowing our household.  I began to focus on culling old, outgrown toys of Molly and Jack's and passing them along to some of our many friends who have children the right age to enjoy them.  The messaging surrounding the wealthier children bothered me.*  I don't want overly materialistic children who hold onto objects they don't need and want to teach them how rewarding giving to someone else can be.

 How much is too much in toyland?

Below are some things we've done, or plan to do, that are environmentally awesome, make you feel good and keep things useful and affordable.

Clothing Sharing Circle
One of my friends R commented on our clothing sharing circle a while back and it is wonderful to be able to see friends and family enjoy the more "gently"** worn clothes that we can pass on from Molly and Jack and in some cases have already been passed on from other cousins and friends.  I want my kids to feel the same happiness I do when an object is actually getting use rather than sitting in a corner collecting dust.    

The Spirit of Giving with Receiving
Another acquaintance has her daughter clear out many old toys that she doesn't use any more at Christmas and around birthdays.  The deal is toy for toy, what comes in new an equal item gets donated to children less fortunate.  I am hoping that we can implement something similar with our children once they get old enough to understand.***

Upcycle, Recycle
A couple years ago I got Chris one of his favourite Christmas gifts...I upcycled (turned) old worn, previously favourite t-shirts that were collecting dust in Chris's closet into a useful, funky quilt that gets a lot of use.  If you aren't super crafty (like me) you can commission someone on sites like Etsy to do the quilting, you just need to send them the shirts.

The Great Costume Exchange Charlie Brown
I'll admit it, I have a very specific costume theme in mind for Molly and Jack this year, but I also know how much they enjoy dress-up and the drama centre at daycare.  This year we are participating in a clothing exchange to pass on last year's Pebbles and Bam Bam costumes and either get items towards this year's Halloween costumes or some great dress-up clothes that will actually fit them.  Goodwill, used clothing (like Once Upon A Child) and thrift stores often have amazing costume deals, you just need to go early.  If you're local to Toronto, the costume exchange we'll be participating in is at Kid Culture in the Junction: click here for details.

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here

*Not that we're exactly living large, but we are middle class and our kids have so many things at their disposal.
**I'm such a liar, toddlers don't use anything "gently", we pass on whatever is in reasonable shape.
***Instead of us acting like the anti-Christmas elves while they sleep, stockpiling old clothes and toys for donations and friend-recycling. 


  1. Hand-me down clothes and consignment shop finds are great, plus they save us money. My oldest is now very intetested in donating toys. We donate each year around holiday time. We also rotate toys so not every toy is out every day. This is less for us to clean up, plus its like the girls have a new toy because they haven't seen it in awhile. We usually do this each season, summer, fall...

  2. I've noticed that kids seem to learn "giving" from their parents rather than from how much or how little things they have. I know a family that gives their kids EVERYthing they could possibly ask for (sometimes you can't even walk around because the floor is so full of stuff) and yet they come from the type of culture that freely gives away their possessions if they notice someone else likes it, without a thought or care. The kids are always offering to give away their things to people and I think it's because they see their parents doing the same thing. They seem to have no strong attachments to stuff. It's neat.