This year I've decided my boys are not getting a huge pile of new toys stacked to the ceiling. Instead I have asked what they really want and was surprised! Imperfect Mummy - The place to find only realistic parenting information.

Why My Boys Won’t Be Receiving New Toys This Year

July 13, 2017ImperfectMummy

This year I've decided my boys are not getting a huge pile of new toys stacked to the ceiling. Instead I have asked what they really want and was surprised! This year I've decided my boys are not getting a huge pile of new toys stacked to the ceiling. Instead I have asked what they really want and was surprised!

This year I have decided that my boys are not going to have a huge pile of new toys stacked to the ceiling for their birthday. Neither will Father Christmas be jamming their stockings full to the brim.

The reason behind this?

Contrary to what they might think they don’t actually want them!

Up until recently I would attempt to sort, organise and tidy their millions of plastic figurines, kinder surprise “things” and random crap won at some machine. It would take a couple of hours each time and even though I would throw out any broken toys or “bits” that no one knows where it came from, there would always still be too much to fit into the designated IKEA toy boxes.

This year I've decided my boys are not getting a huge pile of new toys stacked to the ceiling. Instead I have asked what they really want and was surprised!

One day, while my eldest was at Preschool and so unable to witness my daring act, I decided to bag up anything that wasn’t played with anymore. All together it came to 3 extremely full giant garbage bags. These consisted of:

  1. A bag of crap – those kinder toys, tiny bouncy balls and anything broken.
  2. Stuff they rarely played with but I thought I better keep for a little while in case they notice it’s gone and want it back!
  3. Stuff I know they definitely won’t notice and that can be donated to charity.

Out of all 3 of those bags do you know what they noticed?? NOTHING!! It is now 4-5 months later and they haven’t even questioned why the toy box quantity has gone from down from 4 boxes to only 2. I even removed a giant A frame blackboard from Mr 5’s bedroom – not a clue!

So, with both of their birthday’s coming up in the next few months it got me thinking – do I really want to buy loads of pressies that will get thrown away in a couple of months when I realise they are now just space wasters?? Absolutely not.

In doing this, something else I noticed was that when their daily screen time limit is reached and the inevitable “there is nothing to do, i’m bored” starts they are no longer responding to my “go and play with your toys” with the frustrating “but my toys are all boring” but instead are looking for and loving more creative activities. This doesn’t require hours of preparation and Pinteresting for ideas. What actually seems to captivate them the most at the moment is actually a book of stickers and a plain bit of paper – simple, cheap and great for their little minds.

So if no new toys then what will I buy for birthday’s this year?

I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous I wouldn’t be able to find anything for my eldest’s birthday but truth is, I don’t think he is that fussed about toys anyway. I think we are just led to believe (by the big toy companies of course) that a birthday or Christmas is not complete without stacks of toys.

What I am happy to buy is pretty much anything creative. Things that get him thinking, opening up his mind and imagination.

I asked my 5 year old for his birthday wish list yesterday and it consisted of:

This year I've decided my boys are not getting a huge pile of new toys stacked to the ceiling. Instead I have asked what they really want and was surprised!

I will also get him some Lego – always a winner, sticker books, particularly ones that encourage counting or learning letters and some other kind of craft activity, such as a Gift In A Tin.

So as you can see, there are no new toys. Instead, it is all creative activities that exercise the mind and that will last him for years – I still have my Lego 30 years later and am not ashamed to say that I still enjoy building a little house with pretty flowers in the garden!

This just proves that if you actually ask what they really want, it may be surprising. Of course, as they watch TV they are going to be tempted by the bright colours and smiling faces of children playing with the shiny new toys. However most of them can’t or at least don’t read the tiny print at the bottom of the screen that reads something like:  “toys don’t actually talk or light up or move or make sound” No wonder these toys are opened with excitement only to be thrown on the floor 10 minutes later.

Do you have any great creative gift ideas instead of new toys? All suggestions welcome – Let us know below!

Comments (20)

  • Mica

    July 16, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    These are great gift ideas! Books are always a good one for us – the house is overflowing with books but I love it as I was such a bookworm growing up and being able to spend the days flicking through the books in the book case is such a happy memory. I don’t seem to have time to read much on my own now, but I’m always reading books to the boys 🙂

    Experiences are another good one – stumped for what to get one year their auntie suggested a day out instead – and it was a massive hit, my eldest still talks about it. This year he doesn’t know it but he’s going to spend the day on a fire truck – I can’t wait to see his face!

    1. ImperfectMummy

      July 16, 2017 at 10:49 pm

      Oh wow, the fire truck will be awesome. The memory of their little faces at these experiences are sooo worth it!

  • ashley p

    July 16, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    It drives me bonkers when they say they are bored and have nothing to play with; we have really scaled back the toys in the house over the last few years, but new toys only seem to hold interest for a few days and then they are done

    1. ImperfectMummy

      July 16, 2017 at 10:48 pm

      Exactly, so many toys are played with once then are just dust collectors!

  • Heather Johnson

    July 16, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    I am doing the same thing! No toys! Instead, my kiddos will be getting a few craft kits and things like markers, crayons, notebooks, etc. that they actually use. A few books too because one can never have enough books.

    1. ImperfectMummy

      July 16, 2017 at 10:47 pm

      Totally agree about the books. Yep, they love the craft kits 🙂

  • Laura

    July 16, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    Love this! It’s funny what kids notice. We just want to buy them so much, but in the end they don’t use all of it or even notice it all! I think it’s a great idea to buy them things other than toys for birthdays!

    Laura ||

    1. ImperfectMummy

      July 16, 2017 at 10:46 pm

      Absolutely Laura, I was sure they would notice but not a clue!! 🙂

  • cassie

    July 17, 2017 at 5:52 am

    I think sometimes this applies not just to kids but to adults too! Last Christmas I really went against commercialised rubbish as presents and tried to buy everyone something they actually needed – not just some toy that would be shoved in a cupboard!

    1. ImperfectMummy

      July 17, 2017 at 6:15 am

      So true and what a great idea, so much more personal too!

  • Susanne

    July 18, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    I think it is wonderful that you had him give you his wishlist, I always try to buy my grandkiddos learning and creative things for their birthdays and Christmas. It is so crazy how they only play with something for one day and then gets shuffled off to the toy box never to be seen or played with again.

    1. ImperfectMummy

      July 18, 2017 at 10:44 pm

      Yes, it is. Absolutely nuts!!

  • Susanne

    July 18, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Isn’t it crazy how toys you think they will love get played with once then shuffled off to the bottom of the toy box?! I always try to buy my grandkiddos presents that inspire creativity…they get enough toys from their parents, lol

    1. ImperfectMummy

      July 18, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      Absolutely, they promise to play with it every day but after 3 days have forgotten about it!

  • Caroline @ Love Cake Create

    July 18, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    Great post! I like to do this often with my boys too (they’re 2 & 5). It’s crazy how much we’ve accumulated over the years so we do a toy rotation every few months and for their birthdays do adventure experiences like Taronga zoo, Featherdale wildlife park, or Marine land.

    1. ImperfectMummy

      July 18, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      Yes, I love Taronga Zoo. Going to get the membership this year so we can go more often 🙂

  • Susan Minich

    July 18, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Books are always good! I try to get my kids to play outside too – soccer balls, basketballs, scooters and bikes are all things that get them moving. My daughter wants to just do gymnastics all day long.

    1. ImperfectMummy

      July 18, 2017 at 10:42 pm

      Yes, it’s always great to get them outdoors!

  • Mandy

    March 28, 2018 at 8:38 am

    We’ve wanted to try the no new toys approach for some time but to be honest I don’t know how this will work out. Long story short, I know he’ll throw a tantrum and I just don’t know how to deal with it.

    1. ImperfectMummy

      March 28, 2018 at 10:16 am

      I know what you mean. I thought this would happen too, but was pleasantly surprised 🙂 x

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