100 Toys and you: Sara's story
Becoming a single parent was not included in my life plan but here I am, mother to my wonderful 3-year-old son, trying to balance being a mum with jump starting my life again. I work part-time as a nurse and when I’m at work my son is very well looked after (spoiled rotten) by my parents. He also goes to a lovely nursery where they encourage free play and lots of outdoor time.
Before I found One Hundred Toys, the amount of toys we seemed to continually accumulate had begun to bother me. My son would play with one thing intensely for a couple of hours, then a new toy would appear and the other one would be forgotten about. Our home began to feel like a collection of storage solutions (thank you Ikea!) for all his toys - some of them wonderful but mostly a lot of plastic. Many of the toys that were so brilliantly stored, didn’t get played with at all apart from when other children came over for playdates.
I had fallen into the trap of buying multiple versions of the same toys for him, completing ‘sets’ of TV characters and adding to his ‘collections’ because that just seemed like the done thing. All I wanted was to keep him happy and focused on something, so that I could get on with the boring parent things (usually cooking tea with one hand, loading the dishwasher with the other and trying to keep the dog out of the fridge with my foot.) I felt overwhelmed and suffocated by the endless consumerism and felt sure there must be a better way.
I came across One Hundred Toys on Instagram and I am so pleased that I clicked that link! I love the fewer, better toys ethos; the toys we have bought from the website are appropriate and seem to engage my son for much longer than the plastic TV characters. I’ve also downloaded a couple of the guides and been delighted to find they have given me more freedom to get on with my jobs, as my son is happy to play more independently. I am still by no means perfect and find do occasionally turn to technology when I need him to be occupied, but have come to the conclusion that everything in moderation is OK. We do so much more open-ended play now I have decided to stop beating myself up about the iPad.
It’s slow progress but realising that he doesn’t need the latest/noisiest/most expensive toy feels like a weight off my shoulders . All he needs are a few great quality toys that allow his imagination to run free. Watching him play with his wooden castle and dinosaurs or digging for imaginary bugs in the sand has taught me to take his lead more. Children have enough boundaries - why can’t my duvet be a cave or my garden canes be a stick house to keep the dinosaurs out? The conformity of school is not that far away, lets enjoy early childhood while we can!
Recently friends have commented on my son’s great imagination and I feel very proud, and like to think that perhaps the small changes I am making thanks to One Hundred Toys have contributed to that.