Monday, April 20, 2009

Sometimes Simpler Really Is Better

I spent a long weekend in Canada at my sister's house with my niece and nephew. My niece, my love, my little goose had her 4th birthday party on Sunday. Just a small comfortable family affair with the first grilled hamburgers and corn on the cob of the season. We agreed on practical gifts for this birthday as my little goose Makenna owns a mountain of new toys from this Christmas and is currently growing out of her clothes faster than her parents can re-stock them.

So, Makenna received some new art supplies, a few books, a light brite, a new backpack for school, lots of new clothes for her and two new outfits for Barbie and Ken - which was my attempt to keep her excited about all the clothes she was getting. I'd say it worked rather well too. Anyhow, she was a total gem and while she did admit to noticing a pattern amidst her gifts (more clothes!) she was excited and said thank you and bashfully smiled while holding up her new dresses.

So it got me thinking, with the exception of the light brite all of Makenna's gifts were either simple or functional in their design. And I'm really beginning to think that simple is the way to go when gift giving for children. When I think of the best times I've had as a child they all involved creative play with a cardboard box and paints. Complicated toys with flashing lights and screaming sounds, while stimulating on some level, don't allow for truly imaginative play. And isn't that what we want for our children, to learn and grown from imaginative expression and experimentation? Sometimes, simpler really is better.

For some simple toy ideas check out littlealouette's beautiful wood carved toys on etsy. {Harper the Hippo rolling toy shown above.}

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