Tuesday, January 09, 2007

My kid is a toy-hating freak

Here’s a question. Why doesn’t my daughter like toys? I find this weird. For Christmas she asked for a bunch of stuff, and received some of it, along with plenty of other fun goodies. And that of course is on top of all the other toys we already had—dolls, dollhouses, tea sets, puzzles, cars, trains, puppets, you name it—and the fully stocked preschool classroom where she spends four days a week.

She rarely plays with any of it. She watches TV, she listens to stories, she loves to draw, color, and write. She plays board games and card games. She and her brother jam with musical instruments. She comes up with imaginary stories and scenarios (remember the coconut?!). When I pick her up at school she is almost always involved in some sort of art project. But whenever I say “Hey, let’s go in the playroom and play!” I get a big fat “Noooooo.”

I find this mystifying, but I do have some theories.

  • Snobbery: Maybe we don’t have the right toys. Maybe we need an FAO Schwarz intervention, stat.

  • Technique: Does she not know how to play with the toys we have? (I’ve noticed she plays more willingly when she’s with another child, either at home or on playdates.)

  • Parental lame-itude: Or maybe I’m the one who doesn’t know how to play with the toys, or encourage her to play with them.

  • Overload: She plays at school all day — when she gets home she just wants to potato out in front of the tube.
I’m not worried about this, just curious. And slightly frustrated to be harboring our own little Island of Misfit Toys over here. Help us, Hermey!


Kate said...

Isn't it so true? We invest the magnitude of a 401(k) in these toys, and they sit and collect dust.

And then when I tell my son that we're going to go through the toys and get rid of the ones he doesn't play with anymore, he has a tantrum and doesn't want to give them up.

His faves are his bike, his scooter, his trains and the board games (don't ask how many times I've played Chutes and Ladders). And of course, Spongebob.

mamatulip said...

Out of all of the toys we have here -- thousands and thousands of dollars worth of toys -- my children, both of them, pick the cheap dollar store toys over the other, more expensive toys, EVERY TIME.

BlondeMom said...

Oh I can relate. Caitlin loves to do art projects (coloring, painting, Play Doh). She's also into some online computer games (Barbie...yes shudder...has a great online dressup game...it's actually quite cute.) But when she gets home in the evenings she usually wants to veg out and on the weekends she wants to play outside unless the weather is bad. She does love to pretend play with her stuffed animals, though.

But yeah, sometimes the most loved toys are the ones that come with a burger and fries.

binkytown said...

Maybe shes super smart and needs a microbiolectolar kit of some kind to conduct experiments on Opie with? ( I don't even know what that is- I made it up but I bet smart kids would like it)

Magpie said...

Oh, it sounds like she likes toys to me - it just depends on your definition of toys - books, art supplies, games, musical instruments - they all sound like toys to me. Although the overload theory sounds pretty plausible too.

But, I think I want the microbiolectolar kit - where do I get one?!?

Karianna said...

Same story here. Tons of fun things, but they just end up scattered all over the floor. Why not give them a bag of rice: easy to scatter, easy to vacuum!

I think the "playing with others" is probably key. For playdates, she might be more inclined to use the dollhouses, etc; sometimes it is more fun to "pretend" with someone else, and as much as she loves you, probably she wants someone her own age.

Christina said...

Oh yeah, we have a house full of toys, but her favorite things to play with are a plastic cup and the (clean!) scraper from a George Foreman grill. Sigh.

movin'mom said...

She's probably wise beyond her years!!
Playing with toys was maybe her babyhood...now she has probably her mothers IQ and perhaps you should look into a microscope, telescope or stethescope!!

As long as she can still have a conversation with kids her age, she's good to go. It's when they look at someone else playing with toys and thinks they are immature that you will have your hands full.

Maybe you should have her design her "ultimate toy" while coloring. :)

Lady M said...

You have a creator-type in the making! Very cool.

nomotherearth said...

Same here. We have a lot of toys, but the most play is gotten from the crayons and paper, and the dollar store stickers. Aside from the money we spent, I think it's a good thing. I'd rather he put time into thing that require more imagination.

I do think that he likes to veg out in front of the tube after daycare. But then, so do I (um, work, not daycare, that is...). A lot of the time, I just don't have the heart or the energy to say no.

Lisa said...

Yes! Same way in these here parts... Drives me crazy!

Anonymous said...

my experience with toys has been that if I am not there playing with the toys WITH them, they don't care about the toys.

My boys got TONS of toys for Christmas. The extended family does that every year, despite my best efforts to tell them not to.

You know what ones the play with? My older boy plays with his whiteboard all the time, and the baby plays with a wooden puzzle.

the simplest toys are always the best.

Anonymous said...

oops, that anon comment was from me, krista at the silent k.

tallulah said...

Box every single one of the toys up and keep them out of reach for two weeks. On the third week, bring 1 or 2 down and allow her to play with them. It could be sensory overload....too many toys.

mothergoosemouse said...

Eh, I think she's just got a great imagination. The toys that entail a specific WAY to play with them aren't nearly as entertaining as making up her own games.