My journey to a more minimalist lifestyle began unconsciously when Emerson was born. I am not a true minimalist by any means, I’m quite the opposite. I collect and keep too many things, and I’ve been trying to consciously (yet unsuccessfully) declutter our lives since she arrived. When she was younger, I didn’t fawn over all of the latest baby gadgets and toys; we didn’t have a bouncer, a swing or a walker and all those other “must have” items you see on baby registries. Turns out, she survived just fine, and we didn’t have to fill our home with items we would eventually have no use for. We also really didn’t have the space for clunky baby toys, and we certainly don’t have the storage.
With her birthday being so close to Christmas (Dec. 28) I knew I was going to have to do something to maintain my desired lifestyle without affecting her quality of life. Family members love giving gifts, so while I didn’t want to take that opportunity away from them, I don’t feel that she needs tons of toys that she may or may not play with. For her first birthday, I asked friends and family to gift experiences (i.e. trips to the zoo, museum memberships, science center tickets, etc.). It’s a birthday tradition that I would love to continue throughout her life because we received some really great ones. More than anything I want to to inspire and nurture creativity and her adventerous side. However, as she gets older I know that her needs and desires are going to change, and she’s going to need items and toys that will help her development.
She doesn’t currently have a lot of toys, so I haven’t done much recycling and donating, but I think this will be the year that I clear some space to update her collection. I created this minimalist toddler toy guide to compile some of the things that I believe are beneficial for this current stage of life as well as her growth. Some of the things on the list she already has (marked with a star) and I would recommend, and others are things I’d love to get her or have gifted this year. My goal is to inspire other people to value the vast opportunity for experiences with their children over occupying them with endless toys, and also to make more conscious decisions when buying necessary products, toys and games to help our children’s development.
The gift guide is broken up in to sections for your convenience. Links are included in each item name. I hope you find it helpful. Enjoy!