Sometimes the best ‘toys’ are the simplest!

I have learnt quite a bit about my Beans over the Summer holidays, in particular about their ‘toy tastes’. I don’t know about other parents but I always find Christmas and Birthdays quite a daunting prospect trying to guess just what it is they really want. So far as a parent we have bought gifts for 21 birthdays and approx 20 Christmasses (I haven’t got the will to work it out) but what I have noticed over many of these events is how many presents initially receive a big cheer of excitement as they appear from the wrapping paper and then get placed on a shelf, in a box or under a bed and NEVER emerge into the light of day again. I dread to think how much money has been wasted on them.

As the Summer holidays approached I raided the Beans’ moneyboxes to see how much money they each had and was amazed to find that all of them had nearly £50 each so I topped up those that didn’t quite have the full £50 and then all was fair. I put their pennies into their own purses/wallets and carried them with me everywhere I went over the Summer. I told the Beans that they had their spending money and could spend it on whatever they wanted but once it was gone, it was gone. They AMAZED me by just how thrifty they were with their money. If I had taken them to the shops and said you can buy whatever you want and I will pay for it, they would have filled a basket with rubbish. But this was their money and they were so careful about WHAT they were buying and how much things cost it was an eye-opener. Suddenly things which they absolutely *had* to have became less appealing and I heard comments like “I only like playing with the figures, not the sets” (Beanie Boy) and “I’ve already got lots of those dolls anyway” (Little Bean). I will definitely stick to this kind of shopping in the future as it saved me a fortune and in the end they only bought the things they really wanted. Surprisingly, they also managed to make their pennies last right through to the last week, in fact I think Curly still has quite a bit left, Little Bean has about £1.50 and Beanie Boy has £1. Jelly Bean obviously spent the least but he was too young to really worry about anything other than food.

ConstructionSo what did they ultimate *want* to buy? For Little Bean it was all about the girlie things, make-up, jewellery, tiny cuddlies, a few little Lego Friends sets and Littlest Pet Shop Figures as well as a few more Frozen goodies. Beanie Boy was perhaps the most restrained with his money, he was only interested in play figures of the Superhero kind. The problem with this was that I had already bought most of them to put away for his birthday this Sunday so I had to direct his attentions elsewhere or tell him that they were too much money for what he had in his wallet which brought about lots of tears – he had better be happy with them on Sunday!! Following in his older brother and sister’s footsteps, Beanie Boy has also started to show an interest in Lego Juniors. Our house is starting to look like a Lego Movie set and if one of them doesn’t get a job in construction then I will be amazed. We have actually bought Beanie Boy a Lego Juniors Batman set for his birthday so fingers crossed it will be a winner.

Jelly Bean is perhaps the funniest when it comes to toys as he has a very specific taste and prefers to stick to toys of either the building nature OR baby dolls and prams. Last year for Christmas we bought him box of little wooden building blocks – nothing fancy just a £12.99 tub of coloured bricks from TK Maxx with a shape sorter lid and it’s STILL the one toy he gets out day after day to play with. He stacks the bricks, knocks them down, puts them into cups and tips them out, puts them in a pushchair and takes them for a walk. He LOVES his bricks and he’s not alone. The rest of the Beans (Curly included) will gravitate towards them and make up play scenarios with them; Curly pretends they are part of his Mine Craft world, Little Bean builds stables and houses for her little animals, Beanie Boy uses them to ‘destroy worlds’ or to build walls for his figures to hide behind. I LOVE this kind of play, I love that something soooooo simple can create so many different play opportunities. It really makes me wonder whether they need the playroom at all or whether it would be better suited to be an ‘office’ for Mummy *nudge nudge wink wink*.

What do your children like to play with the best?


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