Saturday, November 20, 2010

Toy Room List

A friend asked me for gift ideas for her 2 year-old boy and I told her cars and trucks...and that I also have a good list of toys that every child should have. I have done a lot of training in play therapy. If you don't know what play therapy is you can read about it here. But if you want the nutshell version...basically I bring children into a play room and we play together for an hour...and certain sort of way and work to develop a special kind of relationship. Since a child's vocabulary is more limited they use objects to express themselves and sort out their problems like adults use words. If you were to watch a play therapist you would think they were doing nothing but play with your child for an hour...which once you are trained to do this isn't far from the truth. I am amazed at the behavior changes that parents tell me happen at home when I haven't even really done anything specific other than this kind of play.) It's a very cool job and I wish I could do it full-time...or even part-time. Anyhow...there are specific toys that are we have in a play room...most of them every day toys...but they are toys that are most fit to help children express themselves. Every birthday and Christmas I try to give my children something from this list so we can have a well-equipped play room at home. If children have these toys at home it will increase their emotional intelligence*. With Christmas coming up I thought I'd post a modified list for ones I recommend for the home (list modified from Play Therapy-The Art of the Relationship by Garry L. Landreth). They basically all fall under 3 categories 1) real-life toys, 2) acting-out aggressive-release toys and 3) toys for creative expression and emotional release. You may find that you already have a well-equipped play room. I don't think you need to have all of the toys on this list, but I think you need toys from each category. These are non-gender specific so if you have boys don't be afraid to get them toys that are stereotypically for girls. Some of these are household items...which we all know often become the favorite toys...these things don't all have to be right in the play room...after all the whole house is basically a play room for us. Art supplies are also included in this list. (Small font is my comments.)

doll furniture (I really want a wood doll house even though I have 2 boys...Simon often plays with these when they are in other toy rooms)
bendable doll family (bendable is best...even if they can just bend at the waist, but non-bendable is better than nothing)
doll bed, clothes, etc.
plastic baby bottle
purse and jewelry
chalkboard, chalk, eraser
pans, silverware
play food (I highly recommend Melissa & Doug because they allow them to really create a dish)
fruit and vegetable cans
egg cartons
sponge towel
broom, dust pan
soap, brush, comb
crayons, pencils, paper
transparent tape, paste
toy watch
building blocks (different shapes and sizes)
paints, easel, newsprint, brushes
playdough or clay
Lone Ranger-type mask (I am hoping to make 2 of these for Christmas out of felt)
pipe cleaners
tongue depressors, popsicle sticks
riding toy
truck, car, airplane, tractor, boat
school bus
pounding bench and hammer
drum (we just got this one for Simon's birthday and it has a great sound)
toy soldiers and army equipment
firefighter's hat, other hats
sandbox, large spoon, funnel, sieve, pail
zoo animals, farm animals (realistic looking ones...these were Simon's obsession until Buzz Lightyear joined our family)
rubber snake, alligator
Bobo (bop bag)
rubber knife
hand cuffs
dart gun
toy noise-making gun (I still have a hard time having toy guns...I don't have any but I'm not opposed to them)
balls (large and small)
telephone (two...old cell phones would be great for this generation)
blunt scissors
construction paper
medical kit
play money and cash register
rags or old towels
hand puppets (doctor, nurse, police officer, mother, father, sister, brother, baby, alligator, wolf...that is their specific list, but any puppets provide a great way for children to express things they are afraid to say directly)
Tinker toys
tissues (on the list, but I can't figure out how they would stay in the box in a play room for more than 10 minutes)

A few things I would add:
occupational dress up clothes (fireman, police officer, chef, construction worker...I love the Melissa & Doug ones
occupational people figures (I have this set of occupational people and a set of people with disabilities and I got these out of storage and the boys play with them all the time...Simon's favorite is the fireman and Jack's is the "baker man.")
child's aprons (so they can help in the kitchen...of course, if you have a chef outfit this can be used)

Happy Christmas shopping!

*Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman is a must read for every parent. Gottman also well known for his research/books on marriage...this one is the most popular and I recommend it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

latest family pics

I think my kids are really cute...not to mention my husband.