Fewer Toys?
Sponsored Links
This presentation is the property of its rightful owner.
1 / 52

Fewer Toys? Are You Crazy? PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on
  • Presentation posted in: General

Fewer Toys? Are You Crazy?. Think about it… when you were a child, what was one of your favorite things to do?. Were any toys involved in your favourite activity? Probably not. Most people describe their favourite activities as playing outdoors… tag, building forts, climbing trees…

Download Presentation

Fewer Toys? Are You Crazy?

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Presentation Transcript

Fewer Toys? Are You Crazy?

Think about it…when you were a child, what was one of your favorite things to do?

Were any toys involved in your favourite activity?

Probably not. Most people describe their favourite activities as playing outdoors… tag, building forts,

climbing trees…

being in the natural world.

“Leave childhood to ripen

in your children.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau1762

This presentation is about an

early childhood program’s experience of observing children, taking risks and delighting in the wonder

of children’s play.

…in Red River College’s Early Childhood Education Workplace Program, an introductory course on play and an article called: “Daycare Without Toys”

  • By Anna Rubinowicz-Grundler

  • Translated by Ewa Maik (2003), ECE student

It all began…

The article described the initiative

of Elke Schubert & Rainer Strick from Weilheim Schongau, a small Bavarian district in Germany.

Their initiative involved offering blocks of time in kindergarten programs where toys are “retired”.

  • There is an overall lack of time during the day that is at a child’s discretion

  • There are more restrictions on children’s freedom in general

  • Children are continually confronted with products offered by consumer goods industries

  • Many times, children’s problems & frustrations are dealt with by being offered some kind of ‘consolation’ i.e. toys

  • Toys are the most popular consumer articles of children

The authors consideredthe following points…

“Large corporations create most

children’s toys and materials, which

often serve as commercials for TV

programs. They come with a theme and

script, or a particular way to use them.

How do these toys provide for children’s

investigation, imagination, or creativity?

In most cases, they rarely do.”

Carter & Curtis (1996) Reflecting Children’s Lives. p. 28


“After German consolidation we

experienced an overflow of toys.

Everybody had to have Barbie

dolls, Lego blocks, cars and

board games. We survived the

Power Rangers craze, even two

year old girls were fighting over


About toys…

Marianne Bruckardt (Director of an east Berlin daycare) cited in “Daycare Without Toys” by A. Rubinowicz-Grundler. Translated by Ewa Maik.

Picture: www.olgahorvat.com

“Children did not talk to each other at

all, and also did not have any

concept how to play together.”

Sieglinde Graetz as cited in “Daycare Without Toys”

by A. Rubinowicz-Grundler. Translated by Ewa Maik


“It was felt that…

  • with the wealth of offerings

  • the consumer orientation at kindergarten facilities as well as at home

  • the observable boredom despite or because of superabundance

  • the lack of perseverance &

  • quick frustration

    … the [no toys kindergarten] project aims at recreating scope for playing as well as fantasy and creativity.”

    Schubert & Strick

The “retiring toys” approach is not

against toys per se rather, it is

based on a belief that removing

toys for a limited time period

(approx. 3 months) helps foster

important life skills.

  • effective communication abilities

  • creative thinking

  • problem-solving skills

  • cooperativeness

  • self-assertiveness

  • self-esteem

Life skills such as…

Could we “retire” some toys in our program?

How would the children respond?

At Lakewood Children’s Centre, they asked…

  • Children (6 year olds) were prepared by explaining that some of the toys would be put away during the spring break week.

  • The children asked “What do you mean?”

Spring BreakMarch 2004

A variety of open-ended

materials were added:

  • different sizes of boxes

  • milk cartons

  • different types of tape

  • Styrofoam pieces

  • markers, string

Spring BreakMarch 2004

“Loose parts is a term coined by architect

Simon Nicholson, to refer to open-ended

materials that provide opportunities for

transporting, transforming and using one’s

experience and imagination. Given the

chance, children will use loose parts as

invented props to support their play and

investigation of the world.”

Curtis and Carter (1996) Reflecting Children’sLives. p. 28

Loose Parts

  • At first children asked the staff “What do we do?”

  • Then children would check their ideas and look for approval from the early childhood educators.

  • Gradually the children began playing on their own and with others.

Children’s reactions

$15 for soy sauce

Click to play

Click to play

A guy and a puppet

Click to play

Baby jaguars

Click to play

Campfire Stories

Click to play

For the short time it was

implemented, we noticed:

  • more cooperative play

  • more imaginative play

  • less involvement of adults

  • less noise in the room

What the Early Childhood Educators observed2004

  • Once again, children (5-6 year olds) were prepared and consulted

  • Children were asked what materials they wanted in the room

Spring BreakMarch 2005

Boxes were the favourite

March 2005

Wheels on the box

Click to play

Click to play

March 2005

Click to play

A big house and “fort”

March 2005


Click to play

  • more cooperative play and turn-taking

  • more conversations

  • more “what if..” – imaginative and problem-solving play

  • children’s joy in what they were doing

  • little or no need to ‘guide’ children’s behaviour

What the Early Childhood Educators observed2005

Let’s do it again!

January 2006

Click to play

It’s all mine!

Click to play

The Band

Click to play

Pop goes the weasel!

Click to play

Building a village

Click to play

Paperbag Princess

Click to play

Like previous experiences:

  • there was more cooperation & creativity in the children’s play.

  • children usually started off with individual pursuits i.e. claiming boxes, but soon children started working together – a community cooperating, building and playing.

What the Early Childhood Educators observed 2006

Spring BreakMarch 2006

Click to play

What would older children think of this idea?

Spring Break March 2006

Click to play

What really happened…

Spring Break March 2006

Click to play

Making wings

Click to play

Big guys and boxes

Click to play

In 2005, the cardboard box was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.

“Inside a big cardboard box, a child is transported to a world of his or her own, one where anything is possible.”

www.strongmuseum.org/NTHoF/box. html

Did you know?

  • Promoted interactions & communication between children

  • Fostered negotiation and problem-solving

  • Enhanced creative thought & play and children “learned how to fight boredom”

    Schubert & Strick

Removing the toys…

  • children were more focused

  • longer attention spans

  • more interaction and communication with each other

  • more negotiation and problem-solving

  • more intense and longer creative play periods

  • more stories told by children

    Schubert & Strick


“Do we, in our consumption society,

take for granted that we are glutted

with consumer articles to such an

extent that it comes as a sensation

when this situation is changed

for a (limited) period of time by

providing time and space for children

to grasp their normal selves again?”

Schubert & Strick

Think about it…

  • Are there too many toys surrounding our children?

  • Do toys somehow change the dynamics of children’s interactions?

What do you think?

“We talk too much, all of us, and observe and live with children far too little”

An Adventure with Children (1985)

Mary HammettLewis

For more information about the

Toy-free Kindergarten project in

Germany, visit:



Shawna Wilton

Lakewood Children’s


Ph: 204-832-5802


[email protected]

Jamie Koshyk

Early Childhood


Workplace Program

Red River College

Ph: 204-632-3070


[email protected]

For more information

  • Login