Lane waits at the airport for the flight, playing with her felt cupcakes next to her backpack of toys.
My kids are not minimalists. They are not serene and clutter-free, they don’t crave orderly spaces, and they love little junk as much as the next kid.
When we took our two children (ages 4 and 1½) to Italy for three months, the only toys we brought with us fit inside one child’s backpack. Would that be enough for three months?
I look for small, lightweight toys that can encourage a lot of creative play. Since we have always lived in apartments with our kids, these are my preferred toys they play with at home as well. Do you think it’s odd how small children’s toys can be so big? Sometimes they can be as big as the kid! If you live in a small home, it can make your house crazy to have a lot of big toys to pick up.
But if you’re hoping (like I was) that having fewer, smaller toys will keep your kids’ rooms clean, it doesn’t. My kids still made a big mess of their room every day, and they had a blast doing it. The real difference is that clean-up time took fifteen minutes, not an hour, and we didn’t have to wonder where to put everything.
- art supplies: watercolor case, colored pencils, coloring book.
- tea set and petit fours by Haba
- jewelry box with dress up jewelry – it also served as a place to put special things
- puzzles – stored in ziplock bags, not in the boxes
- felt cupcakes – see my how-to instructions on AlphaMom.
- more felt and scissors – we made a felt town and other crafts.
- balloons – the kids played with them in the tub. We made the biggest water balloon they ever saw.
- favorite stuffed animal
- a couple of books
I also like LEGO, but I knew we wouldn’t be able to keep track of them (I find stray pieces everywhere!), so they stayed at home.
When we arrived, the kids made use of household items for play things, such as water bottles in the bath, and they made superhero capes with my Baggu bags. They made forts with the blankets and sofa pillows. We bought poster board when we arrived to decorate their new room with artwork.
Florence had a neat support network of play groups (called ludoteca) where moms could meet and the kids could play with more toys there.