There is one question–maybe even a concern–that we have been getting a lot of lately: Where are all of Greta’s toys?! Sometimes it is out of genuine curiosity and sometimes it is a little condescending, but either way it shows up in some form (my inbox, facebook, a comment, instgram, etc.) at least once a week. Yesterday we received the question in comment form and I figured it was time to address is once and for all. Here’s an excerpt from the comment posted on yesterday’s post:
…I have noticed though as I look through the pictures that there are no signs of a three year old girl living in your house. You have mentioned blocks, books and a train set, but no kitchen play set, no baby dolls, no baby doll crib, no barbies, no doll house, no playhouse, no swingset in the backyard. This makes me wonder since Greta has no siblings to play with, maybe she is bored. All 3 years olds are high energy, active and easily bored maybe she just needs more to entertain herself with….
Anonymous–and all you other curious minds–yes, it is true, Greta doesn’t have a playhouse, play kitchen, dollhouse, doll crib (she does have dolls–more on that in a moment), swing set, or a ton of barbies. In fact, she just has one barbie. It is a boy and she calls him, “Daddy doll.” She does have quite the collection of other dolls and stuffed animals but she doesn’t love them or play with them frequently, with the exception of her stuffed puppy we got her for Christmas when she turned one. While there are certainly a lot of things our just-turned-three year old doesn’t have, we are aware of her needs, wants and really wants and love to supply her with as many options to learn, entertain herself and increase her creativity without splurging on things we know she won’t care for in a week–like a play kitchen. Here’s what she does do all day:
Although I don’t think a play kitchen is in order with Greta (who knows a future child might seem very interested in the idea–and we’ll happily oblige), Greta really enjoys helping out in the actual kitchen. Around the time she turned two, we started letting Greta help prepare meals. We would let her help us stir, pour, measure, press the button on the blender every morning–anything that she could do (and we felt comfortable letting her)–she did. For Christmas, my sister and her wife upgraded Greta’s little chef’s hat, to an entire ensemble to help develop her passion–and it’s adorable.
The imaginary version of a kitchen just wouldn’t cut it for her. She has friends that have them – she just isn’t interested. Another activity that Greta spends her days exploring takes place in the studio. When we designed the studio, we knew it would be a place for both Greta and I–and it really is. Not only does Greta have her very own chalkboard table in there, but she frequently takes over my easel to paint.
The studio is the only room upstairs that we do activities or have toys. Greta has always been a dynamite sleeper and I think it is due to the fact that we reserve our bedrooms for relaxation and sleep. She is definitely a doer, she likes to be involved in activities–even if the activity is folding laundry–but we do keep toys stored all over the first floor for her. Two out of three sections of the fauxdenza are dedicated to Greta.
Her new keyboard she got for her birthday (huge hit!), a bucket of playdoh, books and coloring books, stacking cups, a big pink car, her stacking penguin and hammer toy all sit in plain sight on the shelves and we used baskets to corral smaller, like items. Baskets are a life-saver when it comes to storing toys! Here’s a peek at what is in those baskets:
Her wheely cow–the most popular toy during play dates–also hangs out in the living room next to the couch.
In the family room, we have more toys stored away. Her train set that we got her from Christmas is tucked in a narrow, large basket with a lid next to the couch and she plays with it almost every day.
Her building blocks are another almost-daily toy and they’re stored in a large basket on the built-ins.
On the bottom shelf in the smaller section of the built-ins, we keep a rotating collection of twenty or so books that we might be asked to read to her, or frequently she will “read” to herself or her audience of stuffed animals that also found a home in a basket in this little nook.
The family room is also the place to be on weekends, when we bust out Greta’s ladybug tent. Maybe it isn’t as trendy as those cool teepees flying around the internet, but it makes Saturdays feel really special when we all squeeze in and pretend like we’re pirates…or whatever Greta has planned. Plus, it folds down into a tiny round case that gets shoved into the coat closet until the special day–or whenever we need a break during the week. Keeping something not readily accessible automatically makes it special and more fun.
When it gets warmer, Greta cruises around on her scooter or big wheel around our cul-de-sac, or we walk around the corner to the playground at the school, but we are really itching to get a playset in the backyard. In fact, that is on the agenda for this spring/summer (SO excited to work more in the yard this year and bring you all with us!).
So, even though Greta doesn’t have every toy that maybe most typical toddlers have (??), rest assured her happiness and growth is definitely our priority. Every child is different, and Greta has never been content with being entertained by toys or things kids are supposed to enjoy. She is wild and active and curious and just wants to be with us, doing whatever we’re doing. And we are doing our best to provide her with an environment where she can be herself.
Ps. Today is the last day to enter to win an eco-friendly throw from Happy Habitat. Enter here.