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I'm Avital.

You want a present, peaceful and playful family life? I'm here to help you make that a reality.

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Choosing Toys Mindfully

Following principles from minimalism has some great benefits in decluttering our lives, and keeping Energy Sucks out for a more stress-free, simple lifestyle. But the toy business can really make us believe that our children need tons of toys to be happy. This is simply not the case, as children don’t really need any toys at all to be happy and creative.

So I want to break down the only 10 categories of toys that I believe you ‘need’. Again, none of these are necessary, and you don’t have to get a toy from each category. Neither do the toys need to be new or brand name. I encourage you to look for second hand to help with the cost of purchasing timeless, quality, and durable toy,s as I think these will get a lot of use and spark a lot of imaginative play. Remember, children have Mother Nature to interact with, and these toys should be thought of as – just toys – the cherries on top!


  1. Blocks
    This category spans a wide variety of building materials that a child can use to build whatever world they want. These could be simple set of wooden blocks or more sophisticated Magna-tiles, Classic Lego or Duplo. Anything open-ended will do. A few more favorites I recommend are these wooden blocks in wagon, B. Elemenosqueeze Soft Baby Blocks, Tegu Magnetic Blocks, CitiBlocs, Sumblox, the Pink Montessori Tower, or Grimm’s Rainbow Stacker.
  2. A Doll
    Ideally, this should be a gender-neutral, simple symbol of another human being for a child to care for, to practice real-life skills with, and to project their own life experiences onto.  A doll is not just for girls! This category of toy is for everyone. I advice against the kinds of dolls without all the bells and whistles, but keeping it simple with a plush or basic baby doll or even a teddy bear or any stuffed animal. One doll is enough!
  3. Characters
    This category of toy can be a set of characters made up of Playmobil people, Lego people, family figures, wooden peg people painted by your child, or animals. All of these give a license to your child to act out social scenes and important themes in their life.
  4. A Ball
    Balls are for all ages to enjoy because they can be used in so many ways! You can toss, kick, bounce, and throw them as well as make believe with them. One ball will get a ton of use.
  5. Art Materials
    Pick more sensory-rich art materials like paint over markers. But any open-ended and basic art material is an amazing toy for any age. Paint, paper, cardboard boxes, play dough, colored pencils or crayons… check out my page, The Messy Zone,  if you’d like more ideas.
  6. Scarves
    I love play silks! They can be imagined into limitless ways – a cape, blanket, towel, tent, flag, pirates hat, ballroom dress, a river, a uniform, belt – they are endlessly pleasing. By investing in a set of silk scarves, you can avoid collecting the bulky, hard to store princess dresses and fireman’s costume, etc. You can purchase some like these or make them yourself.
  7. Gross Motor
    This category is for anything that encourages large movement of the body. You can watch my video on indoor swings here. But even a simple gym mat, mattress, or balance board or beam can encourage the use of gross motor skills. I think balance bikes (or this one) are also a great idea. Check out Movement Zone in the Shop!
  8. Vehicles
    Trains, cars, trucks! Children can reenact city scenes, construction sites, and whatever your child sees happening every day. These toys are definitely not just for boys, as every child will enjoy driving vehicles around in their own imaginative worlds.
  9. Books
    Include a few, GOOD children’s books in your home that can be revisited again and again. These CLASSICS will be well-loved and enjoyed. In order not to clutter out these well-loved classics, frequent the library if possible and use a Kindle.
  10. Sensory
    This category is for all things like water, sand (kinetic), rocks, rice, dry beans or noodles. You just need a bin (I love this table with bin inserts) or tray to contain it and your child can incorporate other toys such as vehicles or characters into this sensory world.

I always recommend that you invest (a second-hand is just fine!) when possible in a few, high-quality, durable and open-ended toys over more, plastic or cheap versions. Also watch out for when the toys get too specific, exact or ultra-detailed to the extent they can’t be imagined in other ways.

And that’s it! These are the 10 categories of toys I believe is more than enough to encourage imaginative play for any child.

Which of these toys do you already own? Do you have your own recommendations? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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8 Replies to “Minimalism – The Only 10 TOYS You “Need””

  1. I would like to have kinetic sand for my kids bt I wonder if that type of sand will be harmful for them… And providing sand inside the house is becoming very messy. Bt their favorite is the play with sand n water…and as I’m from a country where it’s 40 degrees n above temperature it’s Really impossible to take them out for play…I really need help…

  2. What?
    Even when looking for heartfuk blogs about minimalism with kids, I get just hidden advertisement pretending to be advice?
    I know the world got on a very dark road with advertisments everywhere. We only need to buy buy buy. And when we do buy all things we don’t need, we are spied upon just to make advertisments adjustable for us to buy buy buy, buy again and buy some more.
    I felt like I had a little place where I was with like minded people in the niche of minimalism, eco, etc…
    Yet here I am, instead of minimalism advice by people who care… just more of hidden amazon links trying to get every money I have left. Good idea, that blog trying to make us buy at the shop you affilate at.
    Here, have some euros. Or wait, make it ten, I am poor in my pocket but you are poor in meaning. LOTS worrse.
    Tadaah, you are cashing! Makes the day, right? Money makes the world go round. Please visit my shop. I’m giving out hope love and care.

    1. So what exactly do you expect her to do? She suggested thrifting for some toys. If a someone is a new parent are they just not supposed to buy toys at all? She gave suggestions and links so someone could consider that item for their family. You are in no way required or expected to buy any of these suggestions. In fact, I feel this list is practical, doable, inexpensive and spot on. We have invested in most of the items anyway and for the one or two suggestions that we don’t have, I’m grateful for some ideas of things to consider purchasing.

  3. This is a great list. When I thought of the most used toys of my boys they mostly fitted neatly within one of the 10 categories.
    Trampoline – Gross Motor Skills
    Bikes – Gross Motor Skills
    Lego – Fits and Blocks and Gross Motor
    Wooden Train Set – Vehicles
    The only thing that didn’t seem to was some of the STEM toys they liked
    eg. PowerUp paper plane launcher
    Amazing Annoyatron
    So maybe an 11th, for educational or science toys.

  4. Thanks for all you do Avital. I can feel it in my bones, watching your videos and reading your advice is going to help soooooooooo much in our every day family life. Thank you from Ellie and the Wright family in England

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