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Marie Forleo introduction


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 Amazon shop for 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!

You may also like...

If you know me (and especially if you're a Present Player) you'll know I LOVE... indoors swings! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
You guys. Sensory swings have changed our lives.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Swinging is calming, and it develops gross motor skills, fine motor skills, balance, confidence, perceptual skills, core strength, and spatial awareness. The motion helps focus. And swinging supports the orientation schema (if you haven't heard of schemas in early childhood, check out my YouTube video "Schemas in Early Childhood") and the vestibular system. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
My favorite swings are the Raindrop and the Trapeze from @funandfunction and the Ladder Swing from Amazon. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I get questions all the time about which swings to get and how to install - so I compiled my answers into a FREE INDOOR SWING GUIDE for you - get it on my website here or find the link in my bio @parentingjunkie⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
❤️ Do you love indoor swings? Which one(s) do you have?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
#indoorswing #sensoryswing #childhoodschemas #presentplay #playpandemic

“I feel so bad about all the mistakes I made.”
My clients have come to me feeling guilty about…⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
・having a c section/birth trauma ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
・misunderstanding their child’s needs⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
・taking too long to get a diagnosis ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
・not being home enough⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
・yelling or threatening⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
・not co-sleeping (or for co-sleeping)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
・not learning of peaceful parenting soon enough⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
・letting their child cry too much⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
For anyone who needs to hear this today:

✨ 1. FORGIVENESS is a great quality - practice it first and foremost to yourself.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
✨ 2. Guilt is a great INDICATOR for when we are not comfortable with something - after you’ve received this message, it loses its utility.
✨ 3. My guess is you’ve done a hella lot of things RIGHT. If you’re choosing what to spend time reminiscing - why not reminisce about things that make you feel great about yourself?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
✨ 4. Trust that you’ve always done the BEST you could with what you had.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
✨ 5. DON’T OVERESTIMATE the power your actions had - try not to go down the over-analysis track. You really don’t know what was cause and what was effect.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
✨ 6. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE your child’s resiliency - going through some challenges (even with you), serves them in being stronger, more capable, more adaptable people.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
✨ 7. HEALING, apology, and repair are always available and children are incredibly forgiving.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
✨ 8. Your kids don’t want you to feel bad about how you parented them. Show them that whilst you are imperfect and flawed, you’re overall confident and PROUD with how you’re raising them.
✨ 9. MODEL for your children how you own and celebrate your accomplishments more than you busy yourself in guilt with mistakes you perceive yourself to have made. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
✨10. Continue in comments!

Are you spending endless hours at home? I'm with ya! All the more reason to make our homes into havens... We sit down to this table for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It's taken on kilos of playdough, hundreds of family games, and dozens of date nights in.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
CLEARING SURFACES is one way I raise the vibe of my home - for me, it's essential for feeling less overwhelmed and more inspired to be present.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
★ And let me tell you about that highchair! I've had it since my first was a baby - so almost ten years (including a transatlantic move) - and it looks like new, ready for baby #5 and I'm still just as in love with it. If you're looking for a quality high chair, I put the link in my bio @parentingjunkie⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
#oxohighchair #highchair #highvibehome #loveparenting #homewithkids #momof5 #oxotot

Play is one of my favorite topics to read about, talk about, and think about. To me, play is the spice of life – the ingredient that makes any endeavor worthwhile, satisfying… fun.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
But often, I hear parents or teachers say things like, “They think they’re playing, but REALLY they’re learning” to which I think: “What’s the difference?!” and further: Why isn’t playing enough? Why does there have to be a quantifiable, measurable end?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
When play happens, time is forgotten - safe in the hub of imagination and authorship.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I believe that all children are born with the capacity, and the drive, to get lost in their imagination. To create worlds in which they are the masters and the directors, and in which they can truly find themselves. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Play IS the point. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
(Plus, I think it’s vital for parents, too. Am I right??? Definitely helps me feel LESS overwhelmed.)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
1. Set Up a Play Zone⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
2. Separate Screens From Play Spaces⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
3. Don't Overpower Their Play (they're the leaders)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
4. Don't Hover Over Their Play (give them their space)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
5. Provide ONLY Age Appropriate Toys (more autonomy, less assistance needed)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
6. Examine Your Own Expectations⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
7. Keep Play Close By (off the kitchen for example)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
8. Provide Toys That's Easily Accessible (#trofast is my favorite)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
9. Treat Play As a Birthright - Not a Chore or Punishment⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
10. Don't Praise, Comment or Evaluate⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Do you have tips for encouraging independent play? I would love to hear in the comments below!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Read more on the blog post + video⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
#independentplay #playspace #presentplay #playislearning #kidsplay #kidsplaying #strewpro #habatoys #playideasforkids

Add a Comment


12 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.

    2. The ads are here so YOU don’t have to pay for this FREE advice, which you can take or leave. Last I checked, it takes more than righteous indignation to feed and raise a healthy kid. Hold on to your coins, let Avital makes hers.

  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

  5. I think I would choose to label this article the only 10 types/categories of toys you need; but overall I think this is an excellent list that can be easily adapted to the age of a child(ren) and their gender(s) and I agree with almost everything you have written here. Kids don’t need millions of toys to be happy, they just need a selection of well thought out toys that will stimulate them and improve their development. Looking at this list my daughter has at least one or more items that fit into each category. (and compared to many families, we don’t have millions of toys). A big well done for this thoughtful list.

  6. In desperation, I googled “what toys do kids really need” & this came up as a suggested article. I’d never heard of “Toy Minimalism,” but my husband and I are excited about the idea! I talked with family members who are early childhood experts & they agreed with this list, which I found encouraging. We have toys in pretty much every category, minus art supplies and dress up (our cat made a real mess of that box, bleh!!) The great outdoors where my toddlers get most of their sensory toys, and I’m hoping to have more time for crafts once the clutter is cleared. I do find it interesting that musical instruments don’t fall under a category. One of my favorite toys as a little kid was the Fisher Price “Crazy Combo Horn Set” which I plan on getting off eBay once my girls are a little older since there’s nothing similar being made currently. We have a keyboard, some recorders, & will soon be getting the Hape Percussion board that I’m hoping will replace the box of msl drumming things. In my family at least, music is so important, so this seems like a big oversight on an otherwise great list

  7. Looking around at my house and trying to figure out how to pare down things. I like this list. But I also see a few things immediately that my kids play with basically every day – a doctor kit, kitchen and food stuff, and a tool kit. I don’t think I want to get rid of those because they get so much usage.
    Otherwise…. we did get caught up in buying some of the toy kits, like house/car/play sets for peppa pig, paw patrol, and pj masks. I have tried to store those away to see if I could get rid of them, but they are immediately missed and asked for repeatedly until I bring them back out. So while I get tired of having them around…. I don’t know if I should get rid of those. Or try to slim them down to maybe just 1 or 2 sets, instead of 3.

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