Toys are readily available today and it’s estimated that around $1 billion is spent in Australia annually on retail toy sales. The need to keep buying toys for children can stems from parents needing to fulfil a personal need, feelings of guilt or just wanting the ‘perceived best’ for the child.
Obviously this overconsumption is having an impact on the environment. If 2.5 million Aussies are going out once o month to buy toys (average of $80), imagine what’s happening worldwide. Excess toys are finding their way to charity shops and landfill.
Research tells us children have a happier and healthier play time with fewer toys. The more toys you give them, the less creative they may feel. When buying toys, make conscious purchases, going for quality over quantity and being aware of the environmental impact of your toy purchase.
Decluttering a child’s room is the first step to creative kids. If there is anything you are attached to sentimentally, consider creating an interesting art piece to display the item or take a photo. Some great information and hints can be found here on how to encourage creativity, appreciation and gratitude.
Encourage your child/ren to choose toys to donate to favourite charity shops. Choose toys that aren’t broken. Ask children to wash toys their toys before taking them to the charity shop. A nice way to say farewell.
Store all excess toys and bring them out occasionally. Rotation is about not having all the toys out all the time. When you bring them out, children feel like they’re new again.
If toys are too destroyed or damaged to donate, make new things from old. Create fun things for the garden such as concrete teddy bears, funky doll stepping stones or garden pots. You’ll find more garden ideas here. If you want to make stepping stones, check out this post. A great way to repurpose little toys and broken cups.
How to make a concrete teddy bear
If you have too many old teddy bears and not sure what to do with them, make concrete teddy bear pots for the garden. You can make 2 types of concrete teddy bears, a solid one or one that holds plants.
If you want one that holds plants you will need to make holes in the teddy bear. Warning: Some children may get distressed if you take scissors to a teddy bear. Make holes without children present.
- Latex gloves
- Old plastic bucket
- Quick set concrete
- A teddy or two
Make holes with a pair of scissors in the teddy bear for positioning of the plants. I made holes on the top of the head and the belly area.
Make a slurry of quick set concrete in a bucket. To make a slurry, mix the concrete to the directions on the packet then add a little more water so it is slightly thinner like a pancake batter. This helps the concrete stick to the teddy.
With gloves on, dip the teddy into the concrete slurry. Give the teddy a good rub. Pull the teddy out and let the excess drip off. Smooth over the holes creating a concave depression, this will be where you place the soil and position the plants. Now position the teddy the way you want it to set. Wait about 24 hours and repeat the process. This will ensure that the teddy is strong and weatherproofed. Reposition the teddy to dry.
Once the teddy has hardened you can paint eyes to soften the look. Also plant succulents in to holes and dress with feathers, shells and ribbons. Have fun creating a new mini garden for your old Ted.