Book birthday presents—and the toy question


I love reading, and when my kids are invited to a birthday party, I love the thought of sharing one of our favorite stories with the birthday kid instead of adding another plastic toy to the mountain of gifts.

We have Amazon Prime, so we have two-day shipping from Amazon. This morning, Tiger Lily and I picked out a gift for her little friend without leaving the house (it's The Great Pie Robbery by Richard Scarry). Her last friend received Peasant Pig and the Terrible Dragon—Richard Scarry has won both times because Tiger Lily loves his books and because they're very affordable on Amazon.

As a parent, I'm starting to become disillusioned with toys. I've gotten rid of at least half of ours in the past year, and the kids haven't missed them at all. They rarely play with 95% of their toys: they just dump them out of the plastic bins they're stored in so they can use the bins in their play.

I don't mind my kids getting the occasional well-thought-out toy gift: they usually love getting toys, and they'll usually play with them quite a bit the first week—then just the five percent of extra-special toys will be loved for a long time, while the others are forgotten.

What about you? What sorts of gifts do you like to see your children get? Do your kids play with toys more than mine do?


  1. Diana,
    I have to speak of grandkids [it has been too long since I had children at home,ha]. I so agree with you.. Toys are such a waste..They love to play with old stuff, make stuff , etc. I will give you an example; Kenny made a really nice play center in our yard for the kids [ended up being very expensive to build], He also
    hung an old tire from a rope on a tree[tire swing]. The kids have played with the play center, but nothing like the tire swing, [it is about worn out]
    When they come to visit, I will pull a box of old strings, fabrics, old cards, beads,etc. just junk. They will sit for hours,
    building/making things.. They love it.
    Love your post, always so thought provoking.

  2. I'd love it if Annalise just got books. She is a reading machine. Imaginative toys are good for age 2-4 but for 5-10, books are better. Annalise asked my parents for art supplies as well. We're finally running out, and she does art a lot!

  3. I'm right there with you. I love books and it's so fun to give them as gifts! Toys are so overrated. We just spend our lives picking them up, organizing them, pleading with our children to care for them, etc. I finally realized my kids are only capable of taking care of a small amount of toys or they become overwhelmed. I have a bit of variety with the toys, but keep them up on a high shelf now and they have to ask for me to get something down.

    We like building toys like Duplo Legos and K-Nex. But really, my kids will turn ANYTHING into a toy and play with it for hours. I give them all kinds of stuff that I was just going to throw away, like packing materials and they play with them for ages.

  4. I am with you 100% on the toy issue. I really hate the clutter it brings in our home and the kids don't play with them much. In fact rachels latest thing is to use all of her and katies old school papers and play school. I really have a hard time with birthdays and christmas...not knowing what to give them and having all the gifts from the grandparents who are one of the biggest culprits. :)