Summer Without Toys
Parenting & Family

7 Reasons You Need a Summer Without Toys

Why Kids Don’t Need As Many Toys This Summer and Why Parents Should Put Them Away

As summer rolls around, our household goes through a shift. It seems overnight the kids stop playing inside as much and therefore play less with their inside toys. I haven’t outright said anything to the kids yet about this, but I’m pretty sure they feel it, too. They have equated summertime with outdoor play and reading to fill their free time and I’m not mad about that in the least. So I started thinking…could we do a summer without toys?

Summer Without Toys

Before I get ahead of myself, I should tell you what our household looks like. My son wakes up around 6:30 am every morning and goes right to reading. He loves reading and is also doing a summer reading challenge so whenever there is downtime, he is usually reading. The twins wake up at 7:00 am and with that, we are out the door for our morning walk. Every morning we get outside as soon as all the kids are awake. This is the expectation I set for the day.

Throughout the day we have minimal structured activities unless we are going to the library or a grandparent’s house. We often go to the park every day, spend most of the day in the backyard playing or in the water, and spend evenings after dinner riding bikes or climbing trees with neighbors. When we do have large chunks of time indoors, the kids are usually reading or drawing. The playroom has gone almost untouched this summer. The few toys that have remained in the living room include magnetic tiles and some small world play, but they rarely get pulled out. Where more toys used to be is now home to our ever-growing book collection. And again, I’m not mad about that in the least!

So what I’ve noticed is the notion that children need a constant influx of toys to stay occupied is not only misleading but can also detract from more enriching experiences. This summer, consider giving up on toys and explore benefits of a toy-free season. Read on for 7 reasons you need a summer without toys!

Encouraging Creativity and Imagination

One of the primary benefits of reducing the number of toys is the boost it gives to a child’s creativity and imagination. When children have fewer toys to choose from, they are more likely to invent new games and activities using what they have. This can lead to more imaginative play, where a stick can become a magic wand, or a cardboard box can turn into a spaceship. Limiting toys encourages kids to use their creativity to entertain themselves, fostering a valuable skill that will benefit them throughout their lives. Some of our favorite open-ended toys include play silks, rainbow stackers, and magnetic tiles – all of which can transform into whatever their imagination’s desire.

Summer Without Toys

Enhancing Problem-Solving Skills

With fewer toys at their disposal, children are compelled to find new ways to engage with their environment. This necessity promotes problem-solving skills as they figure out how to make the most of what they have. Whether it’s building a fort from household items or creating an outdoor adventure in the backyard, children learn to think critically and adapt to different situations. These problem-solving skills are essential for their cognitive development and future success.

I’ll never forget when my son traded one of his favorite Pokémon cards and later regretted it, getting very upset and wanting it back. After a few moments of tears, he exclaimed, “I know! I’ll make my own!” And proceeded to draw a replica of the card, cut it out, and put it safely away in his Pokémon binder.

Promoting Physical Activity

A toy-free summer encourages kids to get outside and be active. Instead of sitting indoors with electronic gadgets or plastic playthings, children can explore nature, run, climb, and engage in physical activities that promote health and well-being. Outdoor play is crucial for developing motor skills, improving physical fitness, and reducing the risk of childhood obesity. Additionally, spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress and improve mood, benefiting children’s mental health.

What about outdoor toys? I’ll tell you what my kids use: a few scoopers and cups for the pool and mud kitchen, chalk to create their artwork outside, some pool noodles we turned into light sabers, and water blasters for when they’re getting rowdy!

Strengthening Social Skills

When children have fewer toys, they are more likely to seek out social interactions with peers, siblings, and family members. This can lead to the development of important social skills such as sharing, cooperation, and communication. Group play encourages children to work together, negotiate roles, and resolve conflicts, all of which are vital for building healthy relationships.

I joke that my kids are part of the neighborhood bike gang. After dinner, all the neighborhood kids tend to emerge on their bikes and scooters and play up and down our street. There are about 10 – 12 regulars that are still young enough to stick close by. While most of them are second graders and older, even my 5 year olds play with them nicely!

Summer Without Toys

Reducing Clutter and Promoting Responsibility

A home with fewer toys is less cluttered and more organized, creating a more peaceful environment for both children and parents. When there are too many toys, children can become overwhelmed and struggle to take care of their belongings. This minimalist approach can also make cleanup time easier and less stressful for everyone involved.

My household definitely sees the benefits of clutter reduction during summer! But, if you’re like my kids, stacks of books tend to multiply. I will take that over stepping on legos 🙂

Fostering Appreciation and Gratitude

When children have a constant stream of new toys, they may begin to take their possessions for granted and lose appreciation for what they have. By putting away toys for the summer, parents can help their children develop a sense of gratitude. Children learn to cherish their belongings and understand that happiness doesn’t come from material possessions but from experiences and relationships. This lesson in gratitude is invaluable and can lead to a more content and fulfilled outlook on life.

Creating Lasting Memories

Finally, a toy-free summer can create lasting memories that toys simply cannot provide. Family outings, nature hikes, beach trips, and spontaneous adventures are experiences that children will remember for a lifetime. These activities not only strengthen family bonds but also provide a sense of adventure and excitement that toys cannot match. By focusing on experiences rather than possessions, parents can give their children the gift of cherished memories and a summer well spent.

How do you want your kids to remember this summer? That’s the first question I asked myself when planning our schedules for the summer. And how to YOU want to remember this summer? That question is just as important!

7 Reasons You Need A Summer Without Toys

Giving up on toys for the summer can have numerous benefits for children and families. From fostering creativity and problem-solving skills to promoting physical activity and gratitude, a toy-free summer offers opportunities for growth and meaningful experiences. So, this summer, consider putting away the toys and embracing the adventures that await. Your children will thank you for it!

Will you give it a try? Let me know!

the Peaceful Burrow

For more summer reads, check out these posts!

How to Survive Summer Break with Kids
How to Travel as a Minimalist Family – Ebook
How to Slow Down with a 5-Finger Affirmation Practice
Declutter These 10 Toys Now
How to Simplify Summer Frustrations
How to Take a Siesta: Implementing Rest Time This Summer

Summer Ebook Bundle

Check out my Summer Ebook Bundle!

Family Traveling Tips


Traveling this summer? You’ll find great tips in my Minimalist Family Travels ebook!


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