Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Plastic Elimination Campaign: Plastic Toy Gift Substitutes?

A child can't have too many beautiful good books. Leastaways, that's what I feel (my husband has begged to differ). So whenever relatives or friends wanted to give our children toys, and I had a feeling they would send us plastic toys, I would suggest that they give us good and beautiful books. This can be a wonderful strategy for reducing gift-toy clutter and it's worked for us!
But of course, not all children's books are created equal, and some toy-spinoff books (ie: Barbie, Transformers) are just as as obnoxious as the toys themselves (and create the need in the child for the featured toy). Plus there are some children's books that are simply stupid.
So what to do...? You can suggest titles. And I had another idea from Sandra Miesel: she observed that the best children's illustrators out there won't illustrate junk. So if the pictures are breathtakingly beautiful, chances are the story is up to par.
And for older kids, you can always recommend your relatives buy something out of the Bethlehem Books catalog, which specializes in timeless and beautiful literature for children (and yes, subtle plug, I am one of their authors!)


Christine said...

I have BEGGED my family to buy books for my children instead of more toys. It works about half the time. Unfortunately, when it doesn't work, it can be really bad. When my sister asked me what to get Big Girl for Christmas, I kept insisting that a gift card for a bookstore would be perfect. Really. But instead, she got her (another) Barbie. Now, I grew up with Barbies, and I don't have a problem with her, per se, but the child has too many already, and I can SERIOUSLY do without the Barbie with the POOPING DOG.

I told her I was working on my revenge.

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea.

On another note, I have made a concious decision to not purchase the children any frivolous "gifts" for their birthdays, but instead I am making them GORGEOUS alphabet scrapbooks with family & friends as the featured characters. (K= Kenny, etc) In addition to that we are purchasing one large gift for the kids: a swingset. Years of enjoyment and backyard fun to be had, I am sure. I wish we could afford one of those fancy, esthetically pleasing wood ones, but I am pretty sure it is not in the budget. Besides, which I wouldn't want to settle for the cheapest one which has only 2 swings and one slide, with hardly any other features, I'd rather save our money for a better one down the road.
Anyways, I thought of you today when we made that decision and thought I'd share. ;)

scmom said...

What a great opportunity to tell you that I purchased "Angel in the Waters" for my husband's nephew, who will become a big brother for the first time in May. His mom told me that he takes it to bed with him every night, with a request for the hall light on so he can look at it while he falls asleep. I was thrilled to hear we'd made a great selection!

Reg said...

I always suggest arts and crafts items. My kids love creating things and these gifts are "consumable", meaning they don't linger for years in the toy box. We can never have enough arts supplies!

regina doman said...

Thanks everyone for sharing! And scmom, thanks for buying my book. I am glad your nephew likes it so much!