Minimalist with 4 Kids – A List of Every Toy We Kept!
A quick disclaimer that all 4 of our kids are 5 and under. I think as kids get older, their stuff just naturally gets smaller and your minimalism journey will be easier in some ways. While our kids are still really little and still have plenty of toys, we’ve cut the amount of possessions we have by about 70%.
I’m going to preface this list by saying a few things:
- We homeschool, so we have quite a few toys that I consider educational for hands-on learning.
- Both homeschool and regular toys are in toy rotation. We have only about 10% of our toys out at any given time.
- We might not be as minimalist as your favorite minimalist blogger or vlogger on YouTube, heck we’re not even as minimalist as we want to be when we’re finished purging. BUT we’re far more minimalist than any other family I know. Please no hate criticizing how many things we still own. My husband doesn’t need more fuel for his minimalist fire. I need to keep some things, people.
Okay, without further ado, here is our list of toys that made the cut and why we chose to keep them.
This one goes at the top for a reason.
We used to have two huge bins of Mega Bloks. The problem with those is they don’t stick together very well, so my boys would get upset that their creations fell apart so easily when their sisters bumped them.
When my best friend bought these for my kids, they were excited, but I didn’t understand just how awesome these are until our 4th was born and we traveled full time for my husband’s job for a while.
For over a month, the only toy that came along with us and made the trek in and out of multiple hotel rooms were the Duplo blocks.
Now with a 5.5 year old, 4 year old, 2 year old, and 13 month old, the Duplo blocks are still the most played with toy we own.
This is another toy that all of the kids love playing with.
What I love most about them is how they stick together when you gather them all into a pile to drop them back into the bin we keep them in.
I can clean up about 200 magnet tiles in 10 seconds.
This one almost didn’t make the cut. Our boys lost interest and we became a much more Montessori family, involving our kids in all of our day to day activities over encouraging them to play on their own while we cook – for example.
Our two year old took an interest in pretending to cook one day, her brothers joined in, and now this kitchen provides hours of fun for all 4 of them.
The thing I like most about it is that while it’s big, it’s actually really self-contained.
I cut down about 90% of our play food and play pots and pans. Everything we kept, fits nicely in the refrigerator.
My 2 year old cleans it up on her own without my asking (most of the time).
That makes it a winner in my book.
We have this set of pots and pans.
My parents bought them this utensil set.
It looks like a lot, but it all fits in the kitchen and it’s plenty of food for all 4 kids to play with and not fight too much.
Color Wonder Markers and Coloring Books
If you have young kids, you must know about these.
My son is almost 6 and still happily colors with these when his sisters are awake.
I recently went through and got rid of all of the dried out ones and full or almost full coloring books.
Now our all-age-friendly art supplies fit into one small drawer.
Our kids can access these on their own and don’t need my permission to use them.
This is a great solution for kids that love to do arts and crafts but mom or dad just don’t have the bandwidth right now for glue and tape and glitter and paint…enter Color Wonder. Nuff said.
We have owned this climber for 3 years and have loved it the entire time.
We kept it inside until we moved into a house about half the size of our previous one.
My suggestion, if you buy something like this, is to keep it inside if at all possible.
Our kids loved it on rainy days and helped them get the wiggles out right before dinner almost every night.
The only issue I have with this one is it’s now sun-faded and will almost definitely not make the cut when we move again.
I’ll definitely be replacing it with a new one to keep inside, and I’m confident the next one will last forever.
We have this kit of building straws with connectors.
If my husband were writing this post, he’d tell you there’s a special spot reserved in hell for creators of toys with thousands of pieces like this.
I, however, have witnessed the joy on my boys’ faces as they create magnificent structures that are absolutely massive with these things.
You can’t use Duplo to make a house you can actually stand in, or a space ship you can play inside of (unless you have about a zillion sets of Duplo), but with just one set of these, two or three kids can build huge, kid-sized structures they can play with all day.
The only issue with these is the tiny connector pieces. Our boys now have to be careful about playing with these when their youngest sister is around.
Other than that, these are a huge win in my book!
Listen, I’m a budget-conscious person. If my parents didn’t buy these for my kids, we wouldn’t own them.
If it were up to my kids, these are the toys they’d play with all day, every day.
There’s no question.
I mean we could be real minimalists and get rid of every single toy but keep these things and my kids wouldn’t notice.
Yes, my kids are spoiled. No, my car doesn’t fit in the garage.
My oldest loves to build puzzles, so we have quite a few.
They took up so much room in the boxes they came in, so I bought these 2.5 gallon bags, cut the image off of the box, and they now all fit perfectly in a plastic tote.
A few favorites are this rainforest one, this dinosaur one, and this ocean one.
Now for the educational toys.
In our language arts bin right now are:
This word building toy
This ABC puzzle for the younger kids
In our STEM bin:
Learning Resources Gears
Safari Ltd Egypt
Safari Ltd Baby Animals
Animal Figurines like these
In our math bin:
These ocean counters
This stacking tower
This number puzzle
DIY number rods like these
This monkey scale
This travel shape sorter
This animal shape sorter
Even though this may look like a ton of toys, we donated bags and bags of things we hardly ever played with.
All of these toys now fit into about 6 plastic totes like these and the toys are rotated as our kids lose interest or show an interest in something else.
A quick note to parents that struggle to get rid of toys:
If you’re truly struggling with minimizing toys and are plagued with guilt like I was, I highly encourage you to implement a toy rotation system.
It makes it almost impossible to ignore the fact that so many of your kids toys simply don’t get played with.
What I finally needed to realize for myself is that our kids play with their toys so much longer when there are less of them.
The best advice I received was from my 4 year old. When we were going through all of the toys, I had every single toy dumped into one room.
I mean every toy from the garage, anything we had stored under beds or in drawers, every toy from every single room was in one spot.
My 4 year old tripped over a bunch of toys on his way out of the room to tell me that he had nothing to play with.
That was such a turning point in my attachment to my kids’ toys.
How could he trip over hundreds or thousands of dollars (yes, seriously) worth of toys and still complain about being bored and having no toys?
It’s because we go blind to the things that we see every day.
As humans, we’re drawn to order. Our brains literally function better when our environment is less cluttered and everything has a place.
We try to block out the madness and struggle to focus on things when we’re surrounded by chaos.
If you’re really struggling, take minimalism for a test drive like I did. I’m convinced it’ll change your mind.