Toy Boxes Full of Random Toys Can Spark Creative Play
In early education classrooms and even in many families of young children’s homes, there has been a push to keep things organized. For instance the toy dinosaurs go in the bucket labeled for dinosaurs and put on the shelf labeled for dinosaurs. Trains go into the bucket labeled for trains and put in the shelf labeled for trains and so on. What you don’t see as often as you might have in the past, is a toy box filled with random toys. While there are benefits to teaching children to organize, there are also benefits to having a random box of toys.
At my job, alumni families often donate their children’s old toys when they have aged out of them. These toys are often random and not even in the best shape but we value them anyway. Those toys can go into a random toy box along with toys in the classroom that are getting worn or missing a complete set.
When children play with these random toys, interesting things happen. For instance, I recently observed a student take some old donated My Little Ponies and ride them around the rug on an old donated half broken Tonka construction vehicles. ( see pictures below) She then dropped off each pony on top of pieces of an old tea party game. When I asked her what she was doing, she told me the trucks were giving the ponies a ride to a party. She used her imagination to turn these old random toys into a new scenario and she broke some gender stereotypes while doing so by mixing the stereotypically boy dominated and the stereotypically girl dominated ponies.