How Much Do Our Children Really Need?

How Much Do Our Children Really Need?

I am the first to admit, I am all for an easy life, especially when it comes to parenting. I am also a marketers dream, for myself yes, but for my children also. If I see something they might like chances are they’ll have it. It might not be until a birthday or Christmas but they will have it. What is more if we only have one of whatever new item is occupying them and they fight over it, which they will, we’ll buy another so they can one each, see.

Two Pink tills - how much do our children really need?

It’s ridiculous really.

They have too much.

They have more toys than Symths. They have electric cars, Little Tykes cars, scooters, scuttle bugs, bouncy castles, slides, tents and an actual two-story flaming house at the bottom of the garden. They are 2 and 3. Do they really need all this? Really?

As part of the many blogs I read, I enjoy following the adventures of the Topsy Turvey Tribe. They really do have actual adventures but they also share the way they live. How they live off of the land, how they have sold a lot of their ‘things’ because really they don’t NEED them. I read posts like this and I nod along in total agreement. I must seem like the biggest hypocrite, as a quick look at my Instagram feed or even my blog and you will see I like all the things, and I do. Need and necessity do enter my mind though. Often. Despite this, my house is homage to toy shops and cosmetic counters everywhere.

When in Portugal recently the children had very few toys. Ok during the first two weeks in the Martinhal they has a communal trampoline, camper van, water fountains and sand pit, which they loved. Oh quick let’s get a trampoline in the garden…. see there I go again. You know the minute they have it they won’t want it, though. Anyway. Other than these things in the communal ‘hang out’ they had an €8 pram each, a dolly and George Pig (which we brought with us) a few books and some stickers, oh and iPads. Our third week they had even less. The two prams, a bucket each and a shit load of outside space.

Z and T playing with toy prams

They played for hours.

With the help of Nanny Pat they had a make shift house outside, where we put two sun bed loungers. They pretended to go to school, they walked up and down the drive, round the outside of the house ‘doing the shopping’, they played house, cooked dinner, pretended to sleep. They had races. They played with water and buckets for actual hours, finding it hilarious. They had genuine fun, largely outside of the house.

The pretend house outside the villa

So how much do our children really need?

Since being home they have been reunited with their hoards of plastic crap. The toy kitchen has been a clear favourite. The endless amounts of Peppa Pig parahenalia, puzzles and play dough comes a close second, but as before there are 4 boxes of junk collected over the years that remains untouched and unplayed with.

I have watched them get real enjoyment out of some toys, like said kitchen, they cook me all sorts of inedible meals that I duly pretend to eat and make yummy noises. I am happy for them to have those toys and consider them to be worth every over priced penny I spent on them. I am not suggesting they should have nothing.


I do think I have learnt a real lesson. They really don’t need all the things. It is nice for them and I will always treat them but I will be selective. They won’t have just because. The living room, toys boxes and bedrooms  won’t be overrun with useless tat I don’t believe they need or will use again after 5 minutes.

They were perfectly happy, perhaps more so actually, running around the garden, up and down the (gated) driveway, playing with their buckets of water and cheap prams. So no I don’t believe they need oceans of stuff, just a €1.2million villa with extensive grounds that dwarf a 4×4 and come complete with swimming pool.

I’ll get right on that then.

How much do our children really need? Have you ever thought about all the toys that fill your house? How much you have spent on them to watch them sit there unplayed with? It has made me wonder How much do our children really need? When we were away recently mine had very little and here is how we got on

Mum Muddling Through


  1. October 17, 2017 / 9:21 pm

    Ha ha! I was about to myself comment that having usable outside space 9+ months of the year is a huge advantage to the minimalistic back to nature/throw out the plastics lifestyle… well that or a love of the rain and dull grey skies which clearly we are both lacking! J had toys (a trunkies worth and a small shelf worth in the flat) which was obviously less than at home but he wanted to play every single day with his toys and we took them up to the pool but he still loved them. He does play creatively as your two did and in fact he plays very creatively with his toys – Duplo is incredible for creativity and storylines. I love being outside on adventures but I wouldn’t give up the toys!

  2. October 19, 2017 / 7:14 am

    Just realising this in the run uo to christmas I am being filled with the fear if yet more plastic junk arriving! Great post #coolmumclub

  3. October 19, 2017 / 8:31 am

    I like to *think* that I’m selective about toys and such, especially now my boys are older (12 and 10), but looking to last week with Max’s 10th birthday… erm, yeah I may have gone slightly overboard. You only turn ten once, right?! 😉 #ablogginggoodtime

  4. October 19, 2017 / 11:29 am

    I love this post. Most kids (mine included) have more plastic crap than they know what to do with. With Christmas approaching, I want to make sure that I don’t get my daughter loads of gifts fot the hell of it, but instead just choose a few things that she’ll really enjoy and get a lot of use out of. #ablogginggoodtime

  5. October 19, 2017 / 12:08 pm

    great post! I have always been a minimalist and if it doesn’t get used it gets thrown but I do always find myself buying more stuff for the little terror. This year with christmas coming up a trip to disneyland paris and having to buy a new big boy bed I have found myself holding back more. #ablogginggoodtime

  6. October 19, 2017 / 1:03 pm

    I definitely think less is more and that our children need more of the emotional and less of the material. When my daughter started school I chucked out a whole load of her stuff (naughty mummy) and she didn’t even notice which I think proves a point. Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely xoxo

  7. October 19, 2017 / 7:19 pm

    I’m so funny about toys. Our first was bought tons and tons of crap until one day I spoke to the main culprit (my mum!) and just kindly pointed out how much she was wasting her money on plastic rubbish that breaks. Wanna hear something crazy (possibly mean) we’ve never bought Wills a toy… He’s had a few bought for him by others, but every single toy that we already owned is totally cool for both kids. They each play with almost everything they have, and even then there are toys I want to get rid of! I find ‘zoned’ storage works in their room – all the vehicles in one place, all the dolls in one place, all the figurines/animals etc, all the musical toys together. #ablogginggoodtime

  8. October 19, 2017 / 9:24 pm

    We have worked really hard to keep our kids’ toys to a minimum so that they need to think creatively and use their imaginations. However my eldest is approaching 7 and it is getting harder and harder to stem the tide of plastic. She wants the same toys as her friends, she sees the adverts on TV, she understands the concept of toy shops. I think it’s hard to keep fighting against that and we will need to relax the rules a little but I still think less is more #ablogginggoodtime

  9. October 21, 2017 / 2:01 am

    I think at the age yours are we tend to have every plastic toy possible. As they grow that stuff dwindles and you actually fondly remember those days of endless toys. I think the boxes of stuff that never get played with can go though. I do sometimes think about the amount of money wasted and that annoys me a bit, plus landfill AHHHHHH but we gave most things to the kinder where our children used to go. The fact is they don’t need all that stuff, but sometimes we can’t help ourselves. Thank you for linking up #ablogginggoodtime

  10. October 23, 2017 / 9:27 pm

    I think it can be hard to resist the temptation to buy all the things that we think our children will like. I regularly go through my girls’ toys and bag up the things they don’t play with regularly. Sometimes it goes straight to the charity shop; other times I will store it in the garage for a little while to see if they miss it. They rarely notice. When we’re at my sister’s house and there are only a few toys to play with, they will play for ages with them. It does make you realise that less is more and that children really don’t need that many toys to have fun. #ablogginggoodtime