Children playing together

Photo: © 2009 Jupiterimages Corporation

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More Stuff Isn't More Fun
One surefire way to guarantee a stuff problem is to rear a child who is only stimulated by new purchases. Help your child learn to explore and create new uses for familiar toys. Educators talk about the benefits of open-ended toys, toys like building blocks that children can play with in infinite ways (as opposed to those annoying electronic toys where you push six buttons and you're done). I'm a fan of open-ended toys because children return to them again and again without getting bored. Be innovative. One of the best gifts I ever gave my young nephews was a stack of different-size cardboard boxes and some rolls of masking tape. Equipped with a box cutter, I followed their directions for what to cut where and helped them build spaceships, suits of armor, and even a castle. Bored children want new toys. New toys mean clutter. So look for toys that your child can explore in different ways for months, even years.


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