Wednesday, November 21, 2012

America has 3.1% of the world's children and 40% of the world's toys!

America has 3.1% of the world's children and 40% of the world's toys.  That's a pretty sobering statistic!  Here's a few more.

- Each year America spends $18.8 billion dollars on toys for children.
- Only $0.4 billion of that $18.8 billion is spent on educational toys.
- Barbie Doll manufacturing alone is a $2.5 billion dollar a year industry.
- Clothes for Barbie and friends have consumed more than 105 million yards of fabric, making Mattel on of the world's largest apparel manufacturers.
- If all Barbies and kin sold since 1959 were lined up head-to-toe, they would circle the planet more than seven times.
- Each new child in a household leads to a 30% increase in the family's inventory of possessions during the preschool years alone.

*All above statistics come from the book Life At Home In The Twenty-first Century and are for the mid-2000's.

More than ever before toys are now spilling out of children's regular play areas (bedroom and den) and have made their way into the areas of the home that were intended for more adult activities (living room and kitchen).  All this clutter stresses out the whole family.  Bedroom floors are rarely seen and parents simply don't have the time to deal with the material aftermath of kid's activities.

Before making your list and checking it twice, try to come up with some clutter-free ideas for the children in your life.  Like some of these:

- tickets for a family bowling night
- movie passes
- tickets to the zoo
- tickets to an amusement park
- dance lessons
- musical instrument lessons
- cooking lessons
- if you live far away, make a tape of yourself reading them their favourite books
- a home-made coupon for a day of sledding (or we have tube slides in our area)
- ski passes with ski rental
- concert tickets
- sporting event tickets

The point is to do something with them rather than just buy more stuff that will add to the clutter.  Give them an experience rather than something physical.

Here is another idea that I love to help children ask for less stuff from Santa.  Provide them with this pre-printed list and have them fill in the blanks.

Do you have any other clutter-free gift ideas for children?

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