When Less is More

This aphorism was popularized by Architect Mies van der Rohe who perfected the minimalist aesthetic design.  This phrase has been used to mean breaking down the components into its simplest form to create the modernist look as opposed to the embellished characteristics of baroque and romanticism.

Although I use this as part of my design aesthetic, I figured that I may have used this unknowingly in parenting. That by providing my kids with less of their wants, I have gained more.

My goal for the past few years has been to be selective with what we buy.  This is mainly because of our need to budget and partly because we have a tiny house.  I would like to get rid of clutter but for a family with two kids, it is really a struggle.  So I limit their clothes, books, and their toys which occupy our storage spaces.

However, Julia loves to go to the toy store and buy those little animal figures especially the rabbits that cost about 150 pesos each.  I sometimes give in but mostly I don’t because it’s expensive.  What I did was, I gave her another option and allowed her to use polymer clay.  This is a type of clay that hardens like plastic when baked in the oven.  With this, she can mold her character and make as many as she wants for as low as 100 pesos for a small block of clay.

She was so into it that sometimes when I wake up, she’s in my craft area making her little figures.  I never expected how creative she can be with her sculptures.  At first, there were a lot of mistakes but eventually she made intricate creations that left me in awe like this.

Here are some of her latest creations that she keeps in her small box together with her other miniatures:

A bunny and a puppy on a stone made with translucent clay.
The human versions of her rainbow colored stuffed toys. This looks like Julia and Jansen hmn…
Of course, we have green tea in regular and glow in the dark versions.
The “human version” of her mini lps rabbits

By not having enough budget for toys and not giving in to buying things, we never would have discovered the magic of customizing with clay. Not only does it look way cuter than the commercial version but these have added value because it’s her original creations.   And to make these, she needs creativity, imagination, and development of fine motor skills that can’t be bought in the toy store.


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