As much as we would like to bash American Girl Dolls and their generic stereotypical middle class smiles, we kind of love them. As a business they have a lot of things right... one thing that we have noticed (beyond their awesome historically connected stories and girl affirming image) is that their toys are NOT cheap. They are plastic, mass produced, China made dolls that sell as much as their Etsy, handmade counterparts. Why is this good? Well, we don't see them in Goodwill. We don't see them at yard sales, in thrift stores, in (horror of all horrors) garbage bins waiting for collection. American Girl Dolls are cherished. Why? Probably because Mom, or Dad, or Grandma paid a fortune for them.
Let's think about this. If all toys were as 'valuable' as AG dolls, there would be lots of great consequences. Parents would push their children to play with those toys, to get their money's worth. Those toys would become beloved by their children because the children would naturally love the toys they were being encouraged to play with with and they would keep track of their 'friends' more readily, without as much prompting. Toys would not be simply bought as spur of the moment, shut your kid up, purchases. Landfills would see far less plastic. There would be far fewer toys per capita and houses would become far less cluttered.
Children need toys to develop in a natural and healthy way... both mentally and physically. Doll play, manipulatives, building toys, sports related toys- all of the different types of play that these toys encourage- make up the world of children and help facilitate their growth.
Don't get rid of toys all together. Just be more deliberate in your choices. Have a vision for your child's environment!
* Here are some things that we have read that, though not talking about this specific topic, go hand in hand with the Philosophy.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
and also this guy, Mr. Money Mustache :)
Mr. Money Mustache Blog