I’ve confiscated some toys and books from the church nursery.
Last summer, I got a calling to work in the nursery. We had more books and toys than we could store neatly in the cabinets, so I thinned out our holdings.
[Photo by Nick Amoscato via Creative Commons]
The first books that went were the ones with more than ten words on a page. Kids 18 months to 3 years old primarily look at the pictures, so I saved the picture books and sparsely narrated board books. But I took the rest to Goodwill.
I also got rid of any book that had licensed characters. I don’t feel as though church should encourage kids to ask their parents for licensed clothes, lunch boxes, cups, etc. I’m not spending my energy teaching them how to be consumers of licensed products.
And I threw away all the toy guns.
I don’t feel it’s inappropriate to give children the opportunity to pretend maim and injure each other, especially at church. I spend enough time asking them, “Keep your hands to yourself.” It seems to work against the principle of personal space and kindness to give them toy guns.
I also removed a big red hammer and its affiliated plastic workbench with oversized plastic nails. The kids were hammering each other more than they were hammering the plastic nails into the bench.
At this point, I haven’t had the nursery leader of the other ward ask me, “What’s going on?” I do have a few of the confiscated toys stored in my home. I figure if no one asks me about them in a year, I can safely donate them to Goodwill.
Current and former nursery leaders: What are your criteria for appropriate and inappropriate nursery toys?