An 8-Year Old’s Guide to Buying Good Toys

The following is a guest post by my 8-year old son, Salem Becker.

Buying an 8-year old a toy can be tough. It can be a difficult choice for them because there is a lot of new stuff in the toy stores everyday. A kid’s mind changes a lot. We like something one month but something different another month. If you don’t give away toys you don’t need or want, you’ll end up with too many toys.

And having too many toys can be a little bit of a problem. Because…

  • It takes too long to pick them up.
  • You forget where some of them are.
  • You might not have enough room to keep them all.
  • If you have too many toys, you might not have space to play with them.

If you need help finding good toys, here are some things you might like…

  1. Don’t buy really cheap toys. Because they just might break right away like the things that I get with tickets at Pizza Putt. Those toys usually break right away.
  2. Don’t always buy small toys. Because it’s really easy to lose some.
  3. Only buy things you really want. Just because your friends have it doesn’t mean you really want it.
  4. Only buy things you are interested in. For example, if you are going to get a couple of cars, you should get the cars that interest you. If you don’t like tractors, then you shouldn’t get a tractor-car.
  5. Buy toys that you can play with other people. If you don’t like playing by yourself, get toys that you can play with other people. If you are an only child, you can always play with your parents.
  6. You should probably buy some video game that you would like. Because if you are by yourself, you can play it by yourself. And if you are having a play date with other people at your house, you can play it with them. But only play it for a certain time – not too much.

Having too many toys is a problem, isn’t it? I hope you find this helpful.

I hope as well that you found his view of the world to be both enjoyable and helpful. And I’m sure he would warmly welcome any comments you might have…

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    Hi Salem!
    Congratulations for your first post, it’s really interesting, specially point 2: I had never thought about that, but it’s a very good reason not to buy lots of small toys :)
    I would like to ask you something: have you ever bought toys to share with your friends (this probably may apply manly to videogames)?
    For example: you and your friend both want toys A and B, so you buy toy A and your friend buy toy B. You play with toy A then lend it to your friend to play with. Is it something that you would do? I remember having been a very possessive and jealous child, so I don’t know if it could have worked for me…
    Keep writing and being minimalist :)

  2. says

    Salem is a smart kid.It is so awesome to hear someone so young who is already on such a great path. I know when I was his age I was already cleaning my sister’s room and telling her she needed to put things into piles that would be kept, donated or thrown away. It is really wonderful that you are instilling your beliefs in your child I think it would be much easier to transition to adulthood if children could take more responsibility for their things at a younger age. :)

  3. Clare says

    Hi Salem, really enjoyed reading your first blog post! I especially like your thoughts about buying toys that can be played with other people – I will keep this in mind next time I am toy shopping :)

    I would be interested in hearing how you find living as a minimalist – do you find that you donate your toys when you are no longer interested in them? Or do you keep them just in case you might want to play with them again one day? I just finished clearing out my parents home here in London, and the attic was FULL of mine and my brothers old toys that we kept ‘just in case’, but obviously we never used them again! They are now happily sitting at the charity shop waiting for someone to give them a new home!

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

  4. says

    Thank you, Salem! You did a wonderful job. I am going to have my children read this post so they can have a better understanding on why too many toys are not always a good thing.

  5. says

    What a well-put post! :)

    Great to see you’re on the same page as your daddy. The tips you’ve posted were awesome. I especially like the one that says ‘buy toys that can be played with other people’!

    Greetings from the Netherlands :)

  6. says

    Salem, thanks for a great post! I’m going to have my 8 year old read it too, because you definitely had some great words of wisdom! Hope you enjoyed the snow day too (we are here in Vermont just a few minutes from you)!

    Dr. Laura

  7. says

    What a great post. Thanks, Salem, for sharing your thoughts and views with us and thanks to your dad for having you as a guest. I just became a dad about four months ago and this is very helpful as I want to make sure my daughter has the right kinds and amount of toys, but most of all, the right attitude toward them. Cheers!

  8. Shannon says

    Great post, Salem! I would love to hear more from you about being a minimalist and how it has affected you growing up. I’m constantly worrying that when my tykes are your age, they will be ostracized because our family is not typical. I want them to embrace our lifestyle and be proud of it – much like you are! What a role model you are!

  9. Rebecca says

    What a wonderful post, Salem! I saw this through Man vs. Debt, and thouroughly enjoyed visiting your site. I plan on sending it home for my husband to read to my 7-year-old this morning. We have this discussion frequently, and I know she will like to hear another kid’s opinion on the matter. Keep up the writing–you have a talent!

  10. says

    great post, salem.

    we like to buy toys that work together to make something bigger — e.g., wooden blocks and wooden train set pieces when our sons were younger and legos now that they are older. then you have enough to play with all your friends plus make something really big and complex.

  11. Crystal says

    Great job! I really enjoyed your post! I will have my 7 year old daughter read this. I’m sure she will enjoy it too, since we have been learning how to sort out toys we don’t play with anymore and give them to other children who are in need of toys.

  12. says

    Dear Salem,

    This very thoughtful post is going to generate a lot of response. While other children will understand what you are saying, it is the adults, like the moms and dads who will be thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

    Sometimes we think that cheap toys are better because we can get more of them, or sometimes we buy something we aren’t that interested in, like a tractor-car, instead of what we really want because we don’t want to wait to find the right thing, or save more money to afford it.

    You have some really great ideas and I think by posting them on your Dad’s blog, you reminded all of us that children are smart and have so much to offer the world.

    Thanks for working on a snow day,

  13. Julie Mangham says

    Well put, Salem!
    We have 4 kids in our family, but I have a feeling you would have a great time playing with Laytham (9) and Tate (7). We have moved a lot, and each move has been either to or from the country of Jordan. Laytham and Tate have given up their toys over and over again. And once they lost most of their toys and books in a flood. I have noticed that it has made them appreciate the toys they were able to keep and most importantly, understand that toys aren’t what is most important. The last time we moved they sold many of their toys in order to buy new toys when they returned to America. However, we have been here for for almost 7 months and they still haven’t spent their money. Your blog will be an encouragement to them, because I think they are feeling the same way.
    By the way, I am sure you know that your name means “peace” in Arabic, which is the language we speak to our friends in Jordan.
    High five!

    • erin says

      It is wonderful that you have taught your children to appreciate what they have, especially after tragedy such as a flood. I know that for a lot of people, it is tragedies like a flood or fire that makes them become hoarders! They can end up wanting to keep everything for fear that it will one day just disappear. I know this from experience. Great job!!

  14. says


    GREAT POST. Like many others, I will have my daughters read this. It is great reading about toys from a child’s perspective, and you bring up many good points that many of us have never thought of.

    I can’t wait to read your next post. smile

  15. Brenda Allingham says

    Hi Salem! I enjoyed what you wrote about having too many toys and many of the things that you mentioned were exactly the confirmation (I know big word!) that I needed to hear from a boy your age! Thank you and God bless you as you learn to most effectively live for God and share what he has given to you.

  16. David Kavich says

    Salem, your post is simply wonderful!! However you did it (we writers all need proofreaders and editors to help us), your work is certainly worth publishing — and I am a publisher! I really enjoyed it!

  17. gloria says

    Salem, Love your comment that said, “just because your friends have it doesn’t really mean you want it!” Awesome observation and consideration for whether or not to buy something! You are a very smart 8 yr old!!

  18. says

    Thank you for this guest post, Salem, it provides a lot of insights. I especially like “If you have too many toys, you might not have space to play with them.” This was a serious problem for me when I was eight, and continued to be a problem until a couple of years ago. It’s a very important thing to remember.

    Tell your dad that I am still hoping he will write a book about being a good parent. If he doesn’t, I will just have to wait until you write it someday!

  19. says

    I’m glad to see that dad has taught you both good values and good writing skills. This is a very interesting and useful post.

    And we know about winter storms here in North Texas. We’re in the middle of one now.


  20. says

    Fantastic article! So insightful! This is not only a helpful toy buying guide (which I definitely always need help with) but it can be applied to so many aspects of our lives – kids and adults. Great work! Start your own blog! I’ll be one of your biggest fans!

  21. says

    It’s tough for kid’s nowadays to embrace the minimalist way with all the stuff they have to choose from (wow, I feel so old, I’m 22 and I’m saying “kids nowadays).


  22. says

    Salem, Thank you for your wonderful ideas. I am teaching my 5 year old these very lessons. Some of them I have to remind myself!!

    Our goal for this week is to fill a few bins for donation. Then organize the rest!

    I look forward to reading more from you.


  23. says

    Salem – Nice job! Great way to spend a snow day. Hopefully since you wrote your dad’s post, you got to spend more time with him during his day off and your snow day. Like you, I think it is important to only have the toys that you really are going to enjoy. Love your point about getting toys you can do with other people.

    As I have traveled to different places in the world were kids have few toys, I have noticed that often the kids with fewer toys are the most happy. They tend to be more creative in playing with what they have, and don’t seem to mind not having the latest toy.

    Keep up the great work!

  24. Marty McAuliff says

    Excellent blogging!
    #3 is the best reason:
    “Just because your friends have it doesn’t mean you really want it.”
    Every kid should understand this.
    I didn’t when I was a kid and ended up “copying” my friends sometimes and ended up with a bunch of junk I didn’t really like to play with.
    (Grown ups ought to learn this rule too, but its even harder for them so its good you know this stuff early.) Good job!

  25. LD says

    Very impressed with your writing skills. I am going to read your thoughts to my sons who are 5 1/2 and 7 years old. I am working hard to get them to realize the truths that you seem to already know.


  26. Rita C says

    This was a terrific post. I read it to my seven year old son. He has too many toys, not enough space to play with all of them, and not enough room to store everything. We have a room dedicated to mostly his stuff. We ended up donating half his toys (with his consent) to a wonderful organization that makes toys available to kids at Christmas time so that they get something. My son felt good about having less stuff to clean up, and I think he felt good about giving to kids that don’t have as much as he does.

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read your blog post to my son.

  27. says

    Thank you Salem! My five year old Kieran would also agreed with your wise and knowing advise. If all kids caught on so early, then we might be in a different space with adults having so much stuff.

    Also a side note that it is incredible to see in my travels throughout the world what creativity kids have to make so toys out of so little. Most classic is a wheel on a string toy that goes round and round when they run, or using bottles or jugs to make toy cars or sleds. Very fun to see what you can do with so little!

  28. says

    Your kid must be one of the smartest eight year old’s in existence. Especially “just because your friend has something doesn’t mean you want it.” EXACTLY. I wish my fellow high school students would take that to heart.

  29. Grandma Patty and Grandpa Roy says

    Salem….this is just GREAT. You had a lot of good thoughts and comments. Just as we expected from a super grandson!! Keep up the good work, we hope to see you post again. All our love……………

  30. says

    I completely agree.In my de cluttering job I get to see thousands of rands woth of toys thrown away ( in my case I always make sure they get passed on to charity) as there is generally little or no value in them. But more sadly, there is no invested joy and love from the children into that toy. The idea is to create your own “toy Story” where in the end, when your children go to collage, they will have a few loved toys/memories that you can save for the next generation

  31. Trent B says

    Good idea, Salem. I sometimes lose toys as well. Like you said, I have plastic toys and one of them broke. You are right. I should have less toys. YAYYEAH =D
    -TRENT, 7 years old

  32. Maude says


    I really enjoyed your post. You are a very insightful young man. I think you should start your own blog. I would definitely read it!

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