The Buyerarchy of Needs was designed by artist Sarah Lazarovic and is aimed at the fashion industry. While absorbing this message and the commentary that surrounds it, I thought the same applies to toys and materials. The consumption of toys can be just as fast and toxic as fashion.
BUY - Buy new as a last option, buy quality, buy toys and materials that will grow with your child and that will last. Buy sustainably made toys and materials and think of the toy's end of life, can it be recycled, can it be passed on? When we buy new buy thoughtfully and with intention.
MAKE - This may including buying handmade? Can we make the materials we need?
THRIFT - Or donate. While items are collecting dust in our cupboard they could be enjoyed by another family. Thrifting is often low-cost and an excellent way to recycle.
SWAP/BORROW - This includes lending! Think circular economy. The same day a neighbour gave us a balance bike, I was able to give another neighbour our FunPod. Be prepared to ask, offer and accept. Borrowing is fantastic for toys and materials that your child may only use for a short period of time which is relevant particularly with Montessori materials in the infant stages. Toy libraries (and actual libraries for books) can be fantastic resources too. For larger items it may be worth borrowing or even trying it out at someone's house to see how your child responds to it or if it suits, before buying.
USE WHAT YOU HAVE - Try to find alternative uses for what you have, can you repurpose or repair something to make it useful again?
I've also adapted this from the clothing industry because perhaps we could all do with a reminder? "Buy Toys, Not Too Many, Mostly Quality."