The Toy Free Grocery Cart {Why We Don’t Buy Toys}

Our grocery trips, or any trip to the store for that matter, are completely toy free. No toys, almost ever.

imageLet me start by saying that I never set out to be the mom that didn’t buy toys.  I didn’t make a vow to myself pre-motherhood.  I just simply didn’t see a need.  I find that I raise my kids based on my own childhood.  I think about the times that stood out most to me, the things that truly left an impact.  When I’m staring off into space thinking about those days, there aren’t many toys involved in my thoughts, just lots and lots of happy times.  Lots of laughter, LOTS of time spent together.

Our kids have toys and we do actually buy toys for them (we really do!).  In fact, there are two times of the year that toys find their way into the cart: Christmas and on birthdays.  That’s it. Those “filler” toys in-between are in the grocery carts of grandparents, and it works for us.  Kids are happy, grandparents are happy, everyone is happy!

So, what’s so great about this whole toy free thing???  A few things, actually!  Here’s why we don’t buy toys…

  • My kids don’t have meltdowns over a toy free trip to the store.  A trip to the grocery store for us doesn’t come with promise of a new toy or even a piece of candy.  We go to the grocery store for just that, groceries. And they know this.  They don’t even ask.  We can parade up and down the toy aisle, look at all the fun stuff and there isn’t one question of “…can I have?…”.
  • Their rooms are quite enjoyable to be in.  They have a little nook in their closet that houses most of their toys and one or two out in the open, but they’re pretty toy free otherwise.  To me, it makes their room so cozy. I really REALLY enjoy being in there.  It’s definitely easy on the eyes and not over stimulating for them. Also, there aren’t a ton of toys all over to distract their little minds while they are drifting off to sleep.
  • Christmas is a breeze!  A tiny toy collection makes for a pretty descent Christmas list.  With our huge family, Santa and birthdays in January and February, a stout list is sooo beneficial to this mamma.  Those trips down the toy aisle come in handy most of the time.  I usually whip my phone out, take a snap of the toy(s) they’re interested in and voila, instant Christmas list.  No worry of  “..ugh, they already have that.  And that.  Oh dang, that too”
  • It’s easy on the budget!  Bottom line is that toys on every shopping trip adds up and we as a family would rather spend it on other things. I’ll get to that part in a bit.
  • I find our kids are more appreciative when they do get a toy.  Instead of a kid that expects it, they are genuinely thankful for a toy on their birthday or a random surprise from maw maw.


Ok, so now for the fun part! How exactly do we treat and reward our kids?  That answer is easy!  We “spoil” them with experiences.  Instead of the candy bar in the checkout line we might stop by the snoball stand on the way home and spend the evening soaking up every last bit of sunshine.  Or rather than a toy for each during this week’s grocery trip, we will take a trip to the zoo.

While I think that toys are a part of every kid’s childhood, I feel that family time is something that shouldn’t be skipped out on.  My goal with this whole “toy free thing” is for my boys to remember more than possessions, more than material things from these magical days of theirs.  When they grow up and have children of their own, I want so badly for them to remember all those trips to the zoo and all those late summer nights with snoballs dripping down their little hands. I want them to have memories of time together instead of things.

Do you try to limit toys as a reward or treat?

Cassie is a hustle-from-home mom to four boys, Blaison, Kade, Kellan and Matty. She worked as a payroll administrator for nine years up until the arrival of their third son, Kellan. After realizing the costs of daycare for three little ones, and the sudden growth in her business, Cassie Treuil Photography, she left her job to focus on building her business and raising her four boys. In between shuffling kids to carpool and football practice, she can be found planning events for RSMB and editing the sweetest little faces of BR. On the weekends, catch her between the football field and Highland Road Park cheering on her Catholic High Bear. She loves her family, an occasional juice cleanse, weekends on the water and her tiny town of Port Allen.


  1. Can you come to store with me next time and teach me your ways? I try so hard but they just keep asking. I don’t buy “toys” and more often than not I cave with candy or a grocery item of their choice.

  2. I bought my children toys, but they never got when I was grocery shopping, they did not throw a fit of any kind, because the would have got a swat on the bottom, they never acted up going any where and people enjoyed having my children come too, so its not the toys for say that causes problems but the way they are raised, a child is going to do something for however long you are willing to count to them, I said 2 and you better not make me say 3, because 1, was when I asked you to do something to began with , I was a very no nonsense mother, but I had to be because I worked out of the house and it was the time the school came in and told parents that if they got a swat on the butt it was abuse, and in fact that was not true at all, and I know this because I worked on the government employees teeth and you can spank your children and I said spank not abuse, if you want to see what happens when people don’t discipline there children, then just open the front door and walk down the street and take a look around, my children even with toys played out side as much as I did, no I did not have a lot of toys, as a matter of fact I got one toy every year at Christmas and that was it, so I made sure my children had things and that included clothes to wear, I have 3 adult boys and they are all wonderful cooks and great fathers, there children are raised in the Lord, but there is discipline in there homes too. Children need this and they cry out for it, and you know how many children think there parents did not love them because they did not think they cared for them, and then my children trying to fix all the kids in the world, would bring kids home to me, and bottom line after talking with parents, I ended up taking in three extra teens, and let me tell you, I had some angry boys when they were older I let them go to a consort on the condition they did not miss school, well I got a call saying the boys missed so they were going to give them in school detention, so I told them no you are not, they missed a day of school so they will be in there Saturday to make it up. those boys were so mad at me, and I still laugh about that today, I love children and its a sham that so many parents don’t care enough about there children to get them out in front of the tv, that is one reason I did not buy electronic games for them tell they were in there teens, because the imagination is a terrible thing to waste. so it matters not if they have toys, but how they are raised. GOD bless


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here