Almost 4yo bored of all toys and fixated on playing same fecking game ALL THE TIME!

(18 Posts)
BotBotticelli Sat 08-Oct-16 21:56:46

Ds1 will be 4 in December. He seems thoroughly fed up of pretty much all of his toys. Has stopped playing with his Wooden trainset/cars/vehicles.

Shows no interest in Lego or any other building stuff.

He has a little bit of playmobil but isn't interested in that. He has a pirate ship/knights castle and batman house (Imaginext type stuff) that he got for last Xmas which he rarely touches.

I cannot get him to hold a pen/paintbrush or show any interest in mark making whatsoever. So rarely does he hold a pen or crayon, I don't even know if he is left or right handed 😨

ALL he wants to do his play imaginary games with his "beasts" - a rag tag collection of toy dinosaurs, spiders, rats, sharks and dragons. The games always degenerate into smashing two beasts together fighting and he takes great delight in describing how they're sucking out each others' eyeballs, chewing off their legs etc 😱

The worst thing is: he seems incapable of playing these games on his own for longer than about 4 mins and follows me round the house moaning and beggging "plaaaay wiTh me mummeeee".

It is driving me insane: both the limited nature of his interests and the fact he is incapable of playing by himself.

Can anyone suggest ways to encourage him to broaden his play activities? And to play alone? He has a 1yo brother who barely gets a look in and just wonders around chewing a toy car whilst I am embroiled in endless games of "Dino fights" on the floor 😰

And should I be worried about the violence/bloodthirsty nature of his games?? He is not a violent boy (aside from what I think is some normal jealous roughness with his baby bro that we always punish immediately with time outs) but he really does seem obsessed with the darker side of life - always wants to be the baddie when we are playing, wants to "kill" all my dinosaurs etc.

To balance this all out, I feel I should say he is a bright, lively boy who is really fascinated with the world and enjoys lots of activities out of the house: swimming, scooting round park, feeding ducks, train rides, visiting museums, parks, play centres etc.

It's just IN the house he is a nightmare!!!

YuckYuckEwwww Sat 08-Oct-16 22:01:11

nowt wrong with that, but tedious for you

can you mix it up a bit (for your own sake mainly :-D ) by doing a montessori set up with the "beasts" - theme them, do a jungle set up or an under water set up. Do ordering and patterns (DS can you line them up from biggest to smallest while I get on with MNing for 5 mins can you sort them into scary ones and friendly ones and ones that are a bit of both - all good maths stuff

and use this opportunity to get him to cooperate in having a big clear out of his other stuff, again from montessori, the less toys are out the more interested they are in playing with them

YuckYuckEwwww Sat 08-Oct-16 22:01:22

nowt wrong with that, but tedious for you

can you mix it up a bit (for your own sake mainly :-D ) by doing a montessori set up with the "beasts" - theme them, do a jungle set up or an under water set up. Do ordering and patterns (DS can you line them up from biggest to smallest while I get on with MNing for 5 mins can you sort them into scary ones and friendly ones and ones that are a bit of both - all good maths stuff

and use this opportunity to get him to cooperate in having a big clear out of his other stuff, again from montessori, the less toys are out the more interested they are in playing with them

YuckYuckEwwww Sat 08-Oct-16 22:01:29

nowt wrong with that, but tedious for you

can you mix it up a bit (for your own sake mainly :-D ) by doing a montessori set up with the "beasts" - theme them, do a jungle set up or an under water set up. Do ordering and patterns (DS can you line them up from biggest to smallest while I get on with MNing for 5 mins can you sort them into scary ones and friendly ones and ones that are a bit of both - all good maths stuff



and use this opportunity to get him to cooperate in having a big clear out of his other stuff, again from montessori, the less toys are out the more interested they are in playing with them

YuckYuckEwwww Sat 08-Oct-16 22:01:30

nowt wrong with that, but tedious for you

can you mix it up a bit (for your own sake mainly :-D ) by doing a montessori set up with the "beasts" - theme them, do a jungle set up or an under water set up. Do ordering and patterns (DS can you line them up from biggest to smallest while I get on with MNing for 5 mins can you sort them into scary ones and friendly ones and ones that are a bit of both - all good maths stuff

and use this opportunity to get him to cooperate in having a big clear out of his other stuff, again from montessori, the less toys are out the more interested they are in playing with them

YuckYuckEwwww Sat 08-Oct-16 22:01:31

nowt wrong with that, but tedious for you

can you mix it up a bit (for your own sake mainly :-D ) by doing a montessori set up with the "beasts" - theme them, do a jungle set up or an under water set up. Do ordering and patterns (DS can you line them up from biggest to smallest while I get on with MNing for 5 mins can you sort them into scary ones and friendly ones and ones that are a bit of both - all good maths stuff


and use this opportunity to get him to cooperate in having a big clear out of his other stuff, again from montessori, the less toys are out the more interested they are in playing with them

YuckYuckEwwww Sat 08-Oct-16 22:01:32

nowt wrong with that, but tedious for you

can you mix it up a bit (for your own sake mainly :-D ) by doing a montessori set up with the "beasts" - theme them, do a jungle set up or an under water set up. Do ordering and patterns (DS can you line them up from biggest to smallest while I get on with MNing for 5 mins can you sort them into scary ones and friendly ones and ones that are a bit of both - all good maths stuff


and use this opportunity to get him to cooperate in having a big clear out of his other stuff, again from montessori, the less toys are out the more interested they are in playing with them

YuckYuckEwwww Sat 08-Oct-16 22:01:34

nowt wrong with that, but tedious for you

can you mix it up a bit (for your own sake mainly :-D ) by doing a montessori set up with the "beasts" - theme them, do a jungle set up or an under water set up. Do ordering and patterns (DS can you line them up from biggest to smallest while I get on with MNing for 5 mins can you sort them into scary ones and friendly ones and ones that are a bit of both - all good maths stuff

and use this opportunity to get him to cooperate in having a big clear out of his other stuff, again from montessori, the less toys are out the more interested they are in playing with them

Ellieboolou27 Sat 08-Oct-16 22:07:37

My 4 year old dd is obsessed with role playing Anna & elsa, all the fucking time, I actually am a bit relieved to read your post as I thought she was abnormal grin

I wouldn't worry about the bloodthirsty / violent playing as long as his not actually hurting himself or others, I think it's their way of venting their frustrations, anger and control.
My dd is so bossy and bullying with her Anna & elsa dolls, I got so worried about it that I asked the health visitor, she said it was fine as kids express emotions through play.
I read a great book called playful parenting which has helped me understand her bloody annoying obsessional playing

Ellieboolou27 Sat 08-Oct-16 22:09:18

Oh and dd starting displaying this bullying playing when her sister arrived too, so we'll maybe the sibling rivalry coming out

Yika Sat 08-Oct-16 22:27:43

I find what you describe perfectly normal. My DD is a bit older and has gone through phases - she's actually gone back now to toys that she'd ignored/discarded for a while (dolls) - now everyday is a series of convoluted scenarios involving all the dolls and one in particular, where a year ago all she did was drawing and colouring for hours on end. (So I wouldn't necessarily get rid of the other toys yet.) My DD didn't play alone until between 4 and 5, and even then her capacity to entertain herself alone varies over time.

igotnotimeforthis Sat 08-Oct-16 22:37:31

I have a nearly 4yo DS and i would find the behaviour OP describes worrying.
Specially the violent part of it. I couldn't imagine where would a not even 4yo come up with such ideas?
Did it start recently ?
Did it coincide with another life event (starting nursery, moving, new friend etc)? What type of tv programs does he watch?
I would be trying to find a reason and trying to divert his attention somehow.
Is he interested in new toys? If you see toys in a shop does he show interest?

SilverHoney Sat 08-Oct-16 22:49:22

Perfectly normal. Do you ever rotate his toys? Put things away for a few weeks, when you get them out they'll seem new to him and maybe spark interest again.

YY to building on his interest. Designing his own beasts in play dough or my cutting up and sticking together pictures of animals. Making scenery for the beast battles. Build the beast dens out of sticks or mud.

Next year he'll be obsessed with trains. The year after with Toy Story. Then Minecraft. It will pass.

BotBotticelli Sat 08-Oct-16 22:54:10

Thanks Yika, Ellie and YuckYuck, r assuring to hear other 3yo are obsessional with their play and incapable of playing alone!

Igotnotimeforthis - he mostly watches CBeebies but has also see a lot of Disney/Pixar type films. The lion king, little mermaid, Minions etc. He has recently started to show an interest in watching what I would call older boys cartoons (transformers etc) which I have tentatively allowed from time to time. But he is mostly keen on octonaits and mr bloom!

But when he does watch Disney films it's always the darker stuff he latches onto - so he loves the stuff with uncle scar and the hyenas in the lion king for example, and loves the scary bits with Ursula in the little mermaid.

With regard to the biting/scratching/killing play with his dinosaur and beast toys, these ideas I think have come from (a) library books about dinosaurs which he makes me read to him in great numbers (and which do talk about velociraptor's killing techniques and T Rex's massive jaws from crunching meat etc), and (b) nature programmes on National Geographic that we sometimes watch which inevitably show polar bears eating seals etc.

He can tell you all about Carnivores and herbivores and knows which dinos ate meat and which were veggies. He is fascinated by bugs and animals and the natural world - which inevitably involved talking about who eats who. I have always answered his questions honestly and encouraged this sort of curiosity but perhaps I shouldn't have??

Also the above makes it sound like we watch a lot of telly! - we don't! Maybe 1 hour-90 mins per day max, and much less on the 4 days per week he is at nursery.

Orsono Sun 09-Oct-16 00:45:42

The obsession with bone crunching and leg chewing and so on sounds normal to me. My 5-year-old is the same, loves dinosaurs, sharks, monsters and the ensuing deadly fights between them, but is otherwise a gentle, kind child! I think encouraging his natural curiosity is exactly the right thing to do.

I would try to reduce the amount of time you're on the floor playing with him. Have you tried braving it out and putting up with the moaning and begging for longer? I reckon he will fall back on his own resources eventually. Maybe set aside a regular time of day when he gets your undivided attention and gets to choose what you both play, but apart from that time you show an interest in what he's doing but don't get down on the floor with him.

Believeitornot Sun 09-Oct-16 07:13:09

Sounds normal. How much time do you play? My ds and dd ask to be played with still and they're 7&4. However they're also capable and do play either together or solo so it's just that they want my attention which is fine.

Re not playing with playmobil etc - don't chuck that stuff. My ds has come back to his other toys as he has cycles of interest.

Giving him more stuff won't give you more time to yourself. He might be lonely and want attention. He's 3!

Yika Sun 09-Oct-16 19:42:21

I agree with Orsono that if you just shut your ears to the 'play with me' requests he will eventually get into his own groove - in my experience though it can take a few days.

YuckYuckEwwww Sun 09-Oct-16 19:56:35

agressive role play with toys doesn't necessarily translate to being an agrgressive person, I've read the opposite in fact: that kids who role play tha stuff with toys are trying to work through and figure out complex emotions and it's a process that leads to emotional intelligence

That's part of the point of fairy tales isn't it, exploring the less pleasant emotions in a "safe" fantasy way

Ursula and scar are the best though I'm with him on that! The baddies always have the best songs! Just look at jungle book: King of the Jungle is the most popular song by far!

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