Episode 033: Kelli McCarty – Toys with Intent

Kelli McCarty is a Marriage and Family Therapist and has worked as a School Counselor in both the San Francisco/Bay area and in Houston. Her experience includes working in a Waldorf school, Charter Schools, public schools and a top private college prep school.  In addition to schools, Kelli also has experience in play therapy, individual and family therapy, and teaching social emotional curriculum.

Kelli has worked in schools and the mental health field for over ten years and has recently launched her new business, Toys with Intent; a site dedicated to providing social and emotional toys, products, and resources to children and teens.  Her mission is to help parents raise children to be emotionally intelligent and to also help parents be intentional regarding the toys and products they bring in to their homes.

Kelli lives in Southern California with her husband and two children and you can find her on Facebook and Instagram.


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From This Episode:

In December, I created a page for finding non-toy gift ideas, to reduce clutter, and also create a more intentional list of ideas for gifts. I love what Kelli is doing with Toys With Intent to help families find resources that are actually useful for our children’s play time! The gifts we give, the toys we bring into our home are more than just stuff or clutter. If they aren’t explicitly for the purpose of helping our kids develop, they could actually be harmful to their development. Kelli and I talk about some things that may be harmful, and some things that are better for encouraging soft skills, like empathy and emotional intelligence for our kids. Her site has lists of toys, books, and games that teach specific skills.

Family culture is about our norms and default behaviors. It can be so easy to just fall into patterns that leave us coasting without realizing what we are bringing into our homes. Before we get anything, it’s important to pause and mindfully evaluate whether the things we consume actually serve our family and the values that we hold. Seek trusted advice to make sure that what you are getting is appropriate and useful. Keep in mind that, like being intentional about our family culture, being intentional about our gifts and toys may seem somewhat counter-cultural and sometimes hard to understand. Kelli’s site is a great resource to help our families and friends understand what we want to accomplish when we tell them that we don’t want gifts, and activities in our home that do not serve our family.


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About the author, Jodi

I live in Richmond, Virginia with my husband, Michael, and our four young kids. We homeschool, and work remotely, so I guess we may take this on the road some day! I have a bachelor's degree from George Mason University in Health Promotion Studies, but I attended five different universities before finally finishing while I was expecting my third baby! I'm a returned missionary from the Hawaii Honolulu Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm sort of a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none, but I do enjoy reading personal development and parenting books, finding new ways to enjoy exercising, and learning more about being an entrepreneur.

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