December 29, 2010

Family Harmony Tip #4: Conquering the TOO MANY TOYS Problem

This strategy earns its place as a Family Harmony Tip since it eases pocket-book pain and reduces tidy-up time. I originally published this article in my city’s parenting paper in the What Works for Us section.

This Christmas season, Santa bought 3 gifts for Cricket. She resisted buying dozens of toys and made a list before she went to her toyshop.  We all know that toddlers tire of their toys very quickly and that our homes can be taken over by all that there is to keep them occupied. We have 3 ways to keep from buying too many new toys, as well as sparking her creativity with her old toys.  

We follow the 3 "R's: 
Relocate, Rotate and Recycle

1.  Relocate:
By simply relocating a toy to a new location, Cricket will play with it more often. For example, she was not very interested in her puzzles when they were in the playroom (also known as our living room!) until I moved them to her bedroom.  Now she wants to do puzzles everyday.  Also, I gave the playroom an "extreme makeover" by switching the location of the three main items: play kitchen, bookcase and dollhouse. Now she uses these items more often!

2.  Rotate:
Every month, I do a toy and book sweep and put a bunch into storage. Then I bring back some old ones. For example, Cricket’s cookie jar shape sorter was a great fine-motor toy when she was a year old. It recently made a return engagement after a long hiatus. Now she uses it to practice naming colors and shapes.

3.  Recycle:
Every 6 months or so, a group of moms and I get together to swap toys. It saves so much time and money!

How do you conquer the toy many toys problem?


Anonymous said...

Great idea's and even wrapping "old" toy's will bring joy. Auntie Anne

Anonymous said...

When the kids were old enough to appreciate the meaning, we started going through gently used toys and donating them. Good life lesson for the kids.

Bernadette McGeney Smith said...

All wonderful ideas!! Where were you when my boys were younger? LOL