We have way too many toys and I’m on the verge of purge. Before having kids, I promised myself before every Christmas and birthday, I would donate a handful of toys in the interest of giving back before getting. To date, we have done this and even a little bit more. Still, our home is OVERRUN with clutter. I perpetually tidy, and still the better part of each day our home looks like our cupboards and our toy bins have thrown up EVERYWHERE. Here are some strategies on minimizing and organizing toys as well as research on what makes for the best ones.
Techniques That Have Helped
- I took large zip lock bags and smaller storage bags and categorized toys. As of now, the kids can’t open the bags without help. If they would like one open, they have to clean up what is already out.
- I rotate toys – Whatever is being played with less, I put in our closets for a few weeks.
- We donate.
- We only buy toys on holidays, or special occasions.
- We have several self-contained toys such as a giant Mr. Potato Head, Noah’s Arc, and a Fire Station.
Despite my best efforts, more often than not, our home looks like this:
On top of it all, I have the hardest time parting with my kids toys that were gifts. I can’t help but think of the generosity and thoughtfulness that went into prices ain’t the gift.
Recently, however, I revisited this resource from ZERO TO THREE on what makes good toys. My plan is to go through what we presently have and apply these general rules to minimize our toys.
What Makes The Best Toys and What Should GO
- Choose toys that can be used in a variety of ways. Choose toys that are “open-ended” in the sense that your child can play many different ways with them… These objects can spark your child’s imagination and help him develop problem-solving and logical thinking skills. Examples: Blocks, interlocking blocks, nesting blocks or cups, and toys for sand and water play
- Look for toys that will grow with your child. Examples: Plastic toy animals and action figures, toddler-friendly dollhouses, trains and dump trucks (and other vehicles), stuffed animals and dolls
- Select toys that encourage exploration and problem-solving. Play gives children the chance to practice new skills over and over again. Examples: Puzzles, shape sorters, blocks, nesting blocks or cups, art materials like clay, paint, crayons or play-dough.
Toys to avoid or donate:
The toys for toddlers are ablaze with buttons, levers, lights, music, etc. are often marketed as ‘developmental’ because the toy has so many different functions. As a general rule of thumb, the more a toy does, the less your child has to do. If your child can sit and watch the toy ‘perform,’ then it is likely more entertaining than educational… The most useful toys are those that require the most action on the part of a young child. The more children have to use their minds and bodies to make something work, the more they learn.
The entire source is well worth the read! Now I have some work to do! 🙂
How have you kept kid or toddler toy mess at bay? Please share your tips! I need all the advice I can get 🙂