Lisa's Homemaking Corner

Lisa's Homemaking Corner

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Toddler toys: minimize the clutter to maximize the fun!

I have to sigh as I go through the kids' toys...again.  Yikes, there's just too many!  Instead of asking, "Okay, what don't they like to play with?" I find myself having to ask instead, "What can I get rid of that they won't care about being gone?"  Because inevitably, they "like" to play with practically everything!  Each of my kids have their favorites, but are the plethora of toys that get played with once in a blue moon worth keeping?  Unless they're special to you or your child (and that's why they don't get played with), I say NO!  As a mother to three boys, I think I can say, it's just not worth the stress.

Here are my plans over the next week.  Take special note of which toys are out and being played with the most often.  I'm going to try and do this in my head ;) although I should probably write this can make the choice for yourself.  Gradually, take those toys getting left in the dust and stick them in a 5 gallon bin, somewhere where the kids won't be able to get to them.  Just one or two toys (or a handful) here and there.  Once it's full, keep it for a couple of weeks.

Now, the kids may notice toys are missing, but it they can't even really remember what's gone, obviously it needs to go.  Don't ask them if they want xyz back, because of course you will remind them of what's missing!  Just tell them you are going through the toys because they have too many, or something like that.  :)  If they whine, explain to them that if they can't even remember what's missing, it must not have been very special, and now they can have more fun with their favorite toys.  If a child requests a specific thing, tell them you will set it aside, but that you're not welcoming it back quite yet.  If they're anything like my oldest, he remembers everything that was there, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's special to him, he's just resisting the change.  LOL!  If the same child repeats the request a few times, then bring the toy back, but make sure to watch how often they play with it.  If after a week, you've seen him barely touch it, point that out to him and ask him if he REALLY enjoys the toy.  I may even go so far as to ask if it's fair to the toy to be in our home not being played with, when it can live in another home, where it's enjoyed and played with often.  But, really, that's up to you.  ;)

Once two weeks have gone by and the bin is still full, get it out of the house.  Donate or sell, just don't bring it back to the "keep" collection!  Every time a new toy comes in, find one that can leave in it's place.  Either that, or plan to do the above session once or twice a year.

Now, I was thinking about what kind of toys to keep, and I am actually kind of picky in this regards.  If I can help it, I like to have AS LITTLE TOYS AS POSSIBLE THAT REQUIRE BATTERIES.  I mean that with all my heart.  All you who are parents, I do not need to explain this one, it's pretty self explanatory.  :)  I also LOVE good quality wooden toys and puzzles, such as Melissa & Doug products.

Thinking about the toys I like to have around made me want to browse toddler toys, and here, I'll feature a few I think are cool.

My middle son totally wants one of these.  I LOVE pillow pets (instant lovey!), and thought it was so cool they had a moose, since my middle son's nickname is Moose.  :)

No puzzle pieces to get lost!  They're all attached.  :)

Especially fun for preschoolers.  :)  Introduces colors, shapes, and sorting.  Okay, seriously, anything Melissa & Doug, I think, would be cool.  :D  They make really good quality products!  Just do a search on Amazon for Melissa & Doug and you will find all kinds of amazing things.

Okay, and this one is TOTALLY ridiculous, but all in fun, you've gotta admit it would be SO fun to be the kid who got to ride in this!  LOL!  And, it has cup holders, which, as my hubby will tell you, is always a plus for me.  ;)


  1. I think kids needs less toys and more personal attention from us. I have two kids that are five and two who care little for a small mountain of toys they possess but love to spend time with my wife and I.

  2. Brad, I totally agree! Less toys also equal less upkeep and stress for Mom and Dad, which leads to more free time to play! :)