Do you need to simplify your toy room? Recently we decided it was time to purge our toys. (See this post for the reason.) Going through this process, meant we had to make some decisions; should we get rid of everything, should we keep everything the kids still play with, should we let the kids decide?
It was a challenge and to be honest, we are not completely done yet, but we are well on our way.
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In order to declutter your toy room, you have to first think about what kinds of toys you want to have.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to figure out what kinds of toys are worth keeping.
- What is the longevity of the toy, durability and age? How long is this toy going to keep its appeal and keep working? If the answer is, not long, than it is probably not worth keeping. Choose toys that will withstand lots of play as well as grow with your child.
- How long will my child like this toy? Your child may beg you for a toy that they simply can’t live without and then forget about it within a week. These kinds of toys are not worth having for the brief moments of joy. Teach your children that it is important to be selective about what you purchase and that they don’t have to have every single thing they see that they want. Often if you wait until a birthday or a few weeks, your child will have moved onto something else, which means the toy was not as important as expressed.
- What will the toy do for my child? Is there any value in the toy for your child? Keep toys that are beneficial to your child’s creativity, imagination, and learning.
- How often does my child play with the toy? If the toys sits on the shelf most of the time it is probably safe to give it a new home. If it is a toy you think would benefit your child once other toys have disappeared, then put it away for a little while and bring it out again when it will feel new to your child.
- Does it make my child think or entertain my child? Choose toys that don’t do all the work. If the toy simply entertains your child with lights, sounds, or gadgets, then replace it with one that makes your child do the work.
Other questions that might be holding you back;
- How much money did the toy cost? I know. I look at some things and think about the amount of money that was spent on the item and feel like I am wasting that money if I get rid of the item. However, it is not any more valuable just because you hold onto it. Plus, it may be something you can sell and make a little money back. If it is just sitting there, let it go. You’re basically just storing it anyway.
- Was it a gift from someone? Sometimes we think about how it might hurt someone’s feeling if we don’t hang onto something. While this is a nice consideration, when it comes to simplifying, it should not dictate your decision on whether or not to hold onto something. You could do one of two things if you are having trouble with this one. Take a picture of your child playing with the toy as a keepsake rather than hanging on to the item itself. You can also decide on a time frame that you think is reasonable to keep the toy, like 6 months, and then get rid of it at the end of that time frame. Either way, remember that sometimes the sentiment is in the thought the person demonstrated in giving you the item and not the physical item.
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Now that you have gone through the questions above, let’s talk about toys that have a high value for your kids.
I am a firm believer that play is the best way for young kids to learn. However, if the play is centered around a bunch of clutter it may actually be doing more harm than good. So minimize the toys into just those that have high value for your kids. Not only will you and your kids feel better about having less, but you will see your kids imaginations flourish.
Toys with high value
- Toys that promote Imaginative play: play kitchens (this one is the cutest!), dress up, puppets, dolls, mini-figures. The best imaginative toys help your child play make-believe and imitate real-life roles.
- Toys that promote problem solving: puzzles, building toys (Legos), gears, science kits, and snap circuits. Toys that give your child opportunities to think through a problem and cause and effect are beneficial.
- Toys that promote creativity: The best thing for your child to develop creativity is to create times when they are bored. Here are a few toys that will foster their creativity during play; artist kits/art supplies, instruments, building toys.
- Toys that promote conversation: one of the most important things your child can learn Early is how to have a conversation. Board games (here are my favorites), dress up, and Legos all support conversation building.
- Toys that promote working together: whether your child is working with you, a sibling, a classmate, or someone else, it is important they learn how to share ideas and listen to others. These great toys are perfect for working collaboratively; train sets, wooden blocks, and marble mazes.
- Books: add in a variety of kids books to your space and spend time reading together everyday. The amount of learning that happens when a child is read to, far surpasses any other toy. For a great way to engage your child in literature without having to clutter up the house, try out Epic! It is an amazing resource with over 20,000 books to choose from and growing. Sign up for a 30 day free trial here!
Play is super important in your child’s early education.
You don’t need every toy out there to engage your children, just a few really good ones and some free time for your kids to explore their environment. Declutter your toy room and purchase just a couple of the toys from above, and you will have the perfect play space for your child to thrive in!