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toys

Toys provide many benefits. They teach our children how to think, pretend, and develop skills such as eye-hand coordination. Additionally, children model behavior of their parents and others and learn about the world and themselves.

However, many children have too many toys. Parents initially make a reasonable attempt to provide quality toys that are age specific and “educational.” Then, something happens. Grandparents and other family members buy your child toys. Then they get old enough where peer pressure sets in; they want the toys their friends have. Soon, toys are everywhere.

In order to make a decision about whether or not your child has too many toys, you need to look objectively at the situation. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are there toys all over the house?
  • Does my child have toys they seldom play with?
  • Are there toys my child has outgrown?

If you answer, “Yes!” to any or all of these questions, your child may have too many toys.

The question is, what do you do about it?

Before answering that question, let us look at the benefits of having fewer toys.

  1. Your child develops creativity. They need to use their imagination.
  2. Your child develops longer attention spans. When a child has few toys, they need to spend longer playing with each one.
  3. Your child develops social skills. A child with fewer toys needs to learn how to play and share with others.
  4. Your child learns to take care of their possessions. With fewer toys, it is important to make sure they are not broken.
  5. Your child becomes more resourceful. They must play with what they have available.
  6. Your child will argue less with siblings and other children. They must share and play together if the number of available toys is limited.
  7. Your child learns perseverance, determination, and patience. They are less likely to move to another toy if they are playing with one that is challenging, and others are not readily available.

Okay, so now we know why we are getting rid of extra, unwanted, or outgrown toys. To do so, consider the following:

Donate

Whether you are looking for a place for your baby’s plush animals or your daughter’s discarded doll, there are places that willingly take used toys in good condition. Homeless shelters, church nurseries, doctor and dentist offices, Good Will, and the Salvation Army all accept toys in good condition. Additionally, you can make a bit of money by having a yard sale or finding a local consignment shop.

Rotate

If you have toys with sentimental value or some your older children have outgrown or become bored with, consider putting them away until a later date. When you pull them out, your child will enjoy them as if they are seeing them for the first time. In addition to reducing the number of toys your children have, this also saves money and space.

Recycle

Think about creative ways to recycle toys. Some ideas are:

  • Trading toys with the parents of your child’s friends. Try giving them two or three for one!
  • When your child plays at a friend’s home, have them choose a toy to take and leave with that child. This teaches generosity and sharing as well as getting rid of a toy.

Kids without too many toys are more likely to develop a greater love for reading, writing, and art. They are also more likely to play outside and develop an appreciation for nature. Play with your children; sometimes the greatest toy is a parent willing to make-believe and act silly.

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