Too Many Toys?

Realizing your children may have too many toys is a common occurrence this time of year. It may be that grandparents over delivered at the holidays. It may be that your child has only opened half their presents and are already complaining that they are bored. Whatever the reason, here are a few good answers:

  • Storage – There are some toys that can more easily be stored than others. There are metal puzzle holders, storage boxes for manipulatives, suitcases for dolls and drawers for art supplies. In my own house, we store puzzles in a cabinet and board games in the garage. I try to ask if they’d like to play with either once a week to avoid ‘out of sight, out of mind.’
  • Rotation – The plan here is to take about half of your toys to storage, box them up to the attic or the garage. Then, once every month or two, rotate about half of that out of storage with toys that were still in the house. This allows children to focus on the toys that are available and play in deeper ways. It also gives your toys a longer life overall. A toy that has been ignored on the shelf for three months is boring, but a toy that reappears after three months of being gone is like new.
  • Relocation – Just moving toys around the house can be helpful. Once when I was cleaning the house, I moved the dollhouse from the basement to the dining room just to get it out of the way. The girls had not looked at it, let alone played with it, in months. When they noticed it in the dining room, it sparked a new interest.
  • Repurpose – Too many toy cars? Roll some in paint, and then roll them on poster board to make a cool painting. Draw a big map and glue on cars.
  • Donation – Gently used toys are often welcome at donation centers.
  • Friend Swap – Organize a swap with your moms club or neighborhood playgroup.
  • Sell – One of my friends swears by selling big toys on Craig’s List.

Author: Dr. Rene Hackney

With a MA in school psychology and a PhD in developmental psychology, I founded and work as a parent educator at Parenting Playgroups. Somewhere in there I trained in the Developmental Clinic at Children's NMC and in the public schools. I have two beautiful, funny children who make me practice what I preach most everyday.

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