As parents, we have lofty goals of giving our kids the best of everything. Most times, this equates to a complete excess of everything! In truth, it’s unhealthy for kids to have 200+ toys, even if they are the best quality. If you haven’t read the book Simplicity Parenting, by Kim John Payne, then rent a copy because it will change the way you look at toys, activities, and media for your kiddos.
If you want to do what is BEST for your kids, have less toys, less clothes, less commitments and less noise around them!
I often get asked which toys should be kept, which should be donated and what can be ‘rotated’?
First off, you’re the parent, and you know what your kid’s favorite toys are. They are the ones that they drag around the house and ask you to play with ALL. THE. TIME. So box up the rest! Secondly, I don’t rotate toys. I tried to rotate toys and you know what happened? I boxed up all the ‘rotatable’ toys and put them in the attic and they never came down again, except one stuffed animal.
Reasons those toys didn’t come down:
- They weren’t asked for.
- They don’t require creativity or imagination.
- They are, in reality, junk.
It’s hard to be honest with ourselves when toys are really just junk. Here are some questions to help decide if it’s junk or not. How much plastic is involved? Can your child engage their imagination with the toy? Do you already have multiple of the same toy? Was it a gift that they never really asked for in the first place?
Want to know what made the list of toys we keep?
- Dress up clothes (limited to three dresses each and a small basket of accessories)
- Blankets (used for forts, baby dolls, capes, etc. – Montessori practitioners use play silks for the same thing)
- Play kitchen and play food
- Baby dolls and baby doll bed
- Art supplies
- A few board games
- Favorite Stuffed Animals (stays in their bedrooms)
I have two girls, and so we don’t have trains or cars. But if I had a boy we would have his favorites, which would be more boy oriented.
(although this is plastic, ‘pretend play’ toys tend to stick around!)
Sometimes I worry when friends come to visit that we won’t have enough toys for everyone to play with. However, I’ve never had a problem and not one child has ever said they are bored when they come over. Since all the toys are new to the visiting child they always find something exciting.
My favorite article on why kids need less stuff is by Denaye Barahona over at Becoming Minimalist: Why Kids Need Minimalism
Personally, I have a goal, similar to The Minimal Mom, to buy one toy organizer from IKEA and anything that doesn’t fit in that goes. It works for her and her 4 kids actually thrive using the system. The Minimal Mom – Toy Storage