If your home looks like a toy shop, you’ve probably wondered, “How many toys is too many?” Contrary to popular belief, you kids probably don’t need more toys. In fact, one study found that kids play more creatively and longer when they have fewer toys.
So that huge pile of toys in your living room or your basement might not be doing anyone any favors. In fact, paring down your kid’s toys can actually buy your kids more playtime.
It’s easy to get excited about the idea of new toys. Adults and kids get caught in the trap of bigger, better, more. Every holiday, birthday, or every trip to the store can leave your kids begging you for a new toy. Which means that if your kids need fewer toys to stay creative and play longer, you’ll have to limit the number of new toys coming into your home.
Some parents choose to tell their kids that if they get a new toy, they’ll need to get rid of an old one. Others are very selective about what they allow their kids to have, simply saying “no” if what their child wants doesn’t fit into their toy plan.
What can you give kids if you aren’t giving them toys? After all, your kids might call you Scrooge if you refuse to give them any new toys for Christmas. Instead, try to opt for experiences. Lessons for something they’ve been wanting to learn, special dates, or vacations are all great options. Try a season pass to the zoo, a waterpark, or a mini golf park. The best part about focusing on experiences instead of more stuff is that experiences are less likely to be forgotten and broken after a few days.
Most parents know their kids have too many toys. One of the easiest solutions is to donate the toys your kids don’t want or need. Nicer toys can even be sold. Put the money in a jar for your kids and take them somewhere fun when you’ve collected enough money. Clearing out old toys will make your home feel less distracting and cluttered, and it will give your kids the space they need to be creative with the toys they still have.
Your kids have a great selection of nice, high-quality, and engaging toys. Instead of donating them, think about rotating them. The basic idea is that you can put away half (or more) of your kids’ toys into a closet or storage room. In three or six months, pull out the closet toys and box up the toys your kids have been playing with. Rotating allows the toys to stay “fresh” so your kids don’t become bored. Bonus: You don’t have to spend a lot of time cleaning up toys your kids have just dumped.
No matter how you do it, cutting back on the number of toys your kids have can be good for both you and your kids. When you watch what you bring into your home, opt for new experiences, and get rid of toys your kids don’t need, you’re giving your family the freedom to find more enjoyment from play.