Too many toys, can there really be such a thing? Well from a child's point of view probably not but from a parents then the answer is definitely yes!!! Christmas has been and gone and left hundreds of toys in its wake!!!! Theres a birthday in less than a month and the sheer volume of stuff is driving me insane!!
I've always struggled getting rid of toys in the past. As a single mum I've worried about not being able to buy more if we needed to and guilty about passing toys on. But on the flip side step families mean more places to get presents from (unfortunately one side uses buying stuff as showing love?) so enough is enough......
Rule One - if someone else bought the toy (nanny, auntie, great gran ..... ) and we have enough at home, ask if the toy can be kept at their house to play with there instead. Any ones sneaking through the net - my children are great at hiding things to bring home to mummy's - will be sent straight back with them next visit!
Rule two - we do not need a houseful of toys. The children can have 2 cupboards downstairs and a small toy box in their room
Rule three - the toy should at least try to be educational there is a great post on junk toys here. Working in a nursery has given me great insight here, LOTS of play things have educational value, stitching / threading promotes hand eye coordination, role play (dressing up, home area)can help us understand the world around us. Mark making (chalks, pens) can help children develop writing skills. Games such as battleships can even help children to use spreadsheets better when they are older....( B1, C3, co-ordinates). So our toys at home will fit into the following categories...
Small World / Roleplay - Cars, Horses, Dressup, Cooking
Imaginative Play - Dress up costumes
Creative - Sewing, Chalks, Fuzzyfelts, Drawing
Physical - Skipping Ropes, Bean bags
Rule four - Future Purchases must be as 'green' as possible. Are the materials natural?, Is it sustainable, does it have educational value, how long will the children enjoy this for, where will it end up - will it compost, recyle, be used again? What consumables will it use ( batteries etc). Will it prevent my children from enjoying 'the real world'?
Rule five - I will prep nannys as too what makes a good pressie and how it doesn't always have to be toys. Great examples at xmas were a sewing box, a mini tool kit (real tools not plastic) and a dinosaur apron and cookie cutters, I mean ALL children enjoy helping out in real life tasks and copying mummy /daddy, don't they!!!?
Rule Six - if it is broken toss it, if it is no longer played with or not age appropriate, donate it!!
These are my rules for my house, but hopefully there's a bit of common sense in there that you can all apply in your own house.
What tips do you have to share?