Management of Children’s Toys

Get the Most Enjoyment from Toys

Toy Storage

In most North American homes there is an abundance of toys. Our children often have more toys than they can possibly use. Our society has lost sight of the idea that less is better. If careful thought is not given to how to handle the toys they become a jumble of unmanageable junk.

Buy Carefully

To start with there is a tendency to buy toys that are not age appropriate for the child receiving them. If your child receives toys that are more suitable for an older child put them away for a while. This of course is much easier to do with toddlers and preschoolers. With an older child sometimes just pointing out to him or her that the toy is meant for someone older is sufficient. If this is met with resistance give your child the choice of taking it and exchanging it for something suitable for their age, or putting it away until they are older.

A Place for Everything

Toys need to be stored in a defined area in your home. If you are fortunate enough to have a playroom then most of the toys should have a place in it. There are many systems of bin storage. For young children the open bins that they can easily reach into work very well. When it is time to pick up the toys if they are returned to separate bins so the dolls are together and the blocks in their own bin it makes for more enjoyable play. Often parents are so weary at the end of the day that everything is just left on the floor or pitched higgly piggly into the bins. A little care in keeping the toys sorted will make their use more enjoyable and will teach the children some respect for the toys.

There is a useful song about cleaning up that helps to get everyone involved.

  • “It’s time to clean up clean up

    Everybody do your share

    Clean up clean up

    Soon the mess will not be there

    Clean up clean up

    Look at this we’re almost done

    Toys away — hey hey hey

    Clean-up can be fun”

It is nice to have some toys in a child’s room. This is often confined to stuffed animals, dolls, books, or puzzles. Like the toys in the playroom they should have a special place in the child’s room. In this case open shelving is often the best idea. However if the toys are sets of Lego or a special collection of cars or Barbie clothes see-through closed bins are good choices. In this case the children can quickly see what is in the bin. Older children may wish to use labels on their bins. If your child gets in the habit of keeping the toys sorted out and their room tidy they will value them more and will have more enjoyable use of them.

There needs to be a division of the indoor toys and the outdoor toys. Toys with many small parts that were designed for indoor use are not suitable to be used outside. Unfortunately the tiny parts can be easily lost in the garden or dropped from a stroller. By the same token the rolling stock – ride-on toys, tricycles, Cozy Coupes, bicycles, large balls, shovels and pails should have a storage place in the garage or garden shed. Because of the size of most of these toys they are not suitable for indoor use. Even very young children can learn to live with these types of restrictions.

Limit the Toys

During play time limit the number of toys that are pulled out at anytime. Too many toys all at once can overwhelm and over stimulate children. If it is Thomas the Train components that are out they should be picked up and put away before the Playmobil sets come out.

Swapping Toys

Another consideration for managing toys is to swap them out from time to time. If your child has played with some of their toys for some time put them away and bring out some new ones. It is very interesting to see how differently children will use a toy at a different age. A toy that a toddler has used to just push the buttons and hear the sounds can become an engaging toy of imagination in the hands of an older child.

Another idea of swapping toys is to trade toys with a friend who has children of the same age. In this case it is just like getting brand new toys.

Depositing of Toys

When the child has absolutely outgrown some of their toys get them to help you decide what should happen to them. There are a number of options that can be suggested. The toys can be stored with the thought that there might more children added to a family. They can be passed on to friends who have younger children.

They can be donated to a charity. At least some of the toys should be given to someone who is in need of them. Many towns have year round Christmas toy collections where the toys can be restored then given to needy children. Thrift shops are another good depot for used toys. This helps children to learn to share and to care for others in the society.

Some of the toys can be sold at garage sales or online. The idea of selling some of their toys and using the money to buy something new is very appealing to most children. This also gives an opportunity for others to add to their toys at very affordable prices.

So many toys are designed to be educational and the caring for all toys is a learning experience that will leave a child with lifelong skills. They will learn to care for their belongings, to respect boundaries and to look out for others less fortunate.

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