I think most of us can put our hands up and say that our children are very blessed to have more toys than they actually need and if your house is like mine, my daughter only plays with a narrow band of toys even though she insists she needs them all.
Recently I had the pleasure of helping a family, declutter the toys in their home. I felt this was a powerful process that is a common issue for us all and something I am asked about on a regular basis especially over the last month, perhaps it has something to do with the new year and fresh starts.
Here are my top tips for a good toy sort out:
- The first job is to reunite all the toys with their bits and pieces, and then putting toys with others of their kind e.g. all the My Little Ponies in one place.
- The key for children to be able to invest in meaningful play is not to be overwhelmed by choice, less is definitely more and for all toys to have a place, this is vital if you want your children to tidy up after themselves.
- It is far better to rotate the toys once every couple of months and have less out than it is to have a room full of toys that are in complete chaos and they can’t access what is there.
- Use drawers, baskets, small draw string bags and plastic boxes to ensure that every toy had a place: a Playmobil box, cars in another, soft toys in a basket, can each child have a draw with a small selection of toys in that is just for them, craft in a cupboard and books all on a book shelf, dress ups in a chest with nothing on top of so they can be accessed by the children without adult intervention needed.
- All those toys that you get from fast food chains, small items that do not really have a home or a use, can be put into another basket to be sorted through on another day or put in the charity bag.
- Some toys can be put into a box and put in a cupboard to be taken out at another time.
- Other toys such as the art easel could be moved to a different room to see if this would spark a new interest in the item.
- Toys that have a single use and do not allow for open ended play and others that are perhaps too young for the children can be donated to charity or put to one side to be given to other friends or family members.
- Broken toys, notebooks full of drawings or colouring that have been long since forgotten about can either be thrown out or put into recycling.
What are your feelings towards the toys in your house?
How can you apply some of these principals to your children’s toys?
This blog post was originally written for Wharfedale Mumbler.