How to Extend the Life of Toys

Toys are Learning ToolsToys are often called the “learning tools” of children, but children seem to get bored with their toys quickly, yet never want to put them away.

What’s a parent to do?

If there are toys overflowing the toy box, falling off the shelves, and constantly underfoot it’s time to for a change. Children become overwhelmed with too many choices, and rather than become engaged with a few toys for a long time they often play the “dump and leave” game.

Since young children are often very attached to their toys it’s usually best to find a time when your child isn’t around to go through their toys. Older children may be able to help, but don’t be surprised if your child refuses to give up something you consider junk. My children freak out if I try to get rid of Happy Meal toys – go figure.


Try the “4 R’s” of Toys

1. Remove. Go through your child’s toys and remove toys that are broken, outgrown, or no longer played with. Toss broken toys into the trash. We both know that we’ll never really get around to fixing them, so why have them laying around?

2. Recycle. Outgrown toys can be packed away for a future sibling or donated to charity. Older children may be interested in selling their outgrown toys at a rummage sale.

3. Rotate. Sort through the remaining toys and choose some to stay out and some to be packed away for a while. Rotating toys is especially beneficial for young children; when the stored toys come back out they’re fresh and exciting. Consider swapping toys with a friend for the benefits of twice as many toys at half the cost.

4. Reorganize: Replace a large toy box with smaller boxes or baskets on low shelves. Use crates to store stuffed animals and dress up clothes, or turn them on their sides for books and large vehicles. Be sure to label each container with a photo of the contents to help your child put toys away where they belong. Print the words under each photo to promote literacy!


What strategies do you use to extend the life of your child’s toys?
Amy Sue

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