Our toy collection includes: one train table + train set, two small boxes of toys, 40-50 books, a half dozen stuffies and a balance bike my son is still trying to figure out. We also have a pack of crayons and paper and some train stickers. That’s it for art or craft supplies. My son gets painting, drawing and craft time when he goes to daycare a few days a week.
I feel like we have enough. We could have less but I think we have enough to keep an almost three year old occupied and engaged. One box of toys is in our living room and one box is in his bedroom. We rarely play in the bedroom so I tend to rotate the boxes every few weeks.
We are in need of a toy switch up as my son is starting to enjoy pretend play more and is interested in puzzles. He’s outgrown his basic toy instruments and prefers to try and play guitar with the help of his father. I’ve been slow on this one but plan on doing a toy switch up this weekend, boxing up toys for donation or storage and finding a few new items in the local stores and thrift shops.
I won’t be consulting with my son on which toys go. I’ll go by observation of what he plays with the most and is most engaged by.
I have an idea of what new (to him) toys he will like by what he plays with of his friends toys.
There is no right way to cull toys. Some parents involve the children, some do it in secret without consulting their five year old on what should stay and what should go. Some parents might box things up for a few months before donating them to see if their child will ask for the toys. Others send toys onto a new family right away.
The only right way is to find something that works for your family. I am sure our method will change as my son gets older or when he has a sibling.
For some different takes and ideas for culling toys I searched and found these four articles and interviews. Not all of them use the same method or have the same reasoning for paring down toys. I like that.
I tell my children that the more things we have, the less we love our things. If they want a new toy I often make them pick a toy to give to a friend. I have issues with clutter. It makes it hard for me to work or be happy or even breathe when my environment is chaotic. When in doubt, I throw it away! – Regina Sirois from this Design Mom interview
On rotating and having fewer toys: It helps your child learn. Remember, to fill a page you have to put lots of marks on the same page. With 50 toys available to your child, she will end up playing with each toy briefly before moving on to the next. That kind of play equals only a few marks on 50 different pages. BUT, with fewer toys available, your child will spend quality time enjoying and exploring each toy. That kind of quality play puts more marks on fewer pages and fills those pages more quickly. – Kim at Little Stories on Shopping in Your Toy Closet
I decided to teach my kids how to clean out their own toys, starting at age 3. The first time I let my three-year-old daughter reduce her toys, I was shocked by how many she didn’t want anymore. She let go of more toys than I would have if I had done it for her. The kids decide which toys they are finished playing with, and I decide whether those toys go in the donation bin or the storage box. – Rachel at Small Notebook on How to Simplify and Declutter Toys
The biggest piece of advice I can give to anyone planning a major overhaul of a child’s toy storage is that you do it on your own or with your partner. Don’t involve the children. It’s what Simplicity Parenting recommends, and having done it both ways (before and since the purge) I can tell you it’s excellent advice. – Julie from Pancakes & French Fries on Cleaning Out the Toys
PS. I’m now a contributing writer at Life… Your Way. My first post is up and it’s about the unexpected expenses from gaining 300 square feet of living space. I also did a fun interview with Carolina from Girl Habits that you can read here.