I was 12 years old when my oldest sister had my first nephew and 15 when she had my second nephew. She still lived at home with us during this time.
They got so many toys for Christmas one year that some had to be stored on the side porch. When the following Christmas rolled around, I remember thinking she could probably wrap up the toys on the side porch and they wouldn’t even know they got them last year and would be just as excited.
That is the moment I became a toy minimalist. I never bought any child a toy, until I had my own. I was notorious for buying my nieces and nephews clothes as gifts.
Toys are so important for a child’s development, but too many is over sensory. Also, too many toys can limit a child’s imagination and improvisational skills.
My boss loved to have me hang posters and informational announcements. She wanted to help as many people as possible. The problem is that when there is too much to look at, they won’t look at anything. Back to their phones they go. We had to be strategic about what we hung up and where we hung it.
That same concept applies to toys. If kids have too many toys then they will choose one and leave the rest. You have to be strategic about what toys they have available to them.
In our home we practice a toy rotation. We fill their toy bin with a few things and in a couple weeks or months, when we notice they are not really playing with the toys anymore, we put them away and put their other toys out. In a couple more weeks or months, we swap them back out with the first set of toys.
We do not use a bottomless pit toy bin. You know what I mean. A plastic storage bin from Target. You just throw everything in there and close the lid. Out of sight out of mind, until the next day when they take them all out again.
We actually use our diaper organizer, for now, that came with our pack-n-play. It is perfect for organizing their toys and is the perfect size for our two 1 year olds. It has two small compartments on each side and one large compartment in the middle.
In two of the smaller compartments we put stuffed animals and baby dolls. In one small compartment we put books in and in the other we put electronic toys. When it is time to rotate, these toys get swapped with others of their kind.
The larger compartment holds various toys. Currently, it holds a small assortment of balls, a shape sorter bucket, and 2 teething toys. Before the swap, it held a toy piggy bank, a shape work bench with hammer, and teething toys.
Toys Not To Swap
Not all toys should get swapped, but these are toys they have very few of and are very beneficial at this age.
Our teething toys stay. At this stage, they are always teething and always in need of teething toys, especially since they still put everything in their mouth.
Two other toys that are always available to our girls are their V-tech walker and their Fisher Price ride-on puppy. These toys are the only we have of their kind and offer a lot of developmental benefits.
Toy Clean Up
We all know getting kids to clean up their toys at the end of the day is a task that involves moaning and groaning. Toy minimalism makes this a short task with less moaning and groaning.
Let us know your experience with toys in the comments below. Are you a toy minimalist?