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OT - kids' toys (sidebar from Teas's recent room switch blog)

moeilijk's picture

Ok, so... how many/what kinds of toys are 'normal' and what is too much?

I feel like DD2.5 has too many toys. Most require a lot of imagination. There are a couple that turn on or make a noise, but that's about 4, and two of those are different kinds of whistles.

She seems to, in general, play with all of them, but not all in one day.

She has a big box of Duplo. Right now she picks out the animals and makes houses for them, or makes them a playground (where they have arguments about who will go first down the slide), and sometimes she builds towers. She might play with this non-stop a few days, then nothing a few weeks, then back again.

She has some animal pillows. These are used as pillows for a variety of dolls and Little People who might be tired. Also the cat is invited to sleep on them. These pillows also have an active life of their own.

She has 10 or so Little People, who live in a house, or go in a car, or the bus, or the airplane. The vehicles don't seem so important anymore, other than everyone waiting for the bus to pass before they can cross the street.

She has some dollies, all of whom require care, feeding, diaper changes, and have arguments about dancing, flying and jumping.

She has a tea set.

Then we have colouring stuff - a couple of books, some crayons, pencil crayons and markers. We have some tape, some pipe cleaners, some pom poms. I have made some toys/games for her (matching games, etc). We have stickers, different kinds of paper, playdough, some feathers, plastic knives, stuff like that for her to explore.

She has a bunch of stuffed animals and puzzles as well.

I have given TONS of her stuff away, but she has tons.

I would like to get rid of a bunch, but she does seem to play with it all if I look at the last 3 months, for example.

I should maybe note that she doesn't watch TV. And in general, she plays at home 4.5 days (the rest she's at daycare, her grandmother's, or I bring her to the gym daycare).

What do you guys do? How much is enough? Too much? How to decide?


Peridwen's picture

If you can try the rotating storage method, it really works. Here's a link to a blog with simple steps.

What I am trying to add is also the "Prep for Donate" box. Toys that the kids have outgrown but are still in good shape, or that they just aren't interested in. I plan to keep the toys in the box for 2/4 "toy rotations" and if they are never mentioned in that time I will donate them. The only exceptions are toys with special memories attached that we let the kids keep in their rooms.

moeilijk's picture

Thanks, I'll check out that link shortly.

I happily donate stuff for myself, but somehow with DD's toys I've turned into a hoarder (not with clothes or blankets or such, just toys...).

I guess because if she notices it, she'll make up a story and play with it. The latest were a couple of bears - suddenly they were the bear-birds, and the mummy laid eggs, and now they had babies, and they're so cute, and now it's time to teach the babies to fly, but a crocodile and a cat keep trying to eat the babies, but the daddy says, "No eating my babies allowed!"

I'm very tired at the end of the day. Lol.

Last In Line's picture

I did toy rotation, both in my home and in my classroom. It was fantastic. Every so often we would get "new" things out and the kids would be so excited!

moeilijk's picture

Well, part of it is that we keep her toys in the living room. We live in an apartment and she is usually under supervision.

I am wanting to give her more time on her own, but she resists being on her own. And I hadn't really noticed (except that I'm so tired) that she's constantly 'on,' but she could have more in her room. Most of her 'imagination' games seem to rely on someone else taking on some role, but not always.

I'll give it some thought, and find some quiet toys for her room (beside my room, and I already wake up if she rolls over, lol).


moeilijk's picture

She does, oh, she does! I think your heart is also pickled, btw.

That's part of it too. Although I am thinking now about how I can encourage her to spend a bit of unsupervised time in her room.... stuffed animals, the dollies....

Disneyfan's picture

My son had a ton of crap (I mean toys). When he wasn't home, I would toss out the stuff he stopped playing with.

I solved the cleaning up problem pretty quick. Any toy I stepped on went into to a bag and he had to take that bag to the dumpster. He did the crying dumpsters march twice (once with some some Legos and once with some matchbox cars and army men)before he figured out I wasn't kidding.

moeilijk's picture

She's just now at the age where I think it is getting reasonable to expect her to tidy up. It's not my forte, so I don't really know where to start. For myself, it's usually a panic at the end of the day or when people are coming over lol!

And tbh, that's partly what prompted my questions... I can't expect her to tidy up stuff that I find overwhelming, IYKWIM.

When she has been resistant to tidying up, I have taken stuff away. Mostly it's about her being a toddler rather than her being disobedient, so usually an explanation and not backing down do the trick.

moeilijk's picture

Well, and that's sort-of the issue for DD as well. She's the only grandkid on both sides, all three surviving grandparents enjoy indulging her, as do her two aunts. Plus, I tend to buy second-hand stuff, and so when her Sinterklaas, birthday and Christmas gifts combined total about 20-30 euros, I tend to focus on that instead of all the stuff that's invaded my home!!

Last In Line's picture

Tell them you are just overwhelmed with things, you appreciate the thought, but would they consider putting $10 (or $25, or whatever) into DDs college fund instead.

moeilijk's picture

I will talk to DH about this. I avoid confrontation like the devil, plus I hate to direct how other people relate to DD and since FIL and my mom live overseas (not together, lol), I can't ask for them to keep stuff at their house.

And here college is cheap, like 3K/year. And any savings in kids' names is just taxed to the parents anyways.

But I am making up objections so I can avoid. So I will talk to DH to see if we can come up with some ideas.

moeilijk's picture

I wonder about that.

She hasn't napped since she was 1.5. We do have a stormy season in the area I live in, so we tend to stay inside those days. In general, the days that she spends the entire day with me or DH, we play inside, go outside, go to daycare at the gym for 1.5 hours, play inside or do an activity inside (like painting or playdough), go outside again, and of course reading.

I can't really imagine taking away all her toys. Currently she mixes and matches, and I wouldn't like to curtail her creativity by saying she can only play with certain things in certain ways.

Like, she has a drawstring bag and some little cars and some little people, some pompoms and a whistle. And she'll put different things in and out of the bag, and talk about hard and soft, and big and small, and then make up a story about what all the different pieces are doing...

OTOH, I do agree that she has too much, full-stop. And maybe I need to just scale it all way back. She already runs to her drawer in the hall to grab a scarf or a hat for the Duplo animals, so I could put more things into her room and then have her tidy up before meals. That would limit the clutter/chaos left behind, but still leave her the freedom to find different items to fit into her fantasy-play.

SecondGeneration's picture

We have a fairly simple system, SD5 has a dollhouse and a small cabinet of toys (all the messy or best with supervision stuff) the rest of her toys stay in her bedroom.
All the toys in the bedroom need to be able to be tidied away, twice a year (around summer and christmas) we go through her bedroom together, double checking any forgotten toys and do the whole "is this for you, or is this for a baby?" thing. SD is pretty kind in nature so shes never had a problem donating things.
This has really helped make sure her toys dont get too out of control.

If theres anything that you think is really too babyish, put it aside, if its well loved it wont be long before shes asking for it. And if not, after a while, then its time to let go.

moeilijk's picture

I think I could take it all away, and other than the dollies, she wouldn't mind much. But I like the different ways she plays with different things.

How do you store it in her room? Like, a bookshelf, drawers, what? Does she play in her room or does she bring it out into the shared areas? How much play area is there in her room - after DD's bed and closet and the reading chair, there is a small area left over. I am thinking of adding a low bookshelf for some toy storage (quiet toys, lol) but I'm not sure how to encourage her to stay in her room to play. I'd like to, I just can't figure out how. Other than to insist on it, but I think that would feel like a punishment to DD since we do use going to her room for timeouts when she's too rough with the cat (and other things, but it's really the cat that's an issue these days.)

notsobad's picture

I think kids want the toys they can see.

When DH and I split up he took most of the toys because the boys and I were moving in with friends who had 2 boys. My kids didn't miss any of their toys and loved having two live in playmates.

In fact the thing they played with the most was the couch and the cushions. My friend got rid of her couch and we used mine in the basement but we kept the cushions from hers. They made forts ontop of forts!

Then when we moved to our own place I told them to bring stuff from their Dads place. They didn't even bother. They'd gotten a few new things and were happy with them.

The one item that we kept was Lego. My kids loved it and my youngest still plays with it when he's home from Uni!

Maxwell09's picture

Honestly if it's missing a piece, a choking hazard or it gets left outdoors but isn't made for outdoors, I toss it. Also I inwardly love that my Pom chews on some of the smaller cheap plastic toys (think McDonald's happy meals etc) so I can toss them too. I tried the rotation method but it ended up being a waste because SS would drag them out because he found them digging in his closet or I'd forget them and bring them out when he's passed the age of interest which makes me buying that toy a waste of money. I clean out before birthdays and Christmas, he accumulates enough between there to keep entertained.

moeilijk's picture

You remind me of something else - DD's b'day is Dec 13. Sinterklaas (big kid's gift giving day here) is Dec 5. Christmas (big kid's gift giving day for my Canadian family) is Dec 25.

It's just so much at once! Now, 6 mo later, is when I'm overwhelmed by it all, lol!