Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Toys worth keeping

After the Great Toy Shakedown, we decided not to bring as many toys back into circulation. I'll be honest: I was keeping many of them, not because Andrew loved them, but because I invested time in finding them. True--they were bargain priced, they were educational, they were high quality.

Did that mean we should keep them? No.

Here are a few questions I ask myself as I whittle down the toys:

  • Have I gotten my money's worth in play out of this item? If so, feel free to give it away once it has lost its novelty. If not, give it away immediately. It was a bad buy.

  • Can this toy be enjoyed by different age children at the same time? If so, consider keeping.

  • Is this toy only fun if you have the entire, coordinating set? Bye-bye, Rescue Heroes.

  • Is one part of the toy smaller or more useful? Keep the Hot Wheels cars, ditch the tracks.

  • Does this toy fit on a shelf or in a bin?

    What are your criteria for toy paring?

Updated: to add my personal rules for buying toys after the Chinese lead expose.


Anonymous said...

We're about to embark on that journey as well. The tips you have are great to start with. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Criteria for toy paring:

* Will your sibling play with it?
* Will other guests play with it?
* Would it be expensive to replace?
* Would it be difficult to replace?

That's why we let the K'Nex go. (No one was playing with it.) But we kept the original Polly Pockets. (Hard to replace the tiny houses.) And we're definitely keeping all the Playmobil -- maybe even for the future grandchildren. (expensive).

-- Jora

Shannon said...

We just did this yesterday! One of my biggies was "can they take this out and put it away by themselves?" If not it either had to go or had to be made "child friendly." For example, Brenna had a very pretty cardboard chest to keep her dress up things in, but she couldn't get all the things back in it when she was done. We either had to get rid of some stuff or ditch the box. Since she plays dress up constantly, we decided on a bigger box:) I also put away anything remotely babyish for the next little guy - Jack is now only interested in "big kid" toys!

Anonymous said...

I do in home child day care for a living. I also have 2 grandsons age 5 and 7 who live with me. (I have custody, long sad story) The action figures WITH OUT the big play structures are a good thing here. The kids love the Rescue Hero movies I have. The have the figures and do a lot of pretend play with them. They do not need the huge plastic play structures to have fun with the figures. The build a house from blocks and the HEROS rescue the horses, dinasoras, etc. from that. They get many many hours of fun with just the figures. I always buy them at yard sales and such when I can find them.
I let go of a lot of the legos etc. Too small of pieces, I let the tracks of the cars go and got a rug with a road on it. They have fun 'driving' on this and I don't have to put it up and down...more than 1 child can play at a time...

Someone Beautiful said...

Thanks for the food for thought. It is time again to purge. I was just talking with a friend about needing to let go of things that were loved yesterday, and now becoming forgotten.

I like your storage and size idea. If we can keep plenty of small favorites (and contain them) for variety, and just a few big faves, I will be happy. :) Things like wooden blocks will be around for years I imagine. When our little ones are home full time, I believe it might be harder. We think we have to provide everything educational at their fingertips. Really they just need creative outlets, and for more, we can go to the library, field trips, a friend's etc.

Amy said...

We seem to be on the same wavelength again! I was working on my son's toys last night. I am going to par down on some of the collections we have and see if he notices. If he gets bored, I will get the "new" bin out and let him play with that. If it is missing pieces or takes up too much room, it is getting the boot.

Anonymous said...

You forgot this criterion:

Is this toy driving Mommy and every other adult around insane?

Those MUST go for sake of a peaceful household.

Example: Slingshot monkeys that scream as they fly through the air. Daddy brought back TWO from his Orlando business trip (he was sporting a mischevious grin, I might add).

April said...

does it take up a lot of space? and if so is the toy worth it's wieght in space? especially if it is not used a lot.

The older I get the more I realize that simplicity is best? "stuff" can take away time from what is most important. The more "stuff" owned= more time to manage "stuff".

Thanks for the post.

Marie said...

Do they miss it? I put it in a garbage bag in the garage for a while and see if they miss it.

Liz said...

Another "rule" - do they have several other toys that achieve the same ends?

Does it take too long to pack away?

I got rid of every battery operated toy in our house at one point. Made for a much more peaceful house. Since then, a few toy mobile phones have snuck in, but that's it.

Me said...

ooh - tough questions, but I love wittling down toys!

Anonymous said...

For me, you really hit the nail on the head when you said that you were keeping some toys because of your investment in them, not your child's. I'm coming to terms with that too. :)

pomo housewife said...

oh, thank you for posting this. I was close to tears at the state of the house today, trying desperately to deal with TOO MUCH STUFF. I'm as invested in some of it as the kids are. I hadn't realised that. Good criteria. I'm putting stuff in storage boxes that they won't let go of yet, for later disposal.


Anonymous said...

I'm putting some of my favorite, sturdy, classic toys (non-battery)in a rubbermaid bin marked "For Grandchildren". I realize my kids are still preschoolers, but I'm saving some of the toys like the wooden items, a few nice puzzles, some favorite board books, etc. for twenty-thirty years from now. My mom saved a few boxes of mine and my siblings toys and it is so fun to see my children playing with the 1970's Weebles and Fisher Price garage. I'm limiting myself to one box though, for storage purposes. I'm finding that toys used to be made with much better quality than they are now. Good topic, thanks!

Anonymous said...

my 93 yo grandmother still had a dresser in her kitchen, and the drawers were filled with favorite toys from decades 1930-present. She kept it there for "visiting children" and maybe that was a clue to why, even at 93, children still loved to go to her house. She understood them.

Anonymous said...

Great suggestions, everyone!

Right now, one of the types of toys I do want to keep is the Thomas trains and wooden tracks (since they are easily disassembled and store fine in a plastic storage bin) -- there are a lot of wonderful memories associated with them and they will be fun to give to the grandkids some day.

I've heard similar ideas to the garbage bag one -- I think we will put the toys that are not played with in something like that and see how much they are missed, and then either sell or donate them.