Today we’ll start a month long serial Less Toys. More Play. because we truly believe that, when it comes to toys and play, the quantity of toys is inversely proportional to the quality of play and child’s engagement with toys.
I’m sure you have been there before: You bought this shiny new toy for your toddler just to realize that your toddler prefers to play with wrapping paper or an empty box more than with a new toy! Or, how about this: Your preschooler has so many toys you can’t even count them, and yet they come to you with: “Mom, I’m bored! Can you buy me a new toy? I have nothing fun to play with!”.
Why You should Cut Down on Toys?
I can hear from here a little voice in your head screaming: “How can you be bored with all those toys?!”. Yes, I can. Because I hear that little voice screaming in my own head!
But you know what? Your kids really don’t mess with you! They actually CAN’T SEE the toy they would want to pick up and play! You know why? Because there are too many of them!
Before anything else is said, we want to make it clear: We don’t think kids shouldn’t have any toys! We just think that there is a point where kids stop playing with toys because they have too many!
And before we get the grammar police on our neck, we know that “less toys” is not how it really should be said, but hey (!), we like it this way! Sounds much better than “Fewer Toys. More Play.”, wouldn’t you agree?
To begin on our month long journey, we have gathered a list of reasons to say “Yes!” to cutting down a number of toys and decluttering child’s play space (and our homes!):
1. With fewer toys, kids will be more willing to put them away.
I know it doesn’t sound like much of a reason. But tell me: Do you experience daily struggle with getting kids to clean up their room and put away their toys? Now, let’s get the focus on you as an adult: Are you more likely to get ironing done when you have 2 loads or when you postpone ironing for a month? Same applies to kids and toys!
2. With fewer toys, there will be less clutter and more space to play.
Totally sounds right, doesn’t it? When there is more space on the floor, and kids don’t have to step on toys, play can actually go big! They will have more place to build grand structures from building blocks! Or pull a chair and table together and make a vet’s office with their favorite stuffed animals!
3. With fewer toys, kids will have to take a better care of the ONEs they have.
If you had only one doll, would you care for it? I mean, if you knew you didn’t have 10-20 others to replace the broken doll? Ultimately, kids learn to be responsible with their toys. The lesson they will value as adults. (Just to make it clear: we don’t say that kids should have only one doll, but they surely don’t need 50!)
4. With fewer toys, kids will actually play longer!
They will! And you know why? Because, now they will play with that toy in deep! They will sit and try to solve a problem instead just saying: “It’s too hard!”, giving up and moving on to a next less complicated toy.
5. With fewer toys, kids will find additional creative ways to play!
Now, when they can actually see their toys, they will try to mix and match and see in what other ways they can play with the toys they have! Pots and pans from their kitchen might become hats for their dolls and stuffies! Why not?
6. With fewer toys, kids will be more willing to share!
This might sound strange but kids will start to play with each other more and engage in play together because they have fewer toys and they have to learn to share to get the most out of a play.
Read: Encouraging Sharing among Siblings
7. With fewer toys, kids will look for NEW ways to express themselves!
All of the sudden, paper and pencil, scissors and paint brushes will become their favorite tools to express themselves! Instead of a new toy, consider buying them a new art or craft tools to expose them to something unfamiliar.
8. With fewer toys, kids will learn that toys don’t fall off the sky and on their hands!
You might have been in this situation – child is daily asking: “Mom, can you give me a present today?”. I know I have. We have come to the point when it would irritate me because there was never enough! Plus, new toys didn’t hold my daughters interest and she didn’t even find any satisfaction in getting a new toy. But she still asked again and again, day after day. Some days I would give her some small presents / toys but at one point, toy clutter was too big and too much money was spent on toys nobody played with!
9. With fewer toys, kids will stop acting like butterflies!
With butterflies, I mean flying from a toy to another, with an attention span of a butterfly! Your child can’t keep attention? Ever considered they could suffer from toy overload?
10. With fewer toys, kids will ask to get out and play with friends more often!
I have seen this happen with my own children. They played with other kids more, asked to organize play dates and enjoyed sharing and playing with toys they had.
11. With fewer toys, there will be fewer misplaced, broken and lost pieces to look after!
This one is a huge in our home and I guess we are not the only one always looking for where to place a piece of the puzzle or where is the remaining part of a set! When there is fewer toys, it’s much easier to find where each piece fits without going through the gazillion of toys!
12. With fewer toys, you will stop arguing with your kids about putting away toys!
Even if you have tiny toddler who is not up for cleaning or putting away toys, it will be much easier for you as a parent to collect fewer toys and put them in the right place.
13. With fewer toys, everyone will be happier when they enter the child’s room!
Did you experience the feeling like there is no free space when you step in a child’s room? Truth to be told, kids don’t like clutter either. They also enjoy living and playing in clean, tidy spaces.
14. With fewer toys, your kids will not be embarrassed to call friends for a play date!
And you will tell them less often: “I can’t call in your friends on play when your room is a total mess!” Been there, done that!
15. With fewer toys, you will not find them in ALL rooms in your house, including THE bathroom!
This one is huge in our home! Somehow it looks like, no matter how much I keep taking toys back to kid’s room, they always find their way to other rooms around the home. It’s like toy invasion over here! Sounds familiar?
16. With fewer toys, you will feel less pressure to buy more toys!
And when you finally decide to buy a new toy, you will try to find the ones kids actually will play with, open-ended toys that can be used and played in made different ways. Because you, as a parent, will start to see toys in a new way.
17. With fewer toys, you will reduce your own stress level!
With less arguing about putting away toys, less toy clutter, less toys around the home, you will be less stressed about toys!
18. With fewer toys, kids will have time to be bored (sometimes)!
And it’s good for kids to learn to be bored! I try to explain this to my older daughter who wants to be entertained 24/7 (or whenever she’s awake).
19. With fewer toys, you will go visit more places and experience new adventures!
Mostly because you’ll have more money you didn’t spend on a bunch of toys!
20. With fewer toys, you’ll be more engaged as a family!
We struggle with this one too. Both me and my husband work full time and we are not always in a mood or have bunch of other things that wait for us to take care of when we come home. So playing with kids can sometimes be way down on the list for us. We try daily to get it back up and see it as a priority to spend some daily quality time with our kids.
Most of the things from this list are what we, as a family, experience daily. And I’m sure we are not alone.
Have found yourself and your family in some of the reasons listed here?
You might consider giving a try to our call for Less Toys and in return get More Play for your children.
Read Next in Less Toys. More Play. Series
- Less Books = More Reading
- Simple Outdoor Play Ideas
- Turning Old Technology into Toys for Imaginative Play
↓ PIN FOR LATER ↓
I cleared away most of the toys in our playroom a couple of weeks ago – including a lot of what they got for Christmas – when the playroom was filled with toys they didn’t want to go in there. Now it’s a big empty space with a handful of activities they sit and play for much longer!
Sounds right! Same thing happens with my kids! Too many, nobody wants to get anywhere near the room!
There's Just One Mommy says
Love all the reasons to have less toys… And I’ve been trying to get the kids to believe me on them. Any tips for that?
I would suggest to get kids to participate in cleaning up the space. Start with getting all out and let them choose each 5 toys they want to keep, then you add 5 additional (in my experience, those they pick usually become bored in a day). We have then packed all the remaining toys in boxes for rotation – in each box we placed few different types of toys. Excellent time to remove those toys that are broken, or missing parts. And some of those you think that kids outgrown, talk with them to donating to younger kids you know. Another thing we did – picked up several toys and took them to grandparents, that way kids have something to play with when they visit.
Oh how true. I actually started to decline buying my girls toys. We have too many already and we spend more time creating things anyway. Great post!
Glad you found yourself in this, Otilia! Over and over I experience how much more kids enjoy playing with parents and other kids when there is less of toy clutter around!
Jen Walshaw says
What a fab frugal post, thank you for linking to fabulously frugal
Any time Jen! Thank you for taking time to stop by, read and comment!
I love this! We try to keep out toys to a manageable number but with four kids it still gets overwhelming sometimes. I need to print out this list to motivate me to pare down even more!
Mihaela @ Best Toys 4 Toddlers says
That’s an excellent idea Kalista! Have to write it down on my to-do list and make a printable reminder when I get some free time!
Brandi Clevinger says
I agree – less toys equals more play! We have little space as it is, but even if I had tons of space, I prefer less toys. And many kids go through their toys so fast. Play with it for five seconds and ready to move on.
Thanks for linking up at Inspire Me Mondays!
Mihaela @ Best Toys 4 Toddlers says
We have this too, both limited space and kids moving too fast from one toy to another. Those are 2 main reasons we are cutting down on number of toys!
Thank you for submitting to Motivation Monday!
Less toys = more imagination
Thanks for linking with this week’s parenting pin it party. x x
You don’t have to try hard to convince me of this! I’m always trying to get rid of toys and excess clothing. I was super excited this weekend when my 4 year-old wanted to give her new stuffed animal to a friend. Saved me the work 🙂
So good for him! It’s very hard to get kids to share their stuff and your son is dong it willingly which is amazing in my book! He deserves a treat for sure! And huge WELL DONE!
Denise/DIY Crush says
This is a fantastic article! I used to ‘hide’ some of my kids toys when they were little only to bring them back out and reintroduce them. They loved that and often remembered that they still had those! lol..I would like to invite you to my DIY Crush Craft Party which starts at 7pm EST. and is new every Thursday. I’ll pin every post!! 😉
Thank you for invitation! Glad you enjoy this post! 🙂
I hear you! I put most of our children’s toys away, because I was fed up with the constant clutter and fighting over things. Magically, it helped my children to play nicely together, my living room is cleaner, and I am a happier mommy.
Exactly! 🙂 Good for you mama! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment!