How many toys do kids need? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 11-25-2007, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm starting with toys... How many toys should my dc need? Years ago I had a home daycare and so probably have way too many toys bc of that. I can say that I believe many of them are high quality and developmentally appropriate - but I'm tired of looking like a daycare center. I struggle with it some too though bc they don't go to daycare only the Y nursery when I work out - so this is it yk? I have a 2 yo and a 5 yo. Both very much enjoy pretend play so I know I'm keeping the kitchen set and household set up. So how many toys? A toy shelf each?

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#2 of 14 Old 11-25-2007, 11:45 PM
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Good question. Do your DC have any developmental issues? I used to be very Draconian about toys, figuring that during most of human history, most kids had basically one or two toys, but that all changed after I found out my 18 month old DS had a severe speech delay and needed OT. Unfortunately, I have had to buy a ton of developmental toys for him but they have made a huge difference.

Also, how much time can your kids spend playing outside? The more they play outside, the less they need inside. We don't really have a usable yard right now, unfortunately, so we are stuck inside a lot.
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#3 of 14 Old 11-26-2007, 03:31 AM
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I personally don't think children need very many toys. You just have to cater to their personality. DS is very mechanical so he really enjoys wooden lacing beads, lacing cards, wooden puzzles, stacking toys and his wooden train track (I should've just put that most things are wooden ). He also loves balls so he has a basket full of those (all but one have been gifts). He also loves to ride around the house on his ride-on toys. He has two of those. He does have other toys he uses occasionally but if they don't get touched for months and they get on my nerves anyway I just take them to the thrift shop. We only have one toy bin in the living room and what fits on his toy shelves in his room. I don't know the exact amount but it seems to be enough. Keep what your kids love and get rid of the rest.

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#4 of 14 Old 11-26-2007, 05:58 AM
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We have a variety of toys, but I don't think it's excessive. Our house doesn't seem to be overrun by toys and we have NO storage. We don't have single-use toys - all are open ended and for creative play. THe kids don't get new toys during the year, only birthday and Christmas.

The kids are into these atm and have been on and off for the past year (well, since dd became interested in the same things as ds). Toys seem to fall in and out of favour every few weeks, but over a month would all get used (I think this is my decider on whether to keep stuff or not):

play kitchen and tea set
drawing/paper supplies on an activity table which is also good for crafts and playdough
basic wooden thomas track and 4 trains
a variety of puzzles/games/threading set/cuisenaire rods
small cars and garage (garage not often played with anymore though)
duplo (soon to be replaced with lego)
dolls/soft toys, clothes, carriers and a buggy
dress ups
books on each of their bookcases
wooden blocks
plastic animals
bike/trikes/ride on

New Christmas additions will be:


Random things that are enjoyed:

my glass beads for threading
a container of bright coloured foam beads
chalk board

All of this fits into a old fashioned suitcase in DD's room (she has mostly the dolls paraphenalia)
Stacking bins in DS's room (animals, cars) and a bin for dress ups
2 x Natural woven baskets in the living room (train track in one and duplo in the other)
Two drawers and one small shelf in the living room (puzzles, games, threading)
Play kitchen is at the back of the living room next to the activity table and chalk board

It's a Delight-Filled Life.

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#5 of 14 Old 11-26-2007, 07:27 AM
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I think DD is at a point where she has too many. She didn't want to help clean her room (several days in a row--it was a disaster), so I told her I was going to just bag up everything on the floor and put it in the garage. Anything she picked up and put away would be spared.

She didn't pick much up, and there was still plenty on the shelves, but three kitchen garbage bags full plus the tote of playdough stuff, a doll stroller, and a big ball with a handle on it all wound up in the garage. Clothes were included, but she has too many clothes, too.

She still has PLENTY left. I may do something similar with her toys in the living room tomorrow if she doesn't want to help clean them up. We stayed at my mom's house all summer with only a few toys and she was content--I think all the stuff here overwhelms her.

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#6 of 14 Old 11-26-2007, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow you all are a tremendous help! A little more info:
We haven't been spending enough time outside - I can notice that in my mood too - but that is besides the point. We have a playground out there and some projects so that is very important. A great reminder that they don't need that much due to that!
We seem to have a lot of developmental toys, which I think that after I purge I'll still need to work on organizing. We have 2 of the toy organizer shelves with bins - yk the very popular wood/plastic ones. I thought of moving one into each of their rooms and just keeping what would fit in there. We also have a wooden kitchen/crib set in our living room that I would keep the food and accessories that fit neatly inside and both have a book shelf for books. This still seems like a lot, but at least manageable if I can get there. They seem to play with the same toys over and over anyway.
How do you store larger toys? I hate toy boxes bc they just forget about the items in there.

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#7 of 14 Old 11-26-2007, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Oh and Ravin we did that with dd's room too. I was embarrassed by the huge bag that came out of there. I said that if she specifically asked for something I would bring it back out. If not the whole bag was going to charity. She asked for one dress up wand out of the whole thing. And I agree that it is overwhelming! It is for me at least... I can't imagine if I had to sleep/play/live in it.

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#8 of 14 Old 11-26-2007, 02:01 PM
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We've been slowly trying to purge down the amount of toys our kids have. I know for my boys, having too much/too many is definitely overwhelming and also stifles their creativity and imagination. I've been trying to really keep track of what of their toys they actually play with and what just gets tossed aside, and then we talk together as a family. I think once we move (in a couple months), we will narrow our toys down to the following:

*wooden blocks
*cars/trucks (some Hot Wheels, some wooden, but purge most the plastic/noise ones)
*Playmobil sets (ds#2 just got a couple for his birthday yesterday and the older two love them)
*Dress-up clothes (playsilks, Halloween costumes, etc.)
*A few stuffed animals/Build-a-Bear things.
*Maybe the Little People ... I'm torn on this one and will probably keep the ones we have (we've had them for almost 6 years now since ds#1 was a baby and have thinned them down to just two sets) until ds#3 is closer to 3.

Not included in that list are books, books on CD, art supplies (ds#1 especially loves to draw), board games/games and activity books. They also each have a bike (well, ds#3 just has a little ride-on toy, but will get a balance bike when he gets a little taller), scooter and skateboard, but those stay outside in the shed. And, we also keep a fair assortment of sporting equipment outside in the shed.

It still seems like too much to me, but it is at least down to the basics that they play with on a weekly basis. Plus it all is more open-ended and crosses age differences (for instance all 3 like playing with the Playmobil stuff even if the baby's idea of "play" is a little different than his two older brothers' idea of "play" ).

We keep the wooden blocks in ds#3's old Moses Basket in the living room. Ds#1 keeps the bigger-kid Lego's in his room and ds#2 tends to keep the Duplo sized ones in his room. When we move, ds#3 and ds#2 will share a room, so combined, they will probably have the Playmobil and Duplo Lego's in their room. Each boy will probably have their collection of cars (the older two get as many Hot Wheels as can fit in their small car suitcase thing - I think it holds at most 24, though we keep it down to about 12 each ... who really needs more cars than that?). It's the Playmobil stuff that I need to figure out how to store on their bookcase/cubbie while keeping the accessories from getting lost.

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#9 of 14 Old 11-26-2007, 02:57 PM
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I'm in the process of trying to figure it out as well. I have already gone through DS's toys once and gotten rid of a huge bag. mostly of old infant toys he no longer needed/used. Now I need to get rid of some of his toys now that he just can't use them all and some of them are just not necessary. I am going to buy him a few newer wooden/natural toys and try to weed out so many of the ugly cheapy MIC (made in china) crap.

I just find that if there is so much stuff in the toy box that he can't figure out what to play with and everything gets dumped out and then it's just a big mess. So I am going to try and make a few small bins with a variety of toys and then rotate it out every day.
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#10 of 14 Old 11-26-2007, 03:11 PM
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Right now I do a toy rotation... my son is 20 months old and when he is bored of the toys we have out I'll switch them. Right now he has out:

all his books (about 15)
10 wooden blocks (for some reason more than 10 turns them into projectiles)
5 balls of different sizes
1 toy truck

So far those are what he's had out for two months and there are no signs of boredom yet.

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#11 of 14 Old 11-27-2007, 02:20 PM
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None. Seriously, imo a child doesn't actually NEED any toys. Plenty of fun stuff to do and explore and learn with and have fun with indoors and out.

So... that is pretty much the guiding principle in toy management. I agree keeping them in rotation is important, otherwise I actually think more is less. They just get so overstimulated and the child cares less about each toy because there are just so many. Keep a few big bins in the attic (or wherever) and only bring out X amount (i.e., the amount you have room for in a clutter-free and easily manageable way!) at a time. I don't think anyone needs to apologize to their children for not having a room filled to the brim with toys, kwim? And in fact it can be a great learning opportunity about values. HTH.
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#12 of 14 Old 11-30-2007, 09:08 AM
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So the ONE big lesson I've learned here (among the others) is that me, the grown up, has to do the culling! I've been "asking" my dd what she wants to keep and what she wants to donate. Well duh! She wants to keep EVERYTHING! She'll dig out some small little obscure thing that doesn't even begin to make a dent!

I've been trying to downsize her toys for oh...EVER! I went overboard in the beginning I guess! I didn't think she had a lot left but my sister tells me she really does and I'm in denial. So when she's at ther dad's next weekend, I'm going to go through the room. I've explained that before Christmas, we need to clean out the room. I've already put the Dora Dollhouse on Craig's List (it's pre-recall - whatever that really means. Probably from the same manufacturer anyway). But I am trying to get rid of the "made in china" stuff that made it's way into the house via grandma! :

Children will play with whatever they have on hand. I think it becomes too many toys when you're tripping all over them or can't find a place to store them!

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#13 of 14 Old 11-30-2007, 05:07 PM
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We just did a major declutter of toys and now DS wants to declutter more. He has already decided what he wants to keep. So after we do a final declutter, we will have:

*An erector set
*wooden blocks
*wooden tool set
*shelf of games and puzzles
*shelf of books
*wooden play-doh tools
*small RC car
*basket of Hot Wheels
*basket of dress-up items

It all fits on a 9 hole cubby shelf that DS has in his room.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" --Leonardo Da Vinci
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#14 of 14 Old 11-30-2007, 11:45 PM - Thread Starter
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1 room down, thanks ladies!! You all help so much with this, just the motivation and assurance that it would all be ok ~Just bc I'm working through this clingy thing with toys. Anyway our solution was to get down to favorites and then split it in half. She'll rotate through those periodically. I'm now turning my attention to ds's room. His items are large bc he's younger so he has big chunky toys. I think they might present more of a challenge as far as appearance of organization... but I'm making progress YEAH!!

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