Child psychologist Kay Redfield once said, “Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.”

Indeed, playtime is an integral and essential part of our children’s development, and toys are a big part of our children’s play.

boy playing with blocks

The toys our children play with teach them about the world and about themselves. As they play, learning takes place, although not quite in the academic ways we would think! Cause and effect, opposites, waiting for a turn, and balance are just some of the vital lessons your little ones are learning through play.

Wise parents ration the number of toys that children have access to at any one time. Instead of filling your child’s bedroom with toys, intentionally limit the number of toys in the room, so that your child will play ‘deep’ with each toy, rather than taking a ‘hit-and-run’ approach. Rotate their current stash of toys instead of putting everything out there at one shot.

Most of our children do have way too many toys. In fact, most of us have been blessed with so much stuff that we hoard unopened gifts in the storeroom, to be given away to other children on Christmas or birthdays! Come on, hands up, I know for a fact that I’m not the only one who does this!

Aside from the fact that your child will likely be given more toys than he needs in his lifetime, we parents often confess that we cannot help but splurge on that expensive Barbie doll or Hot Wheels car for our precious one every once in a while. And, so, the mountain of toys grows relentlessly, until such time as we decide to do a ruthless spring cleaning, and bundle off the lot to charity.

Now, we’re definitely not saying you shouldn’t give to charity.

But before you masking tape down the lids of those boxes, or race out to buy the newest toy on the block, here are a few other options you can consider:

#1 Give it all away

While it’s true that the less fortunate in our society would welcome your annual donation of your children’s old toys, games and books, you can also consider giving the items your children have outgrown to family members or friends who are expecting a baby or who have children younger than yours.

This saves the parents money, time and effort (provided they are happy with hand-me-downs in the first place, of course), and is a great way to teach your child social awareness and to cultivate a thankful and generous spirit in them. Help them to take stock of how many toys they have and to recognize that they have been so loved; encourage them to give even some of their favourites away, knowing that another little boy or girl will come to love it as their own.

#2 Meet & Swap

Organize a meet-and-swap party for all your mummy friends (or couples) where they can bring their children’s pre-loved toys for everyone else to browse and make mutually beneficial swaps! The adage “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” could very well hold true.

You can even make the most of the occasion by asking the dads and mums to bring along other items they’d like to swap as well, like clothes, bags, tech gadgets, household items etc. Just be sure to specify a limit to how many boxes each can bring or your house will be too cramped for comfort!

#3 Rent-that-toy!

There are several websites where you are rent toys for your children. This makes a lot of economical sense, especially for toys that are age appropriate for a very limited time frame. For example, your baby may only need/want the bouncer or walker for a couple of months, and renting one will definitely be much cheaper than splashing out on a brand new one!

Besides, kids thrive on novelty and variety when it comes to toys, so rotating toys regularly can help maintain or renew their interest. Renting means you can afford to use a different activity table or kitchen set each month – fun for baby and convenient for you! And rental sites are a great resource for kids’ parties as well.

where to get pre-loved toys

Check out these sites:

By Dorothea Chow

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