Guest post from Katie of Embracing a Simpler Life
It’s the same old story; a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.
My kids, and most kids I presume, have an over-abundance of toys. Nonetheless, they eventually lose interest. There they stand, bored, surrounded by a room full of delights. We’re left wondering what else we could buy to keep them entertained.
Over the years, I’ve resisted this temptation out of both necessity and principle. Instead, I’ve experimented with how to re-interest them in their toys.
Here is what I’ve found helpful:
1. Give toys a sabbatical.
This tried and true method is one of the best I’ve found. Box up toys and stick them in closet. After a few months, trade them out for others. This takes only a small effort and works wonders in reestablishing interest.
2. Pretend play with your children.
Kids need new ideas for old toys, not new toys for old ideas. Fifteen minutes of fully engaged, imaginative play on your part will likely produce hours of new material for your kids.
They never imagined that basket as an oven or those blocks as cake. They never saw the afghan as a picnic blanket or the stacking cups as teacups. Open their eyes to new possibilities through pretend play.
3. Assign toys to various different spots around the house.
Restricting toys to certain areas allows children to change environments throughout the day. My daughter plays dress up in her room, cars in her brother’s room, puzzles in the family room, coloring and stickers in the kitchen, etc.
Also, feel free to switch toys from room to room every so often. Seeing them in a new environment gives toys new life.
4. Reinvent them.
Figure out which toys would work in the bathtub, even if that’s not their original purpose. Which would work with play dough? Allow children to explore new applications of their existing toys.
5. Make accessories for toys together.
One of my fondest memories of my grandmother was when she and I made a baby doll bed from an empty oatmeal canister. This was a special memory, totally free, and it piqued my interest in baby dolls for months to come.
My dad tells stories of taping cardboard boxes to his Radio Flyer wagon and decorating them to look like race cars. Simple paper and cardboard accessories can be a great way to expand the use of toys without buying new ones.
How do you build your kids’ interest in old toys?
Hi! I’m Katie. I’m a young-ish, stay-at-home mom of two adorably-fun little ones, and I live a life devoted to Jesus. I love to write, and I focus my energy on living simply and well. My husband works for our church as a tech guy, I blog at Embracing a Simpler Life, and together we have a photography business.