We have so many toys in our house. There are what the kids call "my toys" which are all hidden away in boxes. And of course the toys which fill their bedrooms too. Every year we have a bit of clear out, normally September time to make way for the obvious Christmas influx.
I find too many toys also has a negative impact on how they play - they can't find the toys they want to play with and there is just too much to look at that they cannot focus on a theme or game to play with and end up loding interest.
Here are some top tips I am adopting to try and reduce the number of toys we have and enable them to explore their toys more easily:
1 - Get all of the toys out, and ask the children to choose their top 10 or 20 toys. Try and encourage them to say which toys they could give away to make way for new toys.
Some children will be able to do this and some will not want to part with anything, but you will be able to see which toys they are drawn to most.
2 - Remove the toys that they don't play with, you can always keep them in the shed/loft for a few weeks to see if they are mentioned.
3 - Rota toys - have less toys out at once but rota them - every week or month bring out a different set of toys and rotate them. This keeps the children interested and it's like receiving new toys every month.
4 - Don't keep toys just because you like them - if they can be kept for posterity then great, but don't keep them out if it's more your liking of the toys rather than your child's preference.
5 - Store toys in dedicated baskets or boxes - short by themes and label the boxes so it is easy for the children to access the toys that they wish to play with. Children will also start to recognise the names of the baskets.
6 - Everytime your child gets a new toy, make sure they pass on one of their old toys - also enables children to give toys to children to maybes less fortunate or understand the meaning of charity.
7 - Look and sort through the books in the same way - what is relevent for them, what are they interested in and which books are at the right level.
8 - I have kept books a lot longer then needed due to them being given to the children by a grandparent or special relative when really these can be kept away for a later date.