At our house, by summertime, we always had too many toys. Between birthdays, Christmas and maybe a few random purchases, the toy box would be overflowing. What to do? We started every summer with weeding out the toys. It was kind of like a beginning of summer game. Here’s how we did it.
- To start out with, designate a special area to put all the toys. You can use a playpen, a blanket on the floor, or the bed. Pull out every toy from the toy box, hanging net, under the bed, wherever toys are kept and put them in this designated area.
- Look at the pile of toys with your child and thank God for giving your family so much.
- Have your child pull out his top ten (or whatever number you choose) toys and put them where they belong (back in the toy box, on a shelf, in a hanging net, etc.).
- Have your child pick out his next top ten toys and put them where they belong. Continue this process until the various toy storage areas are full. Once an area is full, your child may not put any more toys there.
- When all the storage areas are full, there will probably still be toys in the designated area. Provide your child with a list of charities to donate them to and respect your child’s choice.
- Talk about the children who will receive the toys. How do you think they’ll feel? What will their faces look like when they see them? What will they do when they get them? Pray for these children and the joy they will have playing with their “new” toys.
- Marvel at the number of toys your child still has and give thanks for them.
- Put the toys you’re donating into boxes or large trash bags to take to the donation site. Bring your child with you when you drop them off. Do this as soon as possible after weeding out the toys to avoid the temptation of pulling toys back out.
The good thing about weeding out toys this way is that your child still gets to keep all his favorites and the decisions on what to get rid of and what to keep are all his. I’d add one other suggestion. If there is a special toy or two that your child especially loves, they should be exempt from the weeding out. These would be the ones your child sleeps with every night or takes everywhere, or maybe one that has special sentimental value to him or to you.
There are lots of ways to weed out toys. A friend used to take half the toys and put them away until July, when she’d bring them out again. I’ve heard of others who “rotate” the toys,” while others have yard sales and let the kids keep the proceeds or use it for a mission project.