How Many Toys Should Your Child Really Have?

Many parents don't realise it but the more toys your child has, the less they will play. By decreasing the number of toys in your home, you are effectively increasing their attention span, problem-solving skills, and imaginative play.

If you're looking around your home and find yourself knee-deep in toys that don't spark joy, here are some easy and effective ways to curtail the collection and keep only what many child development experts recommend:

The 20-toy rule.

You've probably heard of it before, and some may have even laughed out loud at the idea (including myself until last year), but it's the best way of reducing clutter and helping children appreciate the value of their toys.

In a bid to tame your toy collection, ask your kid to choose 20 toys that they enjoy and give the rest away or donate them to your local charity shop, preschool or refuge centre. 

Buy open-ended toys.

Open-ended toys foster imagination and can be used and played with in many different ways, meaning kids aren't bound to one form of play. For example, wooden blocks provide endless opportunities from counting, sorting and balancing all while igniting creativity and exploration as they build colourful creations like towers, bridges and other imaginative things. 

Introduce toy rotation.

Toy rotations help keep your kids toys available to them at a manageable level. You simply chose a small selection of toys for your kids to play with and put away the rest. Every couple of weeks or even months you then swap the current toys for the ones you have stored away for them to play with. It's pretty genius if you ask me. 

How Many Toys Should Your Child Really Have?
Wooden blocks provide endless opportunities from counting, sorting and balancing all while igniting creativity and exploration

Make books accessible.

Anytime is a good time to share a book or a story, and they take up less space than most toys on the market. Books spark your child's imaginations and stimulate curiosity, so it makes sense to create a cosy corner in your home where books are freely accessible. Reading promotes brain development, builds vocabulary and the more you read to your child, the more knowledge they absorb. 

Buy fewer toys.

Ban spontaneous plastic purchases when out and about with the kids.  Another way of curbing the avalanche of unwanted junk is to introduce fiver parties where you ask guests not to buy a present but instead to put a fiver in a card so your child can put it towards a more significant gift. Or around Christmas time implement the four gift rule where you only buy your child something they want, something to wear, something they need and something to read. 

Make better choices.

And finally, instead of worrying about your child having the latest must-have things, think about how it will benefit you and your family. Does it encourage creative thinking? Will it enhance their social and emotional skills? Will it set the stage for pretend play? If not, curb it like the rest of the toys in your home that don't spark joy. 


Kellie Kearney

Kellie Kearney is a Dublin mammy of five kids aged newborn right up to nine. She loves coffee, cloth nappies, travel and sharing her every day true to life family moments on Instagram.

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