Tuesday, 25 June 2013
Breathe some new life into old toys
Whether you buy your children tons of toys or keep it to a limit, chances are sometimes they will still claim they have nothing to play with. Maybe there's a deep toy box where only the toys near the top really get pulled out to be played with or maybe there are so many toys, everywhere, that your child can't see beyond the clutter. In any case, it likely doesn't mean you need to go out and buy new toys but you may need to breathe some new life into old toys and I have a few suggestions of how to do so.
Keep out a selection of toys and pack some away. Every few months, rotate and bring out some of the toys you packed away. This helps with clutter as well as interest levels. There'll be renewed enthusiasm for toys your children haven't seen or played with in a while.
Change your arrangement of the toys. If you have something big out all the time, like a car garage or a doll's house, move it to a different place, maybe even a different room. If you have a big toy box, do the same, move it to a different spot. It may even make it more accessible and your child will be newly aware of what is in the room, perhaps noticing and taking an interest in something that's always been there but now is more visible to them.
Provide a new context for the toys. Summer time is a great opportunity to take indoor toys outside and enjoy them in a different way. Dolls or soft toys could be given a bath in a paddling pool (getting them washed and cleaned at the same time as playing with them). You could make a simple outdoor road for cars by sticking masking tape to a non-grassy area of your garden and then bring cars out to drive on there. Be imaginative and think about new uses or scenes you could create for playing with existing toys.
Set out a couple of different play areas. Just like at nursery school, how they have different toys and activity stations for the children, you can do the same at home. Sometimes I do a quick Lego building and leave out for my son ready for when he comes home from nursery. He sees it and wants to engage with it and play with his Lego.. You could put out a puzzle on a table, some colouring, simple paper and stuff to glue onto it, set out two lanes of cars in the middle of the room, sit some dolls/soft toys in a circle with a tea set. You get the idea....
Do you already do some of the above? Do you have any other tips to add for renewing interest in old toys?