practicing what I preach :: toy library

Old-time readers of my blog will know that I love the book Simplicity Parenting; I wrote a book review about it for the blog almost a year ago.  In one section of the book the author suggests starting a toy library.  Try putting out only a few toys at at time for your child to play with and then switching up the available toys every few weeks or so.

Well, I’ve been trying to incorporate this idea into my parenting for awhile now, and anyone will tell you that I’ve been less than faithful.  However, on Christmas Eve night, as I crawled around the floor on my hands and knees tidying up Lena’s toys (as I do every evening… and after every nap… and after we leave one room for another…), my husband shook his head and said, “What about that toy library, honey?”

I looked at the present Lena had just opened and the pile of presents to be opened tomorrow over the next several days and agreed with him.  I dumped out her toy basket and removed everything except a relatively new alphabet puzzle and the gift she had just opened.  Everything else went into her toy library bin.  Many of the smaller items had to be organized into Ziploc bags.

(Do you see that white garbage bag under all these toys?  That is full of infant toys, which I’ll be breaking out at the end of January for our new baby!  And so the toy multiplication continues….)

The blue bin went back up on her closet, to be taken down again in a couple weeks, when Christmas toys will be put away and old favorites will be pulled out again.

By the time I was finished (not even 15 minutes later), all that remained in her toy basket was the puzzle, a few balls, and her new baby doll and accessories.  Oh, and the box the baby came in, which I think makes a nice little cradle.  Simplicity parenting, right?!

Have you ever done something like this for your kids?  Or would you like to when you have some? :-)

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6 Responses to practicing what I preach :: toy library

  1. Sarah Melvey December 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    Just finished the same project at our house :). I’ve tried to keep up with rotating toys…and I feel like we’ve done fairly well…but every so often I have to do a major audit of our downstairs toy box :). The best part – “shopping” from your own toy stash every few weeks! We do the same with books, rearranging and moving from downstairs to upstairs. Keeps things fresh – and definitely simple :)

  2. Carrie December 28, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    This is a great idea!

  3. Alica December 28, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    I like this idea…wish I would’ve done it when my kids were little. It’s a little late, now that they’re teenagers! :)

  4. Pieces of Sunshine December 29, 2012 at 5:06 am #

    As Christmases and birthdays come and go and more children arrive, the toy dilemma grows. When our children were mostly young I would leave only one box of toys out at a time with two more put away to rotate, effectively making it a toy library. Toys with lots of bits (like Lego and Kinex) live in my bedroom in their own crates and only come out with permission, one at a time. We also have a cupboard in our lounge room specifically for puzzles, board games, Duplo and wooden blocks. The cupboard is great for easy access when we have visitors also. When we had our first child we had so very little it all fitted in one small basket. Now that we have 8 children aged 4 to 20 we find toys are far less often played with as they have each other.

    • Becca December 29, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

      I am hoping more and more that the toys become “each other” as we add children and they grow up with imaginations! I remember the hours upon hours my three siblings and I would spend playing with my plastic toy kitchen and a few dishes. Can’t wait to watch my own children at play like this one day!

  5. Jen January 3, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    Yes, we have two toy bins. One in his room, one in the living room. I just offloaded a bunch upstairs. And hid a few puzzles, so that they are “new” in a few months.

    We don’t have a lot of toys, and he only got two new things for Christmas, so we do try hard to keep it simple and mostly focus on books.

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