If your kids are anything like mine, they likely have a hoard of toys that would put a dragon’s treasure trove to shame. Quite likely, your kids don’t even play with half the things they already own, yet they constantly ask for new toys. What’s a frugal parent to do?
Well, you could get rid of the old toys they don’t play with and spend a small fortune on new toys. Alternatively, you could make their old toys feel new again. This is so much simpler than it sounds, I promise! To get you started, I’m sharing some of my favorite ways to help renew my kids’ old toys.
Special Occasions Only
This is my favorite toy renewal option, honestly. There are a couple ways I’ve seen this one done, and each works just beautifully for renewing kids’ appreciation of forgotten toys.
- Option A: Divide your children’s toys up. Place them in boxes and leave on or two boxes out for kids to play with. The rest, place in the garage, attic, wherever, and rotate the boxes out each month.
- Option B: Divide the toys up again, but this time,only bring the stored toys out when your children have guests over or for some other special occasion.
My kids aren’t much for having friends over, so I went for option a, personally, but Option B works wonders with my social butterfly niece.
Wash It Up
Sometimes, kids lose interest in their toys because the toy looks old. It’s not bright and shiny anymore. Perhaps the colors have faded, or dirt and dust have hidden the appeal of a once-loved toy. Renew your child’s love for these toys by simply washing them. A basin of soapy water and dish rag can bring life back to blocks, action figures, and other small toys, while a run through the wash may revitalize an old stuffed animal.
Just Add Water
We bought a water table not too long ago, and much to my surprise, my children started digging out toys we hadn’t played with in months to float through the channels of the table. As it turns out, children love to play in the water, and they love to see what happens to various items when they put them in the water. Just monitor carefully what your children want to use, and spend an afternoon renewing toys with a little bit of water fun.
Bring the Pieces Together
When I can’t find all the pieces to a puzzle, I usually get rid of it. Similarly, when my children cant’ find all the pieces to a toy, they no longer want to play with it. It’s missing part of what made it fun. Sometimes, little things get vacuumed up or stepped on, swept up, or otherwise irrevocably lost. More often, I’ve found, pieces simply get buried in the toy box. By organizing, and even categorizing, the toys, you can find those missing pieces and watch your children fall in love with those old toys all over again.
Give It a Story
Perhaps your children have armless, legless, or otherwise injured action figures or dolls. Maybe they have a stuffed bunny missing an eye, or a car whose wheels have gone by the wayside. Or perhaps they have toys in excellent condition and are still bored out of their minds with them. Don’t throw these toys out or put them in the donation bin! Encourage your child’s creativity instead by helping them make up stories to go with these toys.
Change the Scenery
Have you ever noticed, in waiting rooms and such, that the toys in the bin may be the same toys you have at home, but your children are much more excited about these toys in a waiting room? Sometimes, simply changing the scenery of where your child plays can renew their fascination with old toys. Pack a backpack full of toys they no longer seem interested in and take it with you to the park. I keep a bag of such toys in my trunk now after trying this and my children are so excited each time we go to play with these toys they’d long since forgotten about!
That old doll can quickly become a new one all over again by changing her dress, adding a bow, or adding some costume jewelry. You can even dress up an old train set with cotton balls for the holiday, or add some pizzazz to your child’s blocks to make them look new. Accessorizing your child’s old toys can be easy, fun, and very rewarding.
There’s no need to spend a fortune on new toys your child will tire of just as quickly as they did the ones they already have. A simple washing, accessorizing, or even just a new perspective can breathe life back into those toys they were so bored with.
What do you think of our simple tricks to renew old toys? Do you have any toy renewal tricks up your sleeve that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to share these ideas with other parents!