By Hallie Bulkin
It is THAT time of year when you can REALLY break the bank on buying new toys, even with all of the black Friday deals and holiday sales on the horizon. So how do you save $ money $ during the holiday season? Here’s a simple answer:
Learn to TOY-CYCLE and REIGN IT IN
First, you can buy one big gift and a few smaller gifts. After all, your toddler probably will play with the new toy for about 5 minutes and then move on to something else. That’s just the nature of being a toddler! Occasionally, your child will find a toy that they latch on to (Elsa or Ana, anyone?), but that comes and goes in phases (along with new Disney and Pixar movies, am I right?).
Second, before you call me the Grinch, go check out how many toys your child has never opened or played with from prior gift receiving occasions (holidays, birthdays, etc.). Put these in a pile and calculate in your head how much these toys cost and how little they get used. If you have the heart to part with them, donate the unopened toys to children in need! I guarantee they will be ever so grateful for these toys and your child won’t even know they are gone (especially since they never opened and/or played with the toy). If you choose to keep them for your children, that is totally okay, but please…CYCLE them throughout the upcoming year!
No, don’t throw them in the recycling bin…cycle them in and out of the toy room. I do this in therapy with children to keep their interest from week-to-week. I will have a few of their favorite toys remain constant but I will cycle in new toys that the children have never seen before or that they haven’t seen in 3 months. This concept of toy-cycling is like introducing new toys into the mix and is JUST as exciting for your child as receiving a new toy. Give it a try!
Here’s a super important tip: When you hide the toys away, put them in bins up high on a shelf or in a closet so your child cannot see or reach these toys in the months that they are being cycled out of the main play area. Don’t let them see them until it is time to cycle them back in! And don’t let them know that you are hiding toys, they will catch on if you let them see you take them down. Cycle them in and out after your child goes to sleep!
So now that you know what toy cycling is (and what to do with all of those unopened and unused toys from prior holidays and birthdays), who is going to purchase a smaller set of toys and give this concept a try with the “old toys” this holiday season?
P.S. Don’t forget, unused toys can always be donated to children in need (especially the little ones who spend their holidays in shelters and hospitals). Make a child’s holiday season brighter this year! 🙂