There are two sides to this topic. How to make toys last longer, physically, and how to ensure your children will be interested in them for years to come.
We have 4 children and rarely ever buy new toys. That’s because we do 3 things that help make our toys last longer, and ensures our children still enjoy them year after year.
How to Make Toys Last Longer
These aren’t just frugal tips, but ways to preserve those favorite toys that you may want to give to your grandchildren someday.
1. Maybe you’ve already heard of rotating toys, but it really works. Toys that you rotate last longer and children won’t loose interest. Simply create two piles, one with toys that are classic, like building toys, art supplies, and Fisher-Price Smart Stages toys and the other pile with toys that your children loose interest in quickly, like dolls, stuffed animals, and figurines.
Put all the toys into medium sized bins and leave 1-2 bins from each pile out. Then store the rest out of the sight of your children. Rotate your toys every 1-4 months. Classic toys will require less rotating.
2. Buy toys that last. Think quality over quantity. This is easier said than done. The most difficult age to buy toys are the baby stage. They grow and develop dramatically in the first 2-yrs of life. It’s important to offer lots of learning content in these early years. So, try to find toys that will grow with your baby.
That’s why we love how Fisher-Price has added Smart Stages to their Laugh and Learn line.
This new feature allows their toys to grow with your child. The three settings match your baby’s developmental levels.
First you’ll set your baby’s age and then use the controls on the front to pick a level. Each level offers new learning content to keep your children engaged.
Level 1 – Explore – is for 12 months and covers first words and the sounds spark baby’s curiosity. Level 2 – Encourage – is for 18 months and asks simple questions and gives directions to follow. Level 3 – Pretend – is for 24 months+ and it engages with imaginative fun and early roll play.
My baby is on Level 1. He is more interested in moving the toy back and forth than listening to what it says, but he is learning simple cause and effect even if he doen’t understand the concepts just yet.
I watch another baby sometimes and can change the level for her since she is a little older. She loves level 2 because of the songs and questions.
Even my 2-year-old stays engaged with level 3 and my 4-year-old loves to use it as a chair for her baby dolls. It really is a versatile toy that I can see us using for years to come.
You can find Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Smart Stages products at major retailers like Walmart, Amazon, Target, and Toys-R-Us. Save up to $5 on any Smart Stages Laugh and Learn Toy with a coupon from Coupons.com.
3. Finally, keep indoor toys in and outdoor toys out. My kids love to bring toys outside, but they get muddy and damaged from the weather. So, we bought some real tools, like shovels, watering cans, and small buckets for play outside.
They will last a lot longer and are useful. We also encourage our children play with nature; dirt, plants, and rocks make great outdoor toys.
Do you have any tips for preserving toys? Leave a comment below!