How to keep a child’s interest in their old toys for a long time


Quite often, parents despair when their child loses interest in their toys. This often applies to game props that act as puzzles – the child understands the principle and, accordingly, loses interest. Aesthetic appeal can also extinguish a child’s attraction to a once-beloved stuffed animal. Today, we will figure out whether it is worth rushing to the store for new toys or whether to give existing ones a second chance.

How many toys should a child have?

Infants usually only need a few rattles in reserve, as they are more interested in getting attention from adults. As toddlers begin to engage in solo play, exploring the world through play, this is when the problem of losing interest in old play props occurs.

Research conducted by the University of Toledo (USA) showed that children do not necessarily need a large number of toys in reserve. The essence of the experiment was as follows: children aged 1.5 to 2.5 years were given a choice of 4 or 16 game props. Scientists monitored the children’s play process and noted how many toys were used. The results showed that children playing with only 4 items demonstrated greater interest in those toys.

The researchers came to the following conclusion: “The minimum number of toys helps children concentrate better on the object at hand. Thus, children are able to show their creative imagination and discover the toy from a different angle.”

Of course, this does not mean that a child should be deprived of the joy of buying new toys – as the child grows, they should discover the world through new games. To avoid spoiling the child and not giving in to their every whim, let’s figure out how to keep their interest in their old toys.

How to properly change toys?

Every parent can learn the art of alternating toys. You can switch them every day or every week – it all depends on the type of play equipment. The only nuance is that the child should be left with the toy for a sufficient amount of time to fully explore its functional capabilities, but not lose interest in it. As a rule, a week is the optimal period for a child to learn a toy. Some items deserve more attention. For example, a building set: depending on the complexity of the structure, a child can be interested in this type of leisure activity for weeks. Let the child fully build the structure, and then put the set aside for a while. After a short break, give them the parts again – the child may come up with a completely different approach to building the object.

Should rotating toys be hidden from the child?

It is very important that the child does not know the location of the toys that are subject to rotation. Otherwise, there will be no point in such rotation. Create a designated area with containers, sorting toys by purpose or any convenient principle for you. If a child is attached to a particular toy in a special way, it should not be removed to a hiding place. When it comes to some electronic device that can cause addiction, it is necessary to agree with the child on the time spent with it.

What type of toys can be not rotated?

There is a category of toys that can remain freely available to the child on a permanent basis. This can be a doll or kitchen set, a farm, a theater, or a toy stroller. This category of toys implies the manifestation of the child’s imagination and, accordingly, the development of creative abilities. Engaging in the game process, children develop speech and communication skills, learn the names of objects, and acquire other abilities, depending on the type of toy. Therefore, carefully analyze what you will hide from the child.

Should toy rotation be discussed with the child?

Undoubtedly, it is important to explain the significance of the chosen strategy to the child. Moreover, it is necessary to discuss the schedule of toy rotation, which will be suitable for both you and the child, to avoid conflicts on this issue in the future. It is recommended to base the toy rotation strategy from early childhood. Thus, the child will get used to the fact that this rule applies in your family, and the moment of waiting for a particular toy will stimulate their interest – the child will not even think of asking you to buy something new.

Why is attachment to a toy important?

Here are some arguments in favor of minimalism when it comes to toys:

  • Improved focus: when a child has too many toys, their attention becomes scattered. They stop appreciating the abundance of toys they have. Unfortunately, this behavior pattern can carry over to the child’s personal belongings as they grow older.
  • Teaching care: when a child has too many toys, they may not learn to value what they have. They may think, “This one is broken, I’ll just get another one.” Being spoiled with toys won’t teach a child to appreciate what they’re given. This applies to toys now, but later it can apply to more serious things.
  • Boosting creativity: minimalism in toys forces a child to come up with new ways to play with them. Even if a toy breaks, the child will try to revive it because they know their parents won’t just buy them a new one.
  • Eliminating selfishness: constantly giving a child new toys can lead to them becoming spoiled. They may start to take advantage of their parents and manipulate them in the future.

From this, we can conclude that having an abundance of toys is a myth when it comes to a child’s overall development.

We suggest alternating toys as an effective way to keep a child interested in their old toys. Remember, the number of toys doesn’t reflect the quality of the play experience.

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