Children love toys. Toys can help a child learn and the right toys will stimulate their imagination. Hopefully while your child is happy playing you can get time to do some chores or even take a break for a while. However, toys can be expensive. Some are suitable for only a short time and then the child has moved past that stage. Here are a few ways to save money on toys-
1. Make use of the local toy library if there is one in your area.
Not only does your child get to play with a variety of toys for free but it is a good chance to see what toys your child really enjoys. This can help you decide which toys to buy as presents.
2. Before outlaying a high price for a toy, check noticeboards, newspapers and online sites such as Gum tree to see if you are able to buy it second hand.
3. Toys which are robust, versatile and likely to be used for more than a year, or by more than one child are good investments even if the price seems high initially. On the other hand, cheap copies can be a waste of money. If the parts of a construction toy aren’t going to click together properly your child will be disappointed. Likewise, if the toy breaks easily you will have a sad child on your hands.
4. Encourage outdoor play by providing some suitable toys. A sandpit is a wonderful item. Playing in sand can be very calming. If cats are likely to use the sand pit, cover it with a tarp weighted down with bricks when it is not in use.
5. Affordable toys for a sand pit can be bought at discount shops. In addition, all sorts of plastic kitchen utensils can be bought from op shops and used in the sand pit.
6. Some great toys can be found at op shops. If they have survived long enough to be donated to an op shop they must be sturdy. Sometimes baby clothes bought from an op shop will fit larger dolls, teddy bears etc and are cheaper than specially made dolls’ clothes. Garage sales and fetes are other good places to find second hand toys.
7. Let your child make a cubby or put up a tent. This may be as simple as an old sheet or blanket stretched over a rope.
8. Old fashioned toys like bean bags to play catch with can be made at home from scraps of fabric. Use different types of fabric like corduroy, fleecy and satin to give different textures. Use some cheap stuffing or an old pillow or cushion to fill the bags, or you can use rice, beans or split peas for a heavier bag. You are only limited by your imagination.
9. Young kids love big cardboard boxes that appliances such as washing machines come in. They can make them into houses, trucks and all sorts of things. This type of play is good for stimulating the imagination. When your child is no longer interested, you can break the box up and put it in your recycling bin.
10. Video games and similar can be traded at game stores.
In spite of what toy manufacturers and toy stores would like us to believe, children don’t need heaps of toys. Sometimes having too many toys is overwhelming and makes it hard for children to find what they want.