Declutter with a Purpose: How to Teach Kids About Donating and Recycling Toys

‘Tis the season.


Photo by: Hero Images

Hero Images

And just like that, Christmas is around the corner once again! With the holiday comes a lot of happiness, new family memories and new toys – some of which won’t be played with for more than a day and others that will last for years to come.

The problem with all these news toys is that they take up room and add to the clutter in your home. The more toys you have, the messier your home can get, and the less your children might play with each. Studies have shown that children who have access to fewer toys are sparked with creativity. So now is the perfect time to recruit your kids and see what toys they still love to play with, and which have been forgotten.

Decluttering your home of toys before Christmas helps to keep the toy invasion away and is a great opportunity to teach them that they don’t need a room full of toys to have a great time! You can even turn this into an educational experience and teach your children about the benefits of donating, reusing and recycling toys.

4 Tips to Turn Decluttering into a Learning Experience

Talk to Your Children About Their Toys

Children understand more than you think. In a world where we are focused on having more and more, it’s important to teach our kids that their value doesn’t come from what they have nor how much they have, but on who they are.

Talk to your kids about decluttering and getting rid of the toys that they are not playing with anymore. Take this opportunity to talk about our environment and how most toys end up in a landfill for hundreds of years, creating more pollution.

Encourage them to choose better toys for Christmas–ones that they will play with for months and hopefully years to come.

Talk with Your Children About Donating Toys

There are many toys that are still in great shape and that your children might not be playing with anymore. Encourage them to donate all the toys that don’t get as much attention.

However, remind them that donating isn’t always about giving away the things we don’t want. Talk to your kids about giving away toys they love, too. This is a great opportunity to talk about spreading kindness!

Place a big plastic bin in your children’s play area and ask them to put in toys they would love to give to other children who may not have as many as they do. Leave the bin out for a week and remind your children every day to add toys to the bucket.

Create Separate Piles

The easiest way to declutter a playroom is by creating piles for specific types of toys. You can use laundry baskets for this.

Create 3 piles:

  • One for toys that they will donate.

  • One toys that are broken or don’t work. (You will later go over this pile with your children to see what can be recycled.)

  • One for toys that can be reused in other ways or that can be turned into a craft. This encourages your children to think outside of the box and be more creative. It also teaches them how to be more resourceful with what they have, instead of simply throwing everything away.

Figure Out What Can be Recycled and Talk to Your Children About the Importance of Recycling

Reducing waste helps our environment, minimizes pollution and even creates more jobs. Recycling toys is not hard; many toy companies like Hasbro and Crayola have free toy recycling programs. You can also recycle most of the toys with this Zero Waste Toy Box program.

Go over your pile of broken toys and make sure you recycle all that can be recycled. Once you’re left with your children’s absolute favorite toys, it’s time to talk about Christmas gifts. Ask what they would like for Christmas and get toys they will truly use and love. You can even ask your family members and friends to all chip in for one bigger toy instead of lots of little trinkets.

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