Making toys last can help save money, reduce waste, and promote sustainability. Here are some tips to extend the life of your toys:
1. Quality matters:
- First and foremost, quality matters. Invest in well-made, durable toys from reputable brands. While they may be more expensive initially, they will almost always last longer and can be passed down to younger siblings or friends. They also retain their value in resale markets. Think PlanToys and Lovevery as excellent quality toy brands.
2. Choose sustainable materials:
- Select brands that use sustainably harvested and renewable wood to make their toys.
- An added benefit of these brands is that they also use non-toxic finishes, so you don’t have to worry about chipped paint or damaged surfaces. You can buy used toys from these brands and feel confident they'll hold up as long as you need them.
3. Teach proper handling:
- While this may seem a big ask, try to teach children how to play with toys gently and responsibly. Encourage them to treat their toys with care.
4. Proper storage:
- Store toys in a clean and dry environment to prevent mold, mildew, and rust.
- Use storage bins, shelves, or toy chests to keep toys organized and protected from dust and dirt.
- Avoid overcrowding storage spaces, as this can lead to damage from pressure or friction between toys.
5. Regular cleaning:
- Follow manufacturer instructions for cleaning. Some toys can be machine-washed, while others may need to be wiped down with a damp cloth.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning materials that can damage the toy's surface.
- Check our blog post on how to clean toys.
6. Repair and maintenance:
- If a toy gets damaged, try to repair it instead of immediately discarding it. Simple fixes like sewing up a torn stuffed animal or gluing a broken piece can often extend a used toy's life.
- Write the manufacturer for spare parts or replacement pieces for toys that break. You may find that heirloom toy brands like PlanToys provide these parts for free or for the cost of shipping.
7. Age-appropriate play:
- Provide toys that are age-appropriate for children. Toys designed for older kids may have small parts or features that can be easily broken by younger children.
8. Reuse, resell, or donate:
- Reuse – what we consider most important to keep used toys in circulation and out of the waste stream.
- When children outgrow toys or lose interest in them, consider selling, donating or passing them on to friends or family. This extends the life of used toys and also reduces waste.
- Consider toy rental. Toy rental companies handle the reuse for you, ensuring that every toy is enjoyed by multiple families.
- Find a convenient consignment service. Toycycle is the premier online toy consignment service for selling used toys. They offer curbside service in select municipalities and an easy Cleanout Box service across the U.S.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your toys have a longer lifespan and provide enjoyment for children for years to come. For more ideas read PlanToys’ blog post on Increasing the Lifespan of a Toy
Eco-friendly toys from sustainable brands.