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Tips for beating toy boredom

Vicki Clinebell majored in journalism at the University of Colorado, and headed an advertising agency before beginning a long career in broadcasting, spanning production and copywriting to sales and management for an ABC affiliate statio...

Banish your child's toy boredom!

Look around your toy-cluttered home and you may be seeing too much of a good thing. Fewer toys can actually fight boredom, if you choose wisely for more creative and fun play times!

Bored boy on couch

Every parent has heard their kids lament "I'm bored!" and looked in disbelief at the scattering of toys, books and games surrounding them. Surely with so many choices of things to do and toys to play with this can't be true...or can it?

What's the problem?

Your child lives in a world that is loaded with new sensory and informational stimulus bombarding them every day. Their developing brains are already kicking it up a notch to absorb all of those sights and sounds around them. Disorder, clutter, and too many toys might be overloading their systems. Yes, too many toys can mean too many choices and make it difficult for kids to just focus on play.

Less is more

As parents, our inclination might be to buy a new toy for a bored child when that reaction could actually be contributing to the problem! Look at the toys they already have with a critical eye -- some toys may be broken, and some your child may have outgrown, meaning they no longer present any challenge or creative outlet for the child.

If your child isn't drawn to a specific toy on a regular basis, purge it. Donate it, throw it away, or just put it in storage for a time. Toys can be rotated, too. Every few days, bring out something different for their play area and let them rediscover which toys they truly like. Most kids will suddenly remember favorites or find new ones amongst the toys and games they already have.

Evaluate

Take a look at what the toys you have do for your child. Are they toys that encourage imagination and creativity? The child -- not the toy -- should dictate the play. Some toys have only "one note," which can stifle creativity and leadership, hampering the play.

Toys such as blocks, construction sets, matchbox cars, arts and crafts supplies, dress-up clothes -- even cardboard boxes and flashlights -- can fuel a child's imagination and offer an unlimited amount of possibilities for play.

Playthings that require batteries and instruction manuals may be trendy and provide some initial excitement, but will soon lose their appeal. A doctor kit or a roll of butcher paper with crayons and colored pencils will actually have a longer-lasting appeal because they stimulate the child's imagination and creativity. Choosing toys that allow kids to make up their own games at their own pace will be more satisfying to the child.

Watch your child as they play, or better yet -- join in! Once you know what really interests them -- pirates, nature, art, science, construction, music, or dance -- you'll be better able to choose a few toys that spark their individual interests and talents, which will banish the boredom!

More on play time

Beat board game boredom
How to play family Olympics
Family fun night ideas for families

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