I’m a huge fan of toy recycling, toy exchanging, and basically trying to figure out how we can coast on the toys we’ve bought instead of buying more. Because I am cheap.
Now, I remember that when the kids were little, I did this much more frequently. Toys would disappear and reappear mysteriously. Sometimes because I was trying to sneak them out of the house and give them to charity (which didn’t always work), but mostly because I know that if your kids haven’t seen a toy or game for a month, it’s pretty exciting to find it again. So I had a regular rotation to keep the toy joy alive.
Toy exchanges with friends are also awesome. Now, I knew this back when the kids were little. I remember going to toddler playdates and the kids would be way more excited about playing with the new toys than they were about playing with the kids, and sometimes we moms would trade a couple of toys for a week.
But I’d pretty much forgotten about it over the years, until J’s BFF was over at our house, not ready to leave because she was playing with our Magnetix. M and J like the Magnetix fine. They play with them once in a while. But J’s BFF loves-loves-loves them. And I finally wised up and said, hey, you should just take these to your house for a couple of weeks. She was thrilled and M and J didn’t care. A couple of days later I heard that the BFF and her big brother were playing with the Magnetix constantly. I felt so silly that it hadn’t occurred to me to send them to their house long ago.
I also always think about toy recycling because, back when the girls were very little, the Easter Bunny used to bring cute stuffed chicks and fluffy bunnies that were super-adorable in the baskets and the kids would love. And then, by the time the weather got warm, the thrill of the new acquisition would wear off and I’d tuck the chicks and bunnies away, and by the following Easter, the girls had forgotten them entirely and. . . ta da! They were thrilled when they appeared, as if for the first time, in their Easter baskets.
Honestly, do you think this kid’s gonna remember that bunny a year from now? She’s way too busy examining the plastic egg, anyway.
Also, on the subject of Easter, I like to ask the Easter Bunny to provide what I consider to be “outdoor essentials” for the spring: sidewalk chalk, bubbles, new playground balls, new jump ropes, potentially even a new bike or a scooter if I think one of the girls is “due” to get something, either because they’re old enough to try something new or because they’ve outgrown something else. Because that’s stuff we’d end up buying anyway, so we might as well make it into a big fabulous surprise. Although, true, then the Easter Bunny gets all the credit, but what else is new? To be a parent is to be vastly underappreciated.