How to keep toys fresh and exciting during the long winter months

Pley toy rental
Tomorrow is the start of our school district's five-day, mid-winter break. Families refer to it as "ski week", but we don't have any plans to ski or travel. We'll be spending it here at home, which means the kids will play with toys, mess up the house, and complain about being bored.... all within the first 2 hours. That scenario will repeat infinitely for the entire break (or at least it will feel like it!).

Do your kids complain about boredom even though they have a million toys? Honestly, I feel like the more toys they have, the quicker they get bored with them. Kids can get overwhelmed when presented with too many choices, and it can be all too easy to get into a rut, especially during these long winter months. Here are six ways to help your child keep their toys fresh and fun:

Rotate toys

You know the saying: absence makes the heart grow fonder. Move some toys to the attic or garage; every so often, swap them out with toys already in the toy box. Your child will welcome the reappearance of the toys, and won't have time to miss the old toys because they'll be so busy playing with the "new" ones.

Play with toys in new ways

Help your child get creative with their toys and give them new life. It's okay to disregard the instructions sometimes! Suggest combining toys that normally don't get played with together. The Mousetrap game that everyone is bored with can become an obstacle course for LEGO minifigs. That Hot Wheels race track can become a ski slope for Barbie dolls, and stuffed animals can inhabit a pretend zoo staffed by American Girl dolls.

Invite other kids to come and play

Having a friend over changes the dynamic of play, because friends bring in new ideas... and new toys! Often all that's required for a child to show renewed interest in a toy is to have a friend show interest in the toy as well.

Take a break from toys

Challenge your kids to see if they can survive without toys for a week. Their natural creativity will come to the forefront, and they'll find ways to play with sticks, stones, and snow. Siblings can play hand clap games or hide-and-seek, or put on a play. Ordinary household items can become toys -- think couch forts and pretend kitchens!

Organize a toy swap

On your next group playdate, have everyone bring five toys to swap, and have each child pick 5 toys to borrow for a week. Kids are happy because they get to play with five new toys, and parents are happy because they didn't need to spend anything or make more room in the toy box. Have parents agree on the selection process before hand (to minimize hurt feelings in case everyone wants the same toy), and make sure all toys are properly labeled (so they eventually make their way back to their owners).

Rent toys

Have you thought about a toy rental service? I didn't even know such a thing existed until I was introduced to Pley -- and now that I have, I think it's the perfect way to expose your kids to new toys (without the financial commitment) and them interested.  It's like Netflix for toys -- sign up at, select the monthly subscription plan you want, make a list of the toys your child would like to try out, then sit back and wait until the first set arrives. Keep the toys for as long as your child is interested in them. When your child is ready to try something new, send it back in Pley's pre-paid mailing box, and get the next toy on your list. Your child gets all of the fun without the commitment, clutter, or expense.
Pley toy rental

Disclosure: This is a compensated post. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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