May 9

How to Manage Kid Toys (+ A List of The Toys My Daughter Actually Uses)

how to manage kid toys


A question I get asked frequently around here is what the heck do I do with all of my kid’s toys? How to manage kid toys has the potential to be a full time job in and of itself, so I get it. My best advice is to keep it as simple as physically possible. I know that kids come with a lot of stuff (like, a lot of stuff), but I tend to be of the belief that we’re all much happier with fewer better things. I really don’t think that any of us require nearly as much as we’ve been brainwashed into believing. I purge our home regularly, and my daughter’s toys are of no exception. If it doesn’t get used and loved, it finds a new home, period!

Studies have shown that kids actually get overwhelmed with more than 16 toys at their disposal. They are statistically less likely to play for any significant length of time if they have too many things vying for their attention. And I mean, I get it, because – same! So whittling things down regularly is my very best tip for managing kids toys.


We also rotate things often – I store a lot of things in her closet when not in use, and keep out only a few things at a time. Of those items, most of them are tucked into baskets in a way that everything is viewable and accessible for her without having to dig around (I love something like this for that reason – it’s wide and shallow!) Baskets are a very good friend of mine around here, let me tell you.

Another tip, for when you have the choice, try to grab the cute toys. I mean, it’s definitely not make it or break it, and we are no stranger to big ugly plastic things. But when I have the choice I absolutely take it! Tripping over a wooden rainbow somehow hurts a hair less (just me?) The best part of all is that cleaning up at the end of the day is a breeze when there’s fewer things laying around.

Lastly, I remind myself that this is just a season. There will come a day where I miss seeing her little things scattered all over our home, I’m very aware of that. And I do my best to embrace it as much as I can.

With that in mind, I thought it’d also be helpful to share the toys my daughter actually plays with, in case you’re looking for inspiration for yourself. (For reference, my daughter is 3 years old right now).

The Toys My Kid Actually Uses

1. Callico Critters

They’re all so cute and we play with many, but this particular set has kept her occupied the longest (she loves anything that has to do with taking care of babies). She slept with the tiny bunny for a good while when he first came home with us.

2. Wooden Doll House


3. Crayola Scribble Scrub Pets

I’m equally entertained by this one. You draw all over the animals with markers and then give them a bath – the colour washes off instantly – it’s great – she loves it!

4. Stuffed Bunny

She sleeps with this one every night

5. Ice Cream Counter Set

I’m a big fan of toys that can grow with her and I know she’ll continue to use this for years to come

6. Miniland Baby Doll

Owning anatomically correct dolls has always been important to me for various reasons – these ones are really cute

7. Dog Figurines

She plays with these constantly – in sensory bins, in her dollhouse, in the bath, with play d’oh… We carry a little pouch with a few of them tucked inside when we travel, go out to dinner… They’re great for imaginary play

8. Doll Bedding {& 15. Doll Bed}

Anything that helps her take care of her babies. This set is particularly cute (I love that it supports a local artist, too).

9. Toy Tea Set

One of her birthday gifts this year. We love having tea parties, but the light up waffle maker in particular is the winner here.

10. Wood Block Set

Another open ended toy that we play with regularly in so many forms. Aside from building towers and bridges, it also allows you to string beads, make a pull-car, a domino trail, it comes with little wooden people… It was designed by child development experts and it’s fantastic.

11. Wooden Rainbow

A great companion to the wood block set above. We build with them a lot. She also likes to turn these into beds for her various small babies/figurines among other things. I’m always amazed at how creative she can get with them. (Bonus: they look really cute on the shelf too).

12. Nursing Kittens Stuffy

I was surprised at how frequently she plays with this one. She’s always taking care of her various babies.

13. Raincloud bath toy

A well-seasoned mom friend of mine gave this to us when my daughter was born. We have quite a few bath toys she can chose from but she ALWAYS picks this one first. I’ve since gifted it to a number of people and for whatever reason they all say the same!

14. Wooden Kitchen Play Set.

Another great open-ended toy that keeps her entertained a ton now and (hopefully) long into the future.

15. Doll Bed

Anything that helps her take care of her babies. This set is particularly cute (I love that it supports a local artist, too).

16. This Toy Subscription

My mom gifted this to us the first year, and we’ were’re lucky to have worked with Loveevery for a couple of years since. They’re designed by child developmental experts, based on Montessori principals, and always open ended. They’re very engaging, keep her busy forever, and take the guess work out of figuring out what she needs to thrive at each stage. Plus they’re so beautifully made and of the highest quality materials. I love them so so much. Worth every penny.


Design: Lark & Linen | Photo: Heidi Lau

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  1. Neo V says:

    Thank you for your article on these nice brands.
    Do you know the French toys brand Chou du volant ? They manufacture eco-responsible toys made in France.


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