Thank you to VTech for providing products, gift card, information, and an additional giveaway gift pack.
About this time every year, I start going through my children’s toys. I have to decide which toys should stay and which ones should go to a new home. Over the past ten years as a mom, I have learned that there are many toys worth keeping because my younger kids will eventually grow into them.
Why should I spend money to buy the exact same toy again and again? It is so much easier to put my older kids’ outgrown toys into storage and pull them out when the next kid is ready for them. We have hand-me-down clothes and that works out great for saving money. I found out that hand-me-down toys work pretty much the same way.
Occasionally, I find secondhand toys at the local thrift shop or have friends who want to give us their old toys. It’s usually stuff my kids would love, but stuff that needs a little TLC. Does that ever happen to you? Want some suggestions for how to make these used toys exciting again? Read on!
Just a note: Broken toys are not worth saving. No one wants to play with broken toys. I have decided it’s okay to go ahead and toss the broken toys.
Toys in unbroken condition are perfect for passing on to another child. Hand-me-down toys are not a bad thing at all. Kids don’t even have to know they are hand-me-downs. You can easily make many old toys as fun as new ones with a few tricks. Tip: It’s all about the presentation.
Step One: Clean it up.
No matter what kind of toy it is, the first rule to making it fun again is to make it clean. Do what you can to make the toy look as close to new condition as possible. Peel off stickers, wash off dirt, whatever it takes. Magic Erasers are awesome for removing stains and can even get rid of permanent marker ink.
Once the toy is clean, it’s ready to give. If the toy is a birthday or holiday gift, you may want to spice it up a little bit by going with one of the following suggestions:
LEGOs, Building Blocks and similar construction toys.
Hang on to your plastic and wooden building toys. These kind of toys can last forever. Make them new again by gifting them in a colorful storage container with kid appeal. The storage container makes the hand-me-down toys inside special for the receiver, plus gives them a way to clean up their toys. It’s a win-win situation!
Matchbox and Hot Wheels Cars
Dolls can be tricky, especially if a previous owner has given them a hair cut. Wash and clean up the doll as best as possible. Make or buy a set of doll clothes to give it a whole new look.
Bikes get handed down a lot at my house. Sometimes a fresh coat of spray paint is all it takes to make a scratched up bike look shiny and new again. Ripped up bike seats can be patched with cool patterns of duck tape or replaced for a few bucks. If you really want to go all out, spend a few more dollars to personalize the bike with accessories like a bike bell or handlebar streamers. A mini-makeover like this can fool anyone into believing it’s a new bike…not an older brother’s hand-me-down.
Tablets for Kids.
Tablets for kids are a good investment in an educational toy. Kid tablets like the VTech InnoTab are sturdy enough to last for years. Reignite interest in a tablet and/or make it feel new again by giving it along with one of the latest game cartridges.
VTech InnoTab Kids Tablet and Learning Cartridges
We have the InnoTab 1 and the InnoTab 2. Even though there are newer InnoTabs on the market, the newest learning cartridges are still compatible with our older model tablets. It’s time to pass our InnoTabs on to my younger boys – and all it takes to get them interested is an age-appropriate learning cartridges they have never played before.
We received three of the latest VTech Learning Cartridges for our review:”Early Learning” (1-3 years) cartridges called My First Nursery Rhymes and Disney Winnie the Pooh along with a “Reading” cartridge (3-6 years) called Classic Stories.
My 3- and 5-year-old boys both really liked learning the nursery rhymes. There are 25 popular nursery rhymes like “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” – tons of them you will recognize when you hear them. This is a musical game with songs, games and it even teaches Baby Sign Language.
Winnie the Pooh teaches colors, opposites, baby signs, and reading. There’s also a sing along with songs about Winnie the Pooh and his friends. Kids can also make photo collages.
Classic Stories is good for older preschoolers and kindergarten students. They practice handwriting, reading comprehension, vocabulary, phonics and rhymes with familiar fairy tale characters like The Frog Prince, Pinocchio and The Three Little Pigs. There are 3 different reading levels to challenge children as they progress.
Does your child have a VTech InnoTab? Reignite their interest in their educational toys by adding to their Learning Cartridge collection.
How do you make hand-me-down toys exciting again? Do you pass your child’s toys on to other children? Please share your tips with us in the comments below.