5 Tips for Getting Kids to WILLINGLY Donate Toys

blog-sponsorChristmas is a little more than a month away. My house is about to get bombarded with toys. I swear the toys magically multiply in the night. Does this happen at your house, too?

Every year no matter how hard we try to focus on giving experiences, I feel like our house is going to burst at the seams each time a gift box is opened.

Before the holidays, try proactively resolving toy chaos WITH your kids.

Here are five tips for getting kids to willingly donate toys:

1. Get this book.
{Too Many Toys by David Shannon}Reserve it from your local library (online) or order it on Amazon… right now. This book is a great ice-breaker to help your children understand why you want to donate some of their toys.

There is that, and David Shannon books always ROCK. The stories are humorous, the water color illustration are lovely, and his books are written in a way that both you and your child will enjoy.

2. Count your blessings.
Tell your child how excited you are that the holidays are coming. Talk about how lucky you are are to have people in your lives who love you.

3. Look forward.
Ask your child, “Who do you think is going to give you Christmas presents this year?” Let them ramble on for a bit.

4. Shift to empathy.
I’d tell my ladies, “That’s a lot of presents for two little girls. You’re pretty lucky. Not all kids get that many gifts.”

5. Give them control over their belongings.
Resistance to donating items (or even sharing in general) is usually more about feeling a lack of control than actually wanting the item. Try giving your child a sense of power over his belongings.

Have them pick how many toys to donate. Ask him, “How many toys would you like to donate today?” If they immediately reply, “None.” Try not to come across as strong-handing the conversation. Laugh and lightheartedly say, “Would you rather donate five or ten items?”

{End of the Year Clean Sweep} *Get organized BEFORE the holidaysOnce you’re moving forward, here are two tried and true tricks on keeping this rolling:

Associate a toy with a specific age group. Find a toy geared for a younger age group and ask your little one, “Do you remember when you were a kindergartener and you used to play with this all the time? Should we give it to another four-year-old to enjoy?”

Default to ice-cream. It might not be the best parenting tactic, but let’s be honest. Ice-cream is always a default bribe in our house.

Every season my husband and I attempt to complete a “Get Rid of 100 Things” weekend. There have been times when we’ve promise the girls ice-cream if they filled a box with toys they no longer wanted. It may not be a glamorous tip, but it works.

5 Tips for Getting Kids to WILLINGLY Donate Toys

*Can you tell which of my kids has reached her daily photo limit?

Teaching children the power of donation and empathy are important, but sometimes you just need to get rid of stuff WITHOUT having to involve the kids.

Have you ever tried toy rotation? It can be a helpful when trying to tame toys in your home. Pop on over to my guest post on Melissa & Doug for five great resources on toy rotation.

How are you prepping your home before the holidays? Let’s chat in the comments.


2013 Blog Ambassador | Let’s Lasso the Moon is proud to be part of the 2013 Blog Ambassador program. We worked hard alongside Melissa & Doug to explore fun ways to keep children inquisitive and to promote classic creative play. Click here to read our full sponsorship disclosure.

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{Get Kids to WILLINGLY Donate Toys} *Great list of tips


  1. OneMommy says

    We may need to get that book! Every year we do a toy clean out this time of year (and a few other moments during the year I do one by myself…) My oldest is getting better at it; the preschooler is still a struggle.

    Oh, and ice cream sounds like a perfect parenting plan to me!

  2. Mary says

    I made donation “real” and concrete for my son by telling him about a kid – who shared his name, incidentally :) – who wasn’t going to get any presents this year because his mummy and daddy were too poor, elaborated on his living conditions, etc. and explained what a difference it would make for this kid to get some nice stuff. After that he was only too happy to donate, and we ended up with a shopping trolley stuffed full of toys! Three years down the line he’s still happy to give away his toys, and we have a clear-out every six months or so.

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