Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Thrift Store Tips for the TOY Section


 My kids' favorite section at the thrift store, naturally, is the toy section! To them, a search through the toy bin is "treaure hunting." They have found vintage toys, hard-to-find toys, originally expensive toys... you name it. However, it's easy for kids (and mom or dad) to get caught up in the thrill of new toys, so here are a few tips for reigning in your toy purchase.

--Have kids come up with a wish list before heading to the store. When my kids accompany me on a thrifting expedition, they don't wander through the toy aisle and grab whatever catches their eye. They have a list of 2 or 3 dream items that they look for-- if they see one on a particular shopping day, great-- if not, we wait until next time. This intensifies their excitement for finding that "special item" and also makes them a bit more eager to join mom on her trip to the thrift store. :)

--Anything broken, damaged, or missing pieces is an automatic "no." Otherwise, it ends up being fun for an hour or two and then ends up under the bed or junked in the closet.

--If they want to claim a toy, they must give a toy. Before our trip, they search their rooms to find something to donate. They are ALWAYS able to find something, and it teaches them a lesson in reusing: when we are done with something, we give it to someone else who can use it, and perhaps we can use something that someone else is done with.

--Old vintage toys can be just as fun as modern ones. Georgia plays with her thrifted vintage Effanbee doll more than any other. She also got a big thrill of finding a Raggedy Ann doll-- she talked for weeks about wanting to find one, and when she happened across one at the bottom of a toy bin, you'd have thought she won the lottery! Mine and Mason's current vintage toy quest: that game called "Crossbows and Catapults." Remember it? My neighbor friends and I had so much fun playing that game as kids!

--Don't be afraid to shop thrift stores for birthdays or Christmas. Some people worry about giving their kids used items for gifts... why? Most items look as good as new with a magic eraser and a bit of elbow grease! Plus, when my kids find unwrapped, unboxed gifts on Christmas morning, they think
those are the ones that came from Santa's official workshop at the North Pole!

I hope these tips help you and your kids out on your next thrifting adventure. Oh, one more tip for all you thrifters trying to stay sane at the thrift store with your kids-- BRIBE THEM and save the toy aisle for last!!

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