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PostPosted: April 14th, 2005, 9:59 am 
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Joined: October 17th, 2004, 11:57 pm
Posts: 82
Hi everyone,

I'm working on an article about saving money on toddler toys.

How many toys do toddlers REALLY need? What are the essentials?

If you've tried to save money on toys, what steps have you taken? Have you ever shopped for toys at consignment stores, or tried a toy swap with friends?

If you're interested, email me at alexpowell2828@yahoo.com . Thanks in advance for your help!


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PostPosted: April 14th, 2005, 4:01 pm 
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Joined: March 22nd, 2004, 11:09 pm
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Location: New Zealand - but I work anywhere!
My husband used to work for a toy company. we got toys wholesale! i loved it so much i began my own party plan toy franchise :) Now all my party people can get their toys at 20% off AND make money to pay for thier habit!

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 Post subject: toddler toys
PostPosted: April 16th, 2005, 1:16 am 
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Joined: March 9th, 2005, 9:09 pm
Posts: 18
Well, first a caveat - my 3 yo daughter has way too many toys.

That said, we still do a lot of creative things that involve making our own toys. Cardboard boxes are key - we have turned them into toy dog houses, ATM machines, forts...

I have purchased several "outdoor" toys at garage sales. Things like slides and rideons can be sprayed with cleanser and hosed down and they just fade anyway once you buy them new.

I think a good assortment of craft materials are vital for creative play - crayons, markers, scissors and glue as well as paper, cardboard are all great.

We also do a lot of waterplay - some plastic cups, a rubber duck, soap and a sink filled with water can keep my daughter happy for nearly an hour.

Some other essentials, that can be had inexpensively:

ball
bucket and shovel
doll
kitchen play items (can be cast-off grownup items such as old wooden spoons and spatulas and pots and pans from garage sales)
cars or trucks

My daughter also loves her dollhouse and the people and accessories that go with it - even if I couldn't afford the dollhouse, the tiny dolls and a rooms's worth of furntiure could live in a cardboard box and she would be happy

They aren't toys - but just a reminder - BOOKS! They are readily available used at library stores, garage sales and used bookstores. My library regularly has kids books for .25.


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PostPosted: April 17th, 2005, 6:38 pm 
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Joined: January 28th, 2005, 4:09 pm
Posts: 38
Location: Cheyenne, WY
I'm not sure if there are any across-the-board "essentials" for toddlers, because kids each have their own tastes and needs.

Lili, my oldest, used to love crawling in boxes with a doll or two. She also loved to play with the same one or two dolls while hiding under blankets. As long as she had a "shelter", she was happy. She'd "invite people in", or "walk around her house", or check to see "who's there" when someone would "knock", and she loved that game more than her alone-time. (Of course, that changed when her brother arrived...)

Miles was especially fond of blocks, and he'd make whole cities, little houses, and fences, then he'd pretend to be a monster and knock them all down. He eventually focused on things like lining up his little animal toys (dinosaurs, safari animals, farm animals, whatever) in opposition to his cars (and there were a LOT of those), and then picking out different ones to "conflict".

Joseph loves anything he can stack, close, or open. His new favorite toy is my steamer container. He puts his blocks in there, and then closes it up, and then opens it up as though it were a present, clapping at his "accomplishment" of opening the top. He's not a "mouth baby", but we still made sure that everything we bought for him could be sterilized if need be (if other "mouth babies" come over to play, or someone in the house develops strep, etc.).

I figured that the kids would pass down their toys as they got older, but because none of their tastes really coincided perfectly, it's been the March of the Bargain Shopper. Walmart (as much as I dislike them) usually has very basic toys at very low prices, and going to second-hand stores helps a great deal. Plus, since my kids' ages are staggered with the ages of friends' kids nearby, we have the constant "toy swap" going on.

Invariably, children manage to accummulate a lot more toys than we'd expect. I'm not sure exactly how this happens, but it does. About once or twice a year, we go through all the toy boxes and throw out broken items (always happens), and then we bag up not-so-often-played-with items to either give to Salvation Army or trade with friends. It keeps their stuff fresh and interesting.

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PostPosted: April 20th, 2005, 5:13 pm 
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Joined: October 20th, 2004, 2:49 am
Posts: 9
Garage sales have all kinds of deals, including new, unplayed-with toys.

I'll never buy the always-growing grandkids a new bike, as I see great bicycles (I'm a bike geek, BTW, so know what to look for) all the time when garage saling. I've even got a bike I'm waiting for them to grow into, as it was too good a deal to pass up.

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PostPosted: April 21st, 2005, 4:43 am 
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Joined: October 17th, 2004, 11:57 pm
Posts: 82
Thanks so much for the help - I really appreciate it!

I thought of something else tonight - anyone ever ebay for toddler toys? Did you save any money?

Also, for you experienced garage sale shoppers out there, any tips on how to tell if a toy really is in good condition (or if, as in the case of the slides and rideons that just need a good scrubbing, they can be rehabbed)?

Thanks again y'all!

-Alex


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PostPosted: April 21st, 2005, 11:29 am 
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Joined: March 2nd, 2003, 1:04 pm
Posts: 595
Well, the way to find the best stuff at any yardsale or fleamarket is to look for the well-dressed people and nice neighborhoods. They don't often keep stuff until it's worn out, and it's usually better quality to begin with. And you can still find practically new things for a quarter.

Keep up with the latest in recalls and safety guidelines and check toys for choking hazards and anything that may be peeling or flaking off, and if it has moving parts, try it out and make sure nothing can pinch little fingers. Your child won't be shy about banging, squeezing, throwing or chewing on it, so if you have any doubts at all, leave it. Something to keep in mind with any kind of furniture or structure, indoor or outdoor, is to see how it's put together. Check all the nuts and bolts and screws and fasteners, and the wood or plastic around them to make sure everything is there and it isn't cracked or rotten. For good measure, grab it and give a good shake to see how sturdy it is. If it comes apart anywhere, check again to see if all it needs is a replacement bolt.

Hope this helps.


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