Is your house becoming overrun with toys? Stepped on one too many Legos? Got riding toys that never get ridden? Is the toy box full of blocks upon blocks and then a few more blocks? And then…and this is the kicker…your kids are bored? Chances are, some of your friends and neighbors are having the same issue. The answer is not to get new toys…well, sort of. Our suggestion is to get together with a few friends and have a Neighborhood Toy Swap!

You know how kids are always drawn to the other kids’ toys? Play it up! Schedule a day for a Toy Swap and tell the kids it’s coming. Make a big deal…have the children draw some invitations…plan some fun finger food…and then (this is key) set things up.

Invite each family to bring the same number of toys – make sure you only contribute items your kids don’t play with anymore. Clean everything up – remove dust, crayon marks, etc. Then, get organized.

Ahead of time, and not in front of the kids, parents should arrange the toys like a toy shop: all the dolls together, all the trucks over here, all the puzzles over there…big items on one side of the room, small items on the other side. Place toys attractively on shelves, tables and the floor. Spread the toys out and create clusters and fun displays.

Then invite the kids in to “shop!” Assign each child the number of toys they’re allowed to take, and give each a basket or reusable shopping bag. Then, stand back and let them choose whatever they’re drawn to.

You’ll get rid of old, tired toys that are all played out…and your kids will get some “new” toys to energize their playtime.

Any leftover or unclaimed toys at the end of the day can be donated to a local family shelter. It’s a win-win-win!