Playthings’ primary purpose is to entertain, to keep young kids happy and occupied. Yet, as a parent, you certainly know well enough that there is much more to toys:
# they help develop children’s imagination and creativity
# they stimulate artistic and cognitive skills
# they help kids better envisage and understand the world
# they keep kids company, bring comfort, and help fight off loneliness and sadness.
The list can go on for quite a while. What matters is to understand that toys play a very important role in the world of a child and, therefore, should be taken proper care of under any circumstances.
It is during transitional and emotional periods that children need the comfort of their beloved toys the most. Moving house is a perfect example of such a stressful and challenging transition when the fear of the unknown and the sense of loss almost inevitably results in great anxiety, insecurity, and self-doubt. To reverse the negative psychological effects that your relocation may have on your children, you need to reassure them of your unconditional love and support, to convince them of the wonderful new life that awaits you, to encourage and inspire their adventurous spirits, and to promise them that they will not lose any of the things that are currently making them happy – including their treasured toys.
But do you know how to pack toys for a move, so that they arrive in your new home safe and sound and ready to play with?
What packing strategies to use?
To be able to pack everything in time without stressing yourself and making big moving mistakes, as well as to avoid emotional turmoil and repeated unpacking and repacking of the same items as your child suddenly has a tantrum over a certain toy he/she hasn’t played with for months, for example, you need to come up with an efficient toy-packing strategy:
- Be subtle – prepare a mental list of your kids’ favorite toys (watch your little ones carefully for about a week and note down the playthings they use the most) and make sure those particular items stay out of the boxes until the last possible moment. Start packing the toys your children don’t seem to be particularly interested in and will probably not miss;
- Involve the kids – if your children are old enough to understand what’s going on, explain the situation in details (reassure your young ones that the toys which disappear into the moving boxes are not lost forever, that they will be able to play with them again as soon as you arrive into your new home, etc.) and let them help packing (wrap the toys in packing paper or bubble wrap, arrange them in boxes, label and decorate the boxes the way they like, etc.). It is also a good idea to encourage your kids to think about their new room – where they’d like to place their things, how they intend to decorate it, etc. This will add a very positive perspective to your relocation;
- Set clear limits – make your kids choose a set of toys they want to keep out for the next couple of weeks and make it clear that everything else is going into the moving boxes and will only be taken out after you arrive in your new home.
SEE ALSO: How to move house with a baby
How to move house with toddlers
How to move with a school-aged child
How to sort toys?
Tossing all your kids’ toys into moving boxes without sorting them out first is out of the question, of course. You need to go through all the playthings in your home and decide which of them are worth taking to your new place. If your children are not too young, involve them in the sorting process too:
- Throw away broken toys – there is no point in relocating battered and tattered toys or playthings that are missing parts and pieces. Discuss it with your kids and convince them that tossing away broken old toys is the mature thing to do – your young ones will most probably agree as it will make them feel more responsible and grown up;
- Donate outgrown and rarely used toys – any toys that are still in good condition but are no longer played with can make another child happy. The best thing you can do is to give them away to friends or neighbors, or to donate them to preschools, orphanages, or other charitable organizations;
- Set aside your kids’ most beloved toys – single out your children’s favorite toys and make sure there will be enough space for them in your “essentials box”. This way, your kids will be able to find comfort in their most cherished playthings at any given moment of the strenuous relocation process – including the trip to your new home.
How to pack toys for a move?
Having sorted out your children’s toys, you need to properly pack the ones that are worth moving to your new home.
Adequate packing supplies
You are going to need several medium-sized moving boxes and a couple of large ones to pack toys for shipping. Make sure you have plenty of packing paper and bubble wrap to ensure the safety of the toys during shipment, as well as quality packing tape to secure the boxes and permanent markers to label them properly. Sealable plastic bags will also come very handy for packing tiny pieces.
Tips for packing toys
1) Line the boxes with crushed packing paper to provide extra cushioning;
2) Put very small toys and accessories in sealable plastic bags to keep them from getting lost;
3) Wrap any delicate toys that are easily susceptible to damage (such as toys with moving parts, remote control helicopters, model airplanes, model trains, etc.) in packing paper or bubble wrap before placing them into the boxes;
4) Drain water from squirt guns and other water toys and make sure they are completely dry before packing them away. Don’t forget to safely seal paints and other art supplies to prevent leaking or stains;
5) Place sturdier large toys in the box first. Fill the remaining empty space with smaller toys and sealed bags of tiny items;
6) Fill gaps with crumpled paper, soft fabric materials, or packing peanuts to prevent shifting during transit;
7) Use packing tape to seal the boxes and don’t forget to label them with the contents and any special handling instructions.
What is the best way to pack toys for moving?
The best way to pack toys for moving depends on the specifics of each and every toy:
- How to pack soft toys – stuffed animals and other plush toys are easy to pack as they are not breakable and will most certainly survive the relocation intact. However, when packing them in cardboard boxes, make sure stuffed toys are well protected against moisture, dust, insect infestation, or heat damage. In fact, it is a good idea to put them in large plastic bags instead – they will keep your kids’ most huggable toys clean and dry during transportation;
- How to pack dolls, action figures, models, and other similar toys – for maximum protection, you are recommended to individually wrap each doll, action figure, or toy vehicle model in packing paper or bubble wrap before putting it into a sturdy moving box;
- How to pack large toys – board games, construction sets, jigsaw puzzles, and other play sets are best packed in their original boxes or sturdy ones of similar sizes. Disassemble every set, puzzle, or kit, put the pieces in a sealable storage bag, and place the bag in an appropriate box. Be very careful as the entire set will be ruined if even one tiny piece ends up missing;
- How to pack crafts supplies – carefully seal any paints, crayons, colored pencils, inks, play dough, glue, and other art supplies to prevent spilling. Make sure any craft tools (different needles, sticks, scissors, etc.) are safely secured in appropriate containers and tiny pieces like beads and glitter are kept in sealable bags;
- How to pack books – children’s books usually come in large sizes and often contain movable or three-dimensional elements. Therefore, they should be packed flat and should not be pressed hard against each other to avoid damage;
- How to pack fragile toys – battery-operated toys, radio-controlled models, and other sensitive or delicate toys are particularly vulnerable to moisture and breakage, so they need to be carefully wrapped in bubble warp and arranged in sturdy, well-padded boxes. Don’t forget to label the boxes “FRAGILE” or “HANDLE WITH CARE” on all their sides;
- How to pack very expensive toys – high-tech gadgets (such as game consoles) and other expensive play items should be safely wrapped and kept stationary during transit. You may want to purchase extra insurance for them;
- How to pack collector items – pack vintage action figures, porcelain doll collections, and other extremely valuable toys with utmost care and make every effort to ensure their safety (use bubble wrap, foam sheets, packing peanuts, wooden crates, and other specialized packing materials). Do not over-pack the boxes, be careful not to crush any original packaging (this will decrease the value of a vintage item), and clearly mark the boxes “HANDLE WITH CARE”, so that the movers know that extra caution is required. Extra insurance is a must!
Packing toys when moving is an important stage of the relocation process which can also be quite edifying and great fun! It gives you the chance not only to pare down the little ones’ possessions and to teach them to take care of their belongings, but also to talk with them about their fears and hopes and to reduce the inevitable moving anxiety.