Maintenance Tips for Children’s Toys
The UK toy industry is currently worth £3 billion, which means toys are now more popular than ever - in March this year, the sales of toys increased by 6%. In particular, educational toys aimed at kids below 12 are rising in popularity. But even with educational toys, it’s important to supervise children when they play. Not only can small children swallow parts, toys get dirty very quickly and children can pick up harmful germs. Plus, children might damage toys – such as jigsaws – or lose important parts, particularly in schools and nurseries when there is lots going on to distract them.
Clean toys regularly
One way to properly maintain toys is to clean them regularly. This is especially important in nurseries where children swap germs on a regular basis. Small, plastic toys that do not require batteries or use any electricity to work, are best washed in the dishwasher or using hot, soapy water. This is particularly effective with LEGO - a very popular toy with schools and nurseries. There’s nothing more annoying, however, when bits of plasticine or other types of unidentified goo get pushed into the little crevices – so dig these out with a hairpin before washing them. It’s actually very satisfying!
Soft toys like teddy bears become dirty and even a little smelly. Most fabric toys can be washed in the washing machine and will come out sparkling clean – just check on the label first or look online if you’re not sure. Some fabric toys, made of wool or heavily-stuffed for example, are not machine washable. Make sure that you stitch up any loose parts or holes too, otherwise Teddy might emerge from the machine in tatters!
One education toy that can be very hard to maintain are books – like pop-up books or books that fold out into dolls houses. In schools, the fact that so many children read and play with them means that the pages often get torn and dirty. One way to combat this is to regularly thumb through all the books with moveable or separate parts, and fix any loose sections with tape before they fall out. You can also clean books with special cleaner and a cloth – watch this YouTube video to see how it’s done.
Caring for outside toys
Finally, the toys that most likely need a clean are outside toys. Tricycles, Wendy houses and balls are all great in teaching children important skills and it’s important to encourage them to play outside in the fresh air, especially during break times. But these toys can get dirty very quickly, and they’re too big to put in a sink and wash. The best way to clean these toys is to hose them down and use a sponge to wipe them with soapy water.
It’s easy to forget about toy maintenance, but it’s vital. Toys have a big impact on a child’s education, which is why it’s great the toy industry is booming – and why it’s important to keep toys well-maintained.