Montessori at Home

Toddlers dump toys

Toddlers & Dumping: Why do toddlers dump toys? How to stop toddlers from dumping toys? 

Dump toys

Dump!! Can you physically hear that sound of the toys being thrown on the floor? Not one or two but the whole box of toys. If you have a toddler, you know what I mean. I pick the whole box of toys 3 to 5 times a day and if you ask me, I’m so over it.  

It’s festive season and a good season of giving. Your child may receive more toys to add to the mountains they already have.  Your child is already overwhelmed with what they already have. That means more toys on the floor and more for you to pick us.

Why don’t I let him pick them up? You may ask. He is only 2 years old. I make it a fun pick-up game but he only does so much (very little) and the rest is up to me.  

Why do toddlers dump toys? 

Visual: To see what’s there. Sometimes ideas of what to play come as they can see and touch (experience) various toys.  

Overwhelm: because of too many options or too difficult options.  

How to stop toddlers from dumping toys?

The first step is to observe your child during play according to what they currently like and don’t, have they outgrown any? What don’t they play with, favourites (go to toys)?

When a child receives a toy, they first explore it and try out materials so that they can discover how to use it. And it’s a good idea to give them the space and time to learn without imposing or introducing new toys.  

When it comes to play a child is not fussy. Imagination runs wild and often they turn toys or play with toys in an alternative way to what it is or supposed to be. My son uses books as car ramps as an alternative to reading them.  

Purge, Categorise and Organize. 


Use the Marie Kondo method to purge and only keep what sparks joy. According to her theory sparking joy gives a zingy, tingly feeling when you hold and hug each toy close to you. If you don’t feel that feeling you may throw, recycle or give away. Get rid of Duplicates and their duplicates. (donate, reuse or recycle). 

Minimalism is a good way to reduce the bulk and stress of having to clean or pickup too many toys. 

Many toys in Montessori are open-ended toys and they encourage your child to explore on their own. 

Sentimental items can be put away to be given to your grandchildren or may be framed into a centre piece. If possible, they may be knitted into a blanket (this applies to lots of sentimental clothing). There are many other ways to cherish sentimental items without them cluttering your home.  

Toy rotation:

stop toy dump

It helps reduce the overload and gives the sense of something new or an old pal your toddler hasn’t seen in a while and would like to catch up with.  

Reduce buying more things. Sparkling creativity by reusing (DIY) create some toys into pieces of art or deco for their room or around the house especially sentimental items.  

Ask for gift cards from occasions instead of toys, to use or save up for one educational or open-ended toy. Give the gift of experience.  

Sometimes children dump toys for attention. If they feel they are not getting enough attention that they want from you, they do something to catch your attention. It’s a good idea to give them undivided attention at times.  

Celebrate slow living which involves enjoying the moment and being grateful and satisfaction with what you already have. That doesn’t prompt you to get more.  

Ways to help toddlers from toy dump: 

One way is to stock up on Open ended toys aka loose parts play are toys with no definite start to finish (Pre-determined, no fixed answer). They can be used in multiple ways.

Toddlers dump toys

Made to last longer than normal toys. And educational as they encourage infinite opportunities for learning, critical thinking, cognitive, motor, exploration, possibly language, math, critical thinking and demonstration skills.

 Allow for do it yourself and problem-solving skills. Usually made from natural materials. Because they last longer, you won’t be needing to buy new toys all the time.  

Open ended toys are used by different age groups and gets bigger or better with time as the child discovers new and more challenging ways to use them.

Toddlers dump toys:

Loose parts can be added together in various ways to build or play. They can be moved, arranged, built, gathered, connected, taken apart, designed, created and played with, etc.  

I watched a movie where 3 children were adopted, and they were given Christmas gifts. Instead of them loving the toys, they were excited about the big open-ended box that the toys came in. Loose parts can be obtained freely around your community and in nature.  

Open-ended play can be done indoors or outdoors. They can be recycled material or materials you which to recycle and reuse.  

Examples of open-ended toys:  



Tree bark or stamps 

Stones and pebbles 

Play dough 

Fallen leaves and flowers 

Wood scraps (be sure to check for splinters especially from left over wood) 






Cardboard Boxes  

Pinecones, acorns, chestnuts  







Seeds in various sizes  

Bottle caps 


Pieces of Fabric 


Safe climbing equipment 

Yarn, twine, rope  

Empty containers 


Nuts, bolts and other child friendly tools 

Wooden Beads  

Old pots and pans 

Cartons (milk or juice cartons)  

Pipe cleaners 


Art, packaging and building materials (crayons, craft sticks, paper, clay, tissue paper, pom poms)  


Pool noodles  

Cardboard tubes (toilet paper rolls) 

Wooden Cloth pins or pegs 

Cutlery that is not sharp (rounded edges) 

Cups (can be used for stacking)  

Bubble wrap, Styrofoam 

Cans (I reuse cans that contained tined food, we eat lots of baked beans, tuna fish, fruits, formula etc, that come in cans. I use a proper tin opener and cut to avoid sharp ends, wash it thoroughly and let it dry.) 

How to encourage your child with open ended play? Your part as a parent:   

Ask questions, intrigue or introduce ways for them to think (challenge). Take a step back. Play together and interact with them.  

Look for open-ended toys in materials that come in a variety of colors, textures and sizes.

Best way to start is with what you already have in your home and around your community. 

Set clearly identified spaces, trays, drawers, boxes or containers with a few open-ended toys in your home for toddler to see and a space for them to play.

toy dump

Set a place for everything. In an open accessible space that your toddler can reach. Create toddler size tables, chairs, bookshelves and play area. Less clutter and the less toddlers dump toys.

In conclusion,

Dumping things is fun for your toddler. Allow your child to dump certain things at certain times for example outdoors etc. For example, a child safe hammer and construction blocks, allow them to her away. A dump truck with things for the dump.

Follow your child as they learn. Take a step back and only assist when asked. But show them how to while you do.  Be sure to give your child age-appropriate toys as they maybe choking hazards to smaller children.

More from MrsChettyLife:  

Continue reading about open-ended play:

Cheers MrsChettyLife.


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