No wonder they say raising kids are expensive! Look at the price of children toys and clothes here in Malaysia and you will know why. For a good quality toy here, you will easily need to fork out hundreds (maybe even thousands! I'm not kidding and we are not even talking about the iPads and Wii!). Comparing dollar to dollar, you can easily get three toys for £20 in the UK and £50 can go a loooooong way! Second hand items still in very good condition sell at merely just a few pounds!
Comparing second hand ones, one was recently sold for RM69 in Malaysia while it is common to see one sold for less than £5 on eBay! Some were even sold at their original list price of only £0.99!
Some solution to this:
1. Extend life of toys by buying second hand or hand over toys to younger children or donate to a charity. Only problem is second hand toy shops are a rare sight in Malaysia and we don't have many relatives to hand us down items while most friends are still keeping theirs for their third, fourth and fifth child :( Those willing to sell me second hand items, I'm willing to have a look! Those wanting to have more space at home, send your unused children toys and clothes this way please!
2. Home made. Sure bought toys come with lots of sounds and lights but when a toy is crafted together at home, there is a sense of pride and achievement not to mention the special bonding session while sparks of creativity fly all over the place! Besides, it is fun, easy, doesn't hurt the pocket as much and green! Check out lots of ideas online or some of our little projects: play dough, five little freckled frogs, marble run and others which I will continue to post here.
3. Exchange. If you can find people who are willing to exchange toys with you for a few weeks or so, this is a great way to save and try 'new' toys on both sides. Just need to place your trust in each other to keep the toys clean and return them in one piece but don't have high expectations when dealing with curious toddlers. Though it is not easy to break the mental barrier of parents here regarding hygiene etc. it may be worth a try! Start with some small inexpensive ones first and if it doesn't work out, you can always scrap the idea.
4. Review. If you really need to purchase toys, spend some time reading reviews online before your next purchase to know what toys are suitable at what age to get the best mileage and have your money well spent. Hopefully I can help by putting some review posts up if I get a chance.
Any other suggestions out there??