How did your kids make out over the holidays? Bad behaviour or not, I’m sure they received a lot of new toys from you, your family and even Santa. Unless you were really organized, you may not have had a chance to go through their toys before the holidays to make room for the new ones. If your kids’ rooms look like a toy factory here are a couple of ways to regain the space and rotate the toys so they will all get used.
Children learn best from new experiences and believe it or not a new experience occurs even after something has been absent for a short period of time. Try rotating your child’s toys by implementing a “toy closet” or “toy treasure chest” for an ongoing learning experience.
Toy Treasure Chest
The principle is simple: Place some of the new toys received, and even old toys that continue to be age appropriate, into the toy closet or treasure chest, hidden away so that every toy owned is not out for use. Children are easily overwhelmed with too many choices. Then on a regular basis, rotate the toys so that your child is not getting overwhelmed or bored with too many choices. Less is best. The toy treasure chest is also a great idea when you child is not feeling well: A little surprise for him or her from which they can choose a toy.
Of course, organizing the toys out for use is still very important.
Sort into categories
Lets wade right in there and sort all the toys into categories. Cars, blocks, stuffed animals, dolls, etc. You can use laundry baskets or boxes but get everything sorted into categories.
Weed out the broken
As you sort, take a quick look to ensure that the toys are in working order. I know some children have a hard time of letting go of their favourite toy, even if it no longer works or is missing a limb, so maybe encourage them to make the decision between that and a new incoming toy.
Is it still age appropriate?
While you’re at it lets review the toys to make sure they are still age appropriate for your child. Why hang on to it if it will never be used again?
These toys are perfect for donation to replenish your local second hand store or for a yard sale. If the funds go to the owner of the toy they are more apt to agree to let it go.
Divide into play types
Toys can now be stored into categories that can be rotated in and out. Store them into categories like learning (books, puzzles), artistic (coloring), active (dress up, music) and so on. Rotate these categories every few weeks so your children are constantly learning and the toys are being used.
Now that you have everything categorized and the broken and no longer used toys are out, you can plan on how to store these toys in the space you have. Use clear containers whenever possible so your child can easily see what is inside and therefore won’t have the urge to open every container. Containers are great for small toys like cars, blocks and even doll clothes. Store toys at a height that is accessible for your child so they won’t get hurt bringing them out.
Maintenance is key
Now, here comes the fun part – training your child to put it away when they are done. I know it is easier when you are with them but they need to know that this is their job and it will teach them responsibility and organization at an early age. Make it an ongoing thing with a regular review of what’s not being used anymore.
Teach your children valuable life lessons by teaching them how to organize and take care of their belongings and their space.