Organizing your kiddo's toys
Toys can get overwhelming if the mess is a constant stress. I am all about open ended play toys and resources. I personally love having a variety of toys to choose from, but I have to make sure I stay up on the toy organization in order to keep the toys manageable with three little ones, and also to save my sanity! A common question I get is how I organize my toys. I share toys frequently on my @purposefultoys account on instagram, but I don’t keep a lot of toys out. Here are a few tips and tricks.
“Only put out as much as you are willing to clean up”
In one of my child development classes in college, one of the professors constantly emphasized that we should, “only put out as much as we are willing to clean up.” It seems like a simple concept right? But those simple words can be life changing. Too often we make the mistake of having a playroom and putting all the toys we own in that one room.
Toys quickly can become cluttered and dumped. When children are in a space where there are too many toys, dumping tends to happen and productive play decreases. I suggest having a “toy closet”. See if you can set aside a closet in your home for toys. We then only put out a small amount of toys. As your child starts to play and get creative, they may then ask for additional toys to extend their play.
For example, if your child is playing with building blocks and asks you if they could add cars then you can go to the toy closet and pull out the cars. We try to let the child lead in their play, while still having some control with how many toys are out.
Rotate Your Toys
Now that you have a toy closet, you can effectively rotate your toys. Toy rotation can be extremely simple. Some people like to rotate their toys weekly. Some people like to rotate their toys every two weeks. For me, I don’t necessarily have a consistent time frame. I gauge my toy rotation off of whether or not my children are still interested in what is out.
If they are still engaged in the toys that are out and having productive play, then I will continue to leave those toys out. If dumping and less playing becomes more frequent then I know it's time to put those toys in our toy closet and switch them out for some different ones. There is magic in rotating your toys!
All of a sudden the toys you rotated are like new and your children get excited to play again! Continue to let the child lead and accommodate what they want to add into their play, but if it is becoming overwhelming then you know you have too much out and need to put some items away.
Clean-up is a Part of Play
I don’t claim to be perfect at this, but we try to remind our children that clean-up is a part of play. As we do so things will naturally become more manageable. If a child wakes up to a clean organized play space in the morning, productive play is more likely to happen. If they wake up to a mess of toys, they can become over stimulated and not engage in productive play as well. We can play and have fun, but when we are done with a particular item or toy we put it away and then we can pull something new out.
Now that we have a foundation of how to keep our spaces cleaner we want to talk about organized areas, specifically how we can organize our Safari Ltd toys. We love Safari and have a lot of their products. The Good Luck Minis are very different from the bulk bags and larger toys. That being said, we organize them in different containers and in different spaces.
We love the Good Luck Minis, but they are very tiny and could get lost easily if my children have frequent access to them. We put them away into smaller containers and I keep those containers up high so that they have to ask for them. We use them often with learning alphabet sounds, so they stay with our other learning resources.
We love our bulk bags and usually use them with our sensory activities. When we do sensory activities we are in our kitchen area or outside. So those we keep in a separate container that is organized by category. Then we keep those containers near our kitchen so that they are available in the area that we use them. The larger Safari figures we use more often in our playroom as small world play or in the bathtub.
Those toys we are either putting out into our playroom or putting them away into our toy closet. Our containers are labeled and so it not only makes it easier for me to pull out, but when my children are looking for a specific item they can also enhance reading skills by searching the labels for what they want.
I know that these simple concepts have helped us in a lot of ways. I hope that some of these tips and suggestions can help you organize your toy spaces a little bit better too!