06 Jan Director’s Blog – Jan 2019
“Happiness is a place between too little and too much…”
It’s a daily battle! THE TOYS! They’re taking over! You throw them in bins, straighten and organize them but it never lasts more than an hour. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Most families have too many toys. But what many well-meaning parents don’t understand is, in reality, more toys equal less play. Kids are easily overwhelmed with choice and dump out every toy. But the problem is even more fundamental than that. All the flashy, loud plastic toys have taught our children to be passive participants in play. Instead of playing with their toys, they expect to be amused by their toys.
May I suggest a different approach?
Divide and Conquer!! Less toys…more joys!!
Starting a rotation of good quality toys is a great way to take control of your home and an even better way to help your kids get the most out of their playtime. By dividing your toys into separate groups and allowing access to only one group at a time, kids see what they have and everything gets played with and appreciated. You’ll also encourage them to use their toys in new and imaginative ways. Kids will have an easier time deciding what to play and you’ll have an easier time keeping up with the mess!
Simple Steps for Rotating Kids Toys:
- With kids gone, gather EVERY toy from the house/garage/yard into one sorting place.
- Have a garbage bag ready and dig out the obvious offenders: broken toys, puzzles and games with missing pieces, Happy Meal prizes and party favors, toys that require batteries
- Have a donation box ready and box up any toys your kids have outgrown. If it’s no longer developmentally appropriate for your children, it no longer needs to take up valuable space.
- Pair Like with Like. Sort your remaining toys into these groups:
*Games and Puzzles *Arts and Crafts *Building/making toys
*Dramatic play (costumes, kitchen tools) *Social/emotional play (dolls, stuffed animals)
*Moving/motor skill toys- (toy cars, musical instruments, ride on toys)
- Trim it Down- Think about what your kids actually play with. Eliminate duplicate versions. Address the toy collections: Pull out the few favorite items and donate the rest.
- Create your toy sets: Choose several toys from each category and create 3-6 separate rotation sets. When making your selection, try to think about how your child would play with the items in the set and look for ways to encourage cross-play. For instance, you might include a set of family figures with Lincoln Log set, or a tea set with dolls. It’s also a good idea to keep your toys featuring the same character or theme together.
- When you’re finished making your sets, pack each into a large plastic tub and label. It’s Ok to leave out a few special toys on a permanent basis. The overall goal of a toy rotation is for your child to enjoy playing with their toys. If they love their Legos and happily play with them every day, there’s no need to tuck them away to entice their interest.
- Put Rotation toys on display. Putting toys away with little ones is a waste of time. Instead of storing them in baskets and bins, try setting up several themed play stations where toys remain mostly on display like a costume/dramatic play station, arts and crafts table and a cozy reading area. (Books will be read more often when they are sorted by themes and displayed with a few really good choices at a time). Rotate new toys and books in and out of each station.
- Hide the Goods: “Out of sight, out of mind” Wherever you store the out-of-rotation toys, be sure your kids can’t see them. Wait until they are asleep to rotate toys. It can be fun to wake up to new toys.
- Create a rotation schedule that makes sense to you and works for your family and stays flexible to changing interests.
If anyone needs help in this area, I am happy to offer free consultation or hands-on help! I love decluttering, organizing and creating awesome play areas!