February 27, 2008


I need some help.

This morning as I was desperately trying to get all the laundry folded and put away, I realized my children's toys are out of control. It's not awful, but there are pieces of things all over the place in hidden nooks and crannies. I can't figure out how best to organize. There are some things that need to be tossed out, but most everything else I want to keep.

How do you moms decide what gets to stay out and 'available' for them to play with all the time, and what needs to be kept out of reach? How do you store the toys? What I like to do is rotate them, but lately I've been too busy to keep up with that. I made many things easy to get to, but they don't understand how to stay focused on that toy and before you know it puzzle pieces, potato head pieces, chalk, crayons and playdough are all mixed together on the floor. (yes, the carpeted floor, this happened today) Letting them be able to access those things helps them to play more independently and keep them BUSY!

Yet, it can be quite overwhelming to clean up the mess. Lady Lydia at Homeliving Helper recommends limiting children to only a few toys, such as a tea set and doll, or set of blocks and a truck. In my mind I don't see how that would work.

So what does everyone else do to control the toys??


Laura said...

Well darn - I was hoping someone else had commented so I could get some advice too!

I like the idea of only a couple of toys, but I'm not sure how that would work. My son has multiples of his favorite things - transformers, hot wheels, thomas trains - and my daughter has multiples of her favorite things - dolls, my little ponies, princesses. And just one of something isn't always fun to play with.

Hmmmm... I'll stop in again later to see what anyone else writes.

*MichiganMomma* said...

I am the organizational bin QUEEN!! Seriously, even my friends comment on it when they visit my home (if they have a chance to open just one closet, they would see).

So I gather like-toys together and my kiddos can have one or two bins to play with at a time. After a while, I will come back to where they are playing, observe how they are doing and offer new bins if they don't seem that interested in the current toys. But they *have* to pick up the current toys and put them back in the bin first. Yes, every single block, every dollie hairbow, you name it.

Of course, it doesn't always go smoothly - and there is a learning curve here. They have to learn the system and get used to it. They have to learn how to play contentedly together with just a few toys. Once my children realize that momma isn't going to allow any video games or computer time or movies right now, they eventually begin playing together and end up having a great time.

And there are just some toys they don't play with without me right there. Watercolors, playdoh, certain board games, crayons and colored pencils have to be at the table, white board & markers have to be at the table, etc.

I am finding the best thing to do is let them be right there with me, or in a room where they can see/hear me while I work, and let them play there. They constantly come to talk to me, ask questions, deal with disagreements, just give me a kiss, etc. - but I am right there. To expect them to stay in their own room, while I work in another part of the house, simply doesn't work. They end up fighting and I get frustrated. They are still so little and just want to be with their momma (which is another reason we INSIST on quiet time around here no mattter how old you are - Momma NEEDS a break!!).

Ok, long enough comment. We just moved again, so once I get everything set up, I'll snap some pics so you can see what I mean with all these organizing bins. It really does help me maintain some semblence of sanity....I think....

~Thinking of you~

Jess said...

I am not an expert on this and sometimes my system doesn't work all that well but it does pretty good.

I have one big toy box that my kids toys go into. Then we have this three drawer container that is you can see thru. One drawer is for blocks, on for tractors and one for cars. (I only have boys)
Then there is this big box we use for trains, Thomas trains. My son has a whole lot of those. And he has a tool bench with tools.

Rule#1 If you get it out you have to put it up.

Rule #2 Only one theme (I guess you would say it like that) at a time. If you want to play trains, then trains, if you decide you want to play trucks, put all the trains up first then get the trucks out. And so on.

Rule #3 Books go back on the shelf after you are done reading them.

Rule #4 I never leave them alone with crayons, makers, playdo and so on.

Rule #5 Tools stay on tool bench, not to be played anywhere else.

Rule #6 When mommy says toy pick up that means toy pick up. This is the main chore my children have right now. As long as they go by rule #2 I don't make them pick up toys all the time. Main toy pick up time is before afternoon naps and bedtime.

We stick with these rules. Right now my oldest son is trying to be his own boss. Anyways if he refuses to pick up toys he losses the privelage of playing with that toy for the day. If it is really bad he losses it for a week.

Now this may not work for you, it is just how we do it.

Thirdtimemomma said...

The first time I weeded out toys I had the kids take 10 min and pick up everything they could in one box. What ever was left was weeded through and stored for later. :)

I need to post pics of our bins...