My alternate title for this post was "Preventing the 'I'm tired of all my toys' problem". Not a great title, but accurate, and descriptive, nonetheless. Those of you with toddlers know the feeling I'm sure: it doesn't matter how many wonderful, educational, brightly colored, amazing toys with bells and whistles you get; after a few minutes, all your kid's toys are boring to them and they are fascinated with trying to get into the knives in the kitchen. Or rifling through your personal hygiene drawer >ahem<. Or worse, playing in the garbage or toilet. Anything off limits is nearly impossible to deter them from, because their toys hold no interest for them any longer.
After a fairly difficult day/ days (think along the lines of a cup of water poured on the couch, box of cereal dumped on the floor, re-rolling the toilet paper, pulling my son off of the entertainment center 5 times, fishing a sock out of the toilet, marker all over the walls, and a few tantrums) I decided I needed to change something. I was tired of trying to coax my son to play with his toys. I was tired of picking all the toys up off our tiny living room floor several times a day (scattering toys evenly around the whole room was apparently the only interesting thing to do with them, and when the only room available for your kids' toys is the front room, you may or may not live in constant fear of someone coming to the door and seeing the awful state of your home). I was tired of feeling like I had nowhere to put our ever- increasing collection of children's playthings.
I had a couple of under- bed and cheapo stacking storage containers which I proceeded to fill with almost all of the toys. (The under- bed containers fit nicely under the bunk beds, or stack up well on the high shelf in the closet, and the other bins just barely fit in the closet.) I left a few things out for my kids to play with, but everything else was g-o-n-e. Ahhhhhh. What relief, what peace!
Today, the toys that are out have labeled zipper bags so scattering them isn't as easy as it once was. As we get more toys, I get more storage bins. Yes, it sounds sad, but actually it isn't. I either use clear bins or put labels on the outsides of the bins so I don't forget what we have. There are some toys that stay out pretty much all the time (like the bag of matchbox and oversize cars), but we rotate what is out when the kids start to get tired of their toys and start getting into mischief. I try to have just 2 or 3 bigger toys out, and a few smaller toys.
I am not going to say that it is a perfect system, that my house is immaculate, or that my kids always love playing with their toys and not the toilet. But it has definitely helped, and it has probably saved my sanity. One day I would love to have a kid's "playroom" that the toys can be more accessible in, but for now, this is what works for me.
Do you have a great idea about toy storage or helping your child enjoy their toys? Share it in a comment below (please!) and let us all benefit from it!
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