Monday, December 3, 2012

Toy rotation saved my life!

Seriously may times have you tripped over your child's toy, stepped on a small block, or pulled out your back cleaning up the mess of toys left out by your kid?

This fed-up Momma is begging you to rethink how you organize and store your child's toys. Not only will you feel like it saved your life, your child will secretly thank you too.

Our apartment is teeny-tiny small, without a garage.  I work hard to make sure everything has a place, but sometimes it just gets out of control.

Take our main living area for example; it includes our television, couch, Lazy-boy, kitchen, kitchen table, Leila's toy shelves, her play kitchen, her mini-table, filing cabinets, end tables, and a tall bookcase that holds everything from Leila's books to over-sized kitchen items.  Let's just say we utilize every possible space possible, including the walls, for storage,

Here's some scary BEFORE pictures of the upstairs play areas.  As you can see I had a lot of sorting and organizing to do.  The worst part...I feel like I JUST organized this after her birthday in September and felt good about it.  Yikes.

Before: Toy shelves

Before: Kitchen area

Before: Upstairs bookshelf
I came across a pin on Pinterest about toy rotation that sparked my interest. The link ended up leading me to my friend Meagan's blog.  Meagan gave all the credit of her organizational system to Little Stories, an excellent resource focusing on early speech and language development.

At first I was surprised at all the toy and book organization tips on a speech blog, but after reading Kim's posts for newcomers I could see the relevance.  If you are interested in starting from the beginning check out these posts for newcomers.  They are quick reads and you'll be hooked on her blog immediately.

Toy Rotation {What I learned}

I searched Little Stories blog for the posts about toy rotation.  I read them all, then read them again.  Here's what I learned from Kim's posts.

  • Get rid of junk!  Broken toys, toys that have missing pieces, toys that are too baby-ish, and toys that are just junk (think freebies from Chuck E. Cheese) need to go.  Donate them, recycle them, or store the baby-ish ones for a future child...just get them out of the play area.
  • Categorize and sort toys that are left into one of these five categories (for further descriptions read here):
  1. Thinking toys (cognitive and fine motor toys)
  2. Moving toys (gross motor toys)
  3. Pretending toys (toys that help develop social/emotional skills and language)
  4. SCLaNs (Shapes, Colors, Letters, and Numbers electronic button-pushing toys)
  5. Books 
  • Make sets of ten toys to have out at a time.  Choose 3 thinking toys, 3 moving toys, 3 pretending toys, 1 SCLaN, and 5-10 books depending on your child's age.
  • Store the rest of the toys out of the play area, out of sight.
  • Rotate the toys in each category every two weeks.
  • Watch your child rediscover and take interest in her toys!  Save your life by having less toys to clean up, trip over, or step on!
Stay tuned for my next post in this series...

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