Saturday, April 4, 2009

Toy Mania

On a lighter note, do those of you with children at home have any elaborate schemes to keep toys sorted and in their place? Do you have a rotation as we do? Do you have too many toys? Do you use bins, boxes, bags, cubbies, shelves, or a combination of all of these? As much as I hate to admit it, I find this area of life makes great use of plastic. I use bins, bins, and more bins! Amilia likes to use several kinds of toys together at once in her elaborate play schemes. I encourage this because it stretches imagination muscle and provides endless creative outlets. Griffin from the castle swoops down on the dogs from the Playmobil set, the Schleich horses consort with the Lego horses, the Littlest Pet Shop (one of my least favorite) animals bed down with the Little People in their barn. Ogre guards all from the alphabet block tower. At the end, what we have is a mess~ So, we line up the bins on the couch and sort it all back to its proper place. Each bin has a label so we always know what goes where, and we can practice reading the labels while we work. I have always shouldered the lion's share of the sorting, but am slowly doing less and less so Amilia understands the gravity of the task and knows it is ultimately her responsibility.
Some of the animals look on, content that it is not their task to clean up! They will soon be swept up to their bin out of sight behind the recliner chair. The drawer bins are used for items that are too big for the box bins, or that there are too few of to merit their own box bin. Items "in play" and already turned into a "set" sometimes get to live temporarily all together in a shoe box for further set play. Eventually, all are in their bins and tidy. They own a corner of the living room because I believe that children should be allowed to play in the same room as the rest of the family. It is no fun to be stuck away in your bedroom alone to play! Most of the sorting bins live in a stack in the garage, and are rotated in at play time. Amilia doesn't like to play with dolls very much, but the stuffed dogs are grateful to make a home for their pups in the doll bed.

My way of housing toys in the living room is every decorator's nightmare, but they don't really decorate for functional family use, do they? I am reconciled to the fact that my living room will never grace the pages of Architectural Digest, Sunset or Gracious Living, but I think it is more important to have cherished memories of play freedom than to have shadow-boxed photos of a featured magazine spread.

In the end, I think the simple things matter more...


Rumpleteazer said...

We have way too many toys in our house and we have developed a great game. It goes like this:

1. Dad finds toys that our boys have not touched in months and puts them in a box marked "To Sell on Ebay".
2. Both boys suddenly re-discover said toys and decide that they really want to play with them.
3. Said toys are removed from box and played with for a while.
4. Dad looks disgruntled and mutters something about having far too much stuff in this house and looks for other things to put in the Ebay box!
5. Repeat 1 - 4 above.

It's a great game - you should try it some time.

SLColman said...

Wow! I am impressed by the organization!!