As parents, we would all love for our homes to be organized all the time. It just makes it so much easier for us to find things and it makes everyone feel good to be in a space where things are arranged in a helpful way. While that may not always be realistic, it is important and helpful for our children. We know that playing with toys helps kids to learn more about themselves and the world around them. But how does organizing their toys help?
Here are 5 ways to make your toys, and the space you have them in, work to benefit you and your kids:
Keep a minimum amount of toys. Less toys are much easier to group, organize, and clean up. It will also help your children to be more creative. It encourages them to use their imagination and create play on their own. Fewer toy options also helps them to develop their attention span and learn to appreciate the toy they are playing with instead of constantly replacing it. So keep the toys at a minimum and group like toys together. Less clutter will make for much easier clean up.
Only buy toys that can be expanded on. The best toys are the ones you can add to easily and those that will fit into your organizational set up with ease. Be picky about the toys you buy. Make sure they are very versatile. If they encourage creativity and exploration they will help in your child’s development. Legos are a great choice or anything else that promotes building like Lincoln Logs, wooden train tracks, and Magna Tiles. You can add to things like this without getting a completely different toy that isn’t necessary.
Make a place for everything. Use bins or baskets to hold different sets of toys or toys that are alike and make sure they are set up to be eye level for your children. Take a picture of what is in the bin and place a print out of the picture on the front of the bin. Label the bin or basket with words too to promote learning. This will help your children to learn where things go so that they can start to clean up on their own and it will also help you when you’re stuck cleaning up. It makes things easier for kids to find specific toys and they can take a whole basket of train parts or all the legos for a project to another part of the house and play. Then they will learn that everything goes back into the bin before moving on to something else.
Set clear expectations. Everyone does much better, children and adults, when they know what is expected of them. If you have rules for where toys are played with in the house, make sure to explain them clearly to your children so you avoid every surface of your house being covered in toys. If they can only play with them in their room or if they can only have two out at a time, set that expectation. Make sure everyday the toys are cleaned up so that your children get accustomed to the responsibility of putting their toys away. Kids thrive on a daily routine.
Make cleaning up fun. Parents all have their moments when clean up is no fun. So make cleaning up a little more creative and different. Sing a song with your child. Use something different to clean up toys like a towel or send the toys to the room where they belong in a remote control dumpster truck. Make it a game and have one child pick up all the red and blue toys and the other pick up all the yellow and green toys. Keep it interesting and fun. They will eventually learn to clean up on their own without you asking because they actually enjoy it.
Keeping things in your house organized is helpful to everyone, but especially to our kids. They are little sponges and grow so much from being in an environment that teaches them responsibility and independence. When their toys are organized it helps them grow and they can have fun in the process.