Does it seem like certain toys get more love than others? That some rarely see the light of day even though they are wonderfully open ended and creative? That’s likely for two reasons: 1) out of sight out of mind and 2) over-saturation of toys. We have both dilemmas in our house, so I have come up with two creative ways to rotate and organize toys for my kids.
Create themed toy sets with your child’s playthings.
Kids like to play with other kids that have similar interests, don’t they? I think toys do too, so to speak! Think about it, when kids have a dinosaur set… it makes sense to have a dinosaur play rug to act out scenes on.
And a T-Rex stuffed animal to hug while reading dinosaur books just fits right in!
Dinosaur puzzles are fun for any dino fan.
And of course, a T-rex or Stegosaurus lover will enjoy stamping and coloring with a dinosaur stamp set during craft time.
Curate toys on a favorite theme for your child, then store and display them together.
Themed toy sets offer several benefits: For one thing, you’re communicating a powerful message that you’ve noticed your child’s particular interests and are helping them develop that interest. Whether that’s dinosaurs, cars, knights and castles, fashion, or any other topic, kids will enjoy having a collection of toys and crafts that speak to their heart.
When toys are grouped by theme, they are easier to clean up and store. Get a bin large enough for each “set” you create. Now you have a fast way to rotate groups of toys – store one for a week or two while your child plays with the other.
And, you quickly see where there might be room for expansion or for downsizing. Five dinosaur coloring books may be a bit much but two or three should do the trick – donate the extras to a friend! No dinosaur crafts? Put some paint-your-own dinosaurs on your child’s birthday list – those will fit right in with your ready-made theme (and fit right into your box, too!).
Organizing toys by play theme is great for birthday parties, playdates or celebrating special days like Talk Like a Pirate Day or another fun “celebration day!”
Does your child have too many toys to choose from?
Sometimes, kids get bored or aren’t playing with their toys because there’s simply too many to choose from. They’ve become over-saturated with toys to the point they don’t notice the gems all around them just waiting to spark their imaginations!
Instead of getting rid of perfectly good toys, another way I store and organize my kids’ toys is by developmental skill. I select a toy or two for each skill and stash the rest of them to rotate in and out. Basic skills include these categories:
- Fine Motor
- Large Motor
Of course, most toys cover more than one category and that’s okay! Foil art crafts offer experiences with fine motor skills and artistic expression.
Puppets allow for imaginative play and speech development. The boys love to invent stories and talk in silly voices!
Our See-and-Spell learning toy gives the boys the chance to develop language skills and offers a fine motor activity.
Farm building blocks allow for pretend play and large motor skill development. If he loses interest in the farm blocks, I swap out our Castle block set for a few weeks!
For auditory and emotional expression, a basket of musical instruments makes a colorful and engaging display, and my boys often pick up an instrument and play for a few minutes throughout the day.
Sorting toys by skill allows me to see quickly where we could build our toy collection to offer a variety of experiences. I also discover which toys my boys had grown out of or lost interest in, and set those aside for donation or handing down to their cousins. Every few days or so, I exchange a toy from one skill area, so that it’s not a complete turnover all at once. The boys are thrilled to see a new toy appear on the shelves.
These organization methods help me store and rotate toys without too much fuss. Sometimes I’ll set out a themed toy selection, and other times I’ll have a diverse skill-based toy set. When my boys have toy choices that offer them a variety of experiences, they aren’t sad that not all the toys out at once. And I’m happy to see all our wonderful toys get played with over the course of a few weeks!