Saturday, January 8, 2011

~Simplify on Saturday~ toys

Toys.  Did you know that toys and rabbits are distant relatives?  Little buggers reproduce when you are not looking and suddenly your play room, toy space or bedroom are OVERFLOWING!

I thought that I had done an adequate job thinning out  around Thanksgiving time.  I was *wrong*.  Today I am attacking our play room.  Anything that is too juvenile will be donated to our church daycare.  Anything that is a duplicate or close second will also be donated.  The stuffed animals.  Gah.  They are so hard to thin.  lol must be done.  Or at least, they must be sorted and rotated for play.....which brings me to.....

Toy Rotation 
Do you do this?  It is the only way I keep our play room usable, and we have a pretty nice sized playroom.  E is 5.5 and B is nearly 4.  They have AMAZING imaginations.  But...when they are overwhelmed...all play stops and they are simply frustratedSo...I rotate toys.  This is a common practice in the kindergarten classrooms of yesteryear (you know...when K was a time to learn through play and social interaction?) and of most all preschools.  Fresh toys weekly or every two weeks will give a child's imagination a new palate to create with.  I am not going to sugar coat it and say that it is easy to start...but once you are in the groove, it is *amazing*.

Our playroom has a nice sized closet (it is really a bedroom) and also an armoire in it.  The closet is strictly off limits and used to store tubs of toys that are out of rotation.  It is actually partially blocked and E and B think of it more as a wall than closet doors.  The armoire is open on the bottom (I removed the doors as they impeded the play space) and closed at the top (more out of rotation toy storage.)  Toys not being played with are stored in the bottom area of the armoire as well as in baskets and crates around the room.
Two permanent structures include a play kitchen-the best purchase ever-and a train table-easily the second best purchase ever.  ;)  I rotate the items in the play kitchen to keep E and B creating new recipes.  The train table is currently a playmobile safari area.  I LOVE that is has a second purpose.  It will be swapped out again as needed.  :)  Permanent toys are the maple blocks, the brightly stained cube and flat blocks and our playsilk collection.  These three are constantly shifting purposes....they become just everything and are such a flexible imaginary toy.  I adore them.  I could easily rid our playroom of almost everything else and *still* watch my children create new play with them alone.

Constantly rotating are puzzles from our nice sized collection.  Various trucks and doll play items.  Different mediums of play food-wooden, wool, or felt.  Legos, K'nex, Lincoln Logs.  Games.  lol...lots of games.  Board games or skill games...there is always something to play either alone or with a partner.   I think you get the idea.  I try to limit our room to a small selection from any "type" of play.  They each week, select something new.  If E and B are really engaged with any toy, it stays for a second week.  The really look forward to the "shift" and having new items.  :)

I am rearranging the big things I should get to it.  :)  Go rearrange and sort through your toys if you have not recently.  Your kiddos will really appreciate it...and you'll appreciate the way they play when they are less overwhelmed.  :)


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