It was just last week when I was listening to my friend Rachel Norman’s podcast on keeping a tidy home when the moment of inspiration hit me—the toys in our house aren’t so tidy after all!
For as organized and as routine-oriented as I like to be, the toys certainly fell by the wayside.
So I decided to get busy and go through the toys in our home, minimize, organize and see what happened.
It really was miraculous because something totally changed that day with my son. He started to thrive in some amazing ways!
Which begs the question…
How can simple toy organization help toddlers thrive?
Less distraction means increased focusing.
With the toys scattered everywhere, toddlers can experience a difficult time playing with a set of toys for any length of time. With toys grouped among like toys, the light bulb turns on.
In our situation, it was as if my son was saying, ‘Oh, this is what I am going to play with right now.’ He wasn’t getting a glimpse of a bunch of other toys scattered all around the floor to entice him to move on to other things. He started focusing longer on a given set of toys.
Improved decision making.
With things organized in various bins, it was so much easier for him to decide what he wanted to play with. Originally all the toys were grouped in one giant toy basket. Too many toys at once can overwhelm toddlers.
Afterward, the toys were grouped in 3 small bins with similar toys. The remaining toys were put in the closet for later rotation. When given a choice of toys to play with, he was quick to choose, rather than rummaging through everything and not really playing at all.
More appreciation of all toys.
Toy organization helps toddlers see with eyes wide open the toys that are actually available. With our prior system, all the toys were stuffed in one large toy bin, and he was unable to see all the hidden treasures underneath the top layer.
Afterward, he seemed to enjoy his toys so much more. Many of them probably seemed brand new to him as they’d been buried at the bottom of the toy bin for weeks or more.
Provides a clear direction and purpose for play.
I think setting a clear direction for play can help toddlers better enjoy play. Like I said before, it can be so overwhelming looking at all the toys in one big pile and not know where to begin.
So for example, putting all the cars in one bin helped him play more intentionally and purposefully with them. He became more creative with all the cars as a group than if he only had one or two cars in mixed in with tons of other toys.
Now, I’m not saying that he shouldn’t play with different toys at the same time. However, allowing him to play with a set group of similar toys seems to help him get more out of less.
Finally, how to get organized.
I kept it real simple.
I simply grouped similar toys into 3 small toy bins in our home. One is in the living room and the other two are in his room. The books went on the shelf, and all the bath tub toys are tucked away nicely in the little blue basket suctioned to the bathroom tile wall.
That is all. No crazy Pinterest or Super Mom organization required!
All the remaining toys were tucked away in the closet for future rotation and use since we all know toy rotation helps all kids learn and engage better with “new” toys.
Although if you are looking for some totally awesome toy organization inspiration, check out my Pinterest board!
Organizing your toys can help reduce clutter in your home, in addition to helping your toddler thrive during play activities.
My son was better able to enjoy playtime and focus a given activity. He was happier, my house was less cluttered, and we both THRIVED.
What are your best tips for organizing toys?
Do you think toy organization has a positive effect on toddler play?
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