Toys driving you mad? Here are some practical tips on controlling the mess!
Big deep toy boxes often don’t work well. Toys get jumbled into one big mess, small pieces get lost in the tangle and toddlers have no choice but to empty the whole thing on the floor to find what they want.
Collect lots of small, easy to handle, easy to carry, un-lidded containers, so children can sort their toys into groups – all the building things in one, wheeled toys in another, and so on.
Have fun with lots of big, coloured hooks labelled for coats, hats, bags, skipping ropes, dress-ups. It may not look elegant, but you and your children will be able to find what you need.
Use symbols or colours, even allocate one colour to each child if that works for you. Eg Sophie has a pink towel, pink toothbrush, pink hook for clothes and a pink box, or pink star on her box of toys.
Organise things into activity areas – puzzles, reading, art – so everything to do with that activity is there. Eg keep paper, aprons, wipe-up cloths and hanging pegs in one bin along with the pens, pencils, crayons, brushes and paints to make set up and cleaning up easy. During the day, convert a space from one activity to another by putting art stuff away and bringing out the puzzles bin.
Make finding stuff and putting it away fun and interesting to build good habits for a lifetime.
Preschool teachers have made an art of labelling boxes and crates.