I don’t know about you guys, but I hate it when my kids are wanting to play with a certain toy and they end up dumping the entire contents of their toy box, or bins, on the floor and start looking for all the tiny pieces. Anyone with as large of a collection of Fisher Price’s Imaginext line as we have should be nodding their heads and high-fiving the screen about now. So this week, I’ve done the unthinkable. I got rid of my 6 yr olds toy box. It’s gone. Out for donation to whatever charity has been calling me for a pickup this week.
Seems a bit drastic, no? I can’t say it’s not easier to just throw all the toys in one large bucket, rather than separate everything out into smaller containers, but my sanity will be saved in the long run, and here’s why. You see, when a toy that has many pieces is thrown into a large box, what happens? The smaller pieces will drop to the bottom, leaving the larger ones on top, so now, in order to get to those small pieces, the child has to essentially empty the box to get to them right?! Well, I’ve also found that if my kids can’t find all the pieces that go to the Imaginext set or Transformers, those toys simply don’t get played with. Then, inevitably in my house, the kids will start saying their toys are lost/broken/boring and they start begging for new ones.
To solve this problem, I’ve brought back those colorful bins. You know the ones, wooden base, 3-4 rows with 2-4 bins in primary or pastel colors. Every large discount store sells them for around $40 and if you are really lucky, you can find them on sale! I have now separated the small Transformers from the larger ones, we have the Playmobil dragon sets apart from the knights, the Toy Story Imaginext on a different level from the Batman sets.
I would be lying if I said this was a time saver. It’s not. But it has lengthened the lifespan of the toys when we have used this method in the past. In fact, I use this with Brady, my 3 year old with special needs, and it has helped him learn how to put his toys away. We even went to far as to put a photograph of the toys that belong in the bin on the front. For all the kids, I rotate their toys about every 2-4 months to keep the interest going. This method of colored bins helps make that easy and when I bring out a “new” set for them to play with, they aren’t begging me to go to the toy store.