If you have even one child, you may feel multiple conflicting emotions at that single-syllable simple word. For one thing, you probably know how quickly toys can multiply. You also probably know the feeling of stepping on a sharp plastic toy in the middle of the night that was left on the kitchen floor. You also probably have experienced first-hand the electronic toy with the annoying theme song that the kids love and that the kids play over, and over, and over again until you are hoping the battery dies or the toy breaks. 😉 (Please, please, please tell me I’m not the only mom who has felt this! 🙂 ) If you have more than one child, you’ve no doubt experienced the lost-but-suddenly-found toy that is all of a sudden “my favorite!” that they’re fighting over and that they have to have now.
For all the frustrations toys bring, they also bring a lot of joy.
A child cuddling with a loved doll or stuffed animal while they are sick with a cold…a toy food sandwich carefully assembled and brought to mommy when she’s having a hard day (my favorite was the bun, cucumber, marshmallow sandwich my 5 year old brought me the other day)…siblings playing well for hours together with blocks, creating towers and castle creations.
Our 5th child (and 4th boy) was born 6 weeks ago, so our house is no stranger to toys. Baritone and I are big fans of open-ended toys that encourage creativity and stimulate the imagination. A few months ago I read this excellent book, and I agree with a lot of what the author had to say about avoiding toys that only serve one purpose…like the plastic Disney character doll that is a Disney character and nothing else, whereas a beloved rag-style doll can be a baby, a princess, etc.
Our children have lovely aunts and uncles and grandparents who are extremely generous at birthdays and Christmas (and yes at all times in-between!). We buy the kids toys, yes, but most of the toys our children have came from loving relatives.
There are multiple topics here that I could cover, and I’m starting to stray a bit afar from what I actually wanted to write about – and that’s “toy rotating”.
The concept of toy rotating is floating around many blogs nowadays. The way toy rotating works is this – first you sort all the children’s toys by category: dress up clothes, blocks, trains, cars, toy food/dishes, dolls, etc. Bins, boxes, however you contain them, sort the toys into these holding containers and find a place to store the containers. The containers are brought out one at a time (or depending on your patience level, so they say, two at a time) and when those toys are done being played with they’re packed up again and the next set is brought out.
My reaction to this concept is two-fold.
My first reaction is, “Wow this is awesome…so organized, and it seems like it would help with the messes that need to be picked up at the end of the day. I wish I could be this organized.”
Then I start to think about it a bit more…and my initial reaction wears off.
For one thing, this would not work for us because neither Baritone nor I am a toy store. I cannot manage sorting and clean up and get different bins of toys out whenever the interest in the current set wears off…I just don’t have this kind of time (what mom with 5 children 5 years old and under in the house does, I’d like to know?!). In addition, the kids need to learn to be keepers of and manage their things…this is a life lesson they need to learn, with parental help yes, but still they need to work on this themselves.
If our family toy-rotated, would Baritone and I ever have woken up to this adorable scene? (And yes can you tell our kids really want Christmas to come? 🙂 )
How many different toy sets can you spot in this photo? Train set pieces…blocks…legos…Little People farm pieces and Little People Pirate Ship pieces…if we toy-rotated, and only allowed one (or two) of these sets out at a time, this kind of creativity couldn’t happen. 🙂
Please keep in mind, if you toy rotate and this works for you and your family that’s awesome – keep it up, and kudos for finding an organized solution that works for you!
Do you rotate toys? What are some of your toy strategies?