Ah, another year and another chance to start fresh! If all you see when you look around your child’s play area is clutter, clutter, clutter, it may be time to make room for the new and do something about the old, the broken, and the unused!
1. Make Room
The first step to creating an inviting play space for your child is literally making room. Start this process by sorting through all the toys. Your child can help with this, too! Group objects into definite keepers, ones broken/missing pieces, and ones that are no longer used.
2. Make a Donation
With the toys that you’re willing to part with, make a donation to a local charity, family member or friend. Children can often be happily persuaded to take part in giving away toys once they know where their once-cherished toys are going. Knowing that “Cousin Caleb” will be thrilled with these toys can make it easier to say good bye to toys that are no longer used. It can also help children to develop a sense of gratitude and well-being for helping others.
3. Let it Go
As a rule, broken toys should be discarded right away for safety’s sake. You will likely also find an assortment of toys that are missing pieces. It may be the right time to repurpose, recycle or discard incomplete items!
4. Take Turns
Now, you’re down to the keepers! A great way to keep the play environment stimulating is to rotate toys in and out of the play area every 3 to 4 weeks. Take a large storage container (or a few) and pack away a portion of the toys (no favorites!). Let your child know that those toys are taking a break for a few weeks and will be back soon. When those toys come back into the play area they will be explored and enjoyed with renewed interest.
5. Get Out the Label Maker (or make your own)
If you’re feeling super-serious about wanting the space to stay organized, you can do what many schools do – label the correct location for each item. Not only does this assign a place for everything, but it also reinforces letter recognition and reading skills! For DIY labels, use stickers or construction paper, cut into strips. This can become a fun activity for the kids! Let children use crayons, pencils or markers to draw pictures of their toy “treasures” then tape the pictures on the proper containers. It’s a great way to encourage a child’s sense of ownership in keeping their things organized – and can make clean up more fun!
6. Get Playing!
Your new improved play space is sure to inspire hours of creativity, silliness, learning and fun. What are you waiting for? Get playing!
What are your favorite ways of making room for more enjoyable play? Share your tips and suggestions in the comments below!