There is a chore in my home that brings out the procrastinator in me. This particular chore is so big and so difficult, that I create new tasks just to avoid starting the dreaded job. What could be so bad: My toddler’s bedroom – a.k.a. fighting the battle of ‘too many toys!’
The problem doesn’t arrive from a lack of organization or space to put things, but from just too many toys in the first place. His room, when tidy, looks like a little toy store gone mad. My husband built custom shelving just for the toys and books, with varying shelf sizes to accommodate different types of toys and sizes of books. However, when I take a close look at the contents, it’s obvious that there’s lots of ‘stuff’, but little thought went into most of it.
How should you select and organize your child’s toys? Choosing quality kids’ toys, selected by their developmental stage and abilities, is the first step. Most toys have a recommended age on the package to let you know the appropriate age group. Take cues from your own child to guide you in whether he is ready for a certain toy.
Make sure that the toys you’re buying actually “do” what they are supposed to. If puzzle pieces aren’t cut correctly, your child will get angry and frustrated when they play with it. I’ve recently made the mistake of buying a puzzle that was supposed to be appropriate for ages 18 months to 3 years, only to find that the pieces were very difficult to place, and my son became upset every time he played with the puzzle.
Some suggestions for Toddler and Preschool Toys
• Activity tables/centers
• Sorting boxes
• Snap together Blocks – Leggos
• Puzzles – up to 5 wooden pieces
• Figures for dollhouse, farm, etc.
• Dress up clothes
• Trucks and wagons to haul things
• Housekeeping and shopping toys
• Sewing cards
• Buttoning, zipping, snapping dolls or boards
• Preschool age games like Memory and Candy land etc.
Most importantly, choose toys that stimulate your child’s mind and that create learning experiences. Provide an adequate amount of toys for your child. Don’t do as I have and overwhelm your child with too much ‘stuff’ causing both of you to become frustrated. As we all know, most little kids have a more fun playing with the box the toy came in while the new toy sits idly on the floor. Now it’s time for me to stop procrastinating and fight the battle of ‘too many toys.’