We have organized a toy library to help keep the toys in our home manageable.
For a while, we had a toy rotation but they still had too many choices. When our kids have too many toy choices, they just drag everything out but don’t really play with anything – too many choices can overwhelm young children.
Our children tend to play better if their toys are not all out at once. Allowing them to choose a toy or two to play with at a time helps them to engage more deeply in their play. Plus, there are fewer toys out so our house is not over run with toys.
All of their toys are not always stored in the library. We currently have 3 drawers in the end of their bunk bed that contain imaginative play things. One drawer holds their play dishes and two drawers hold their dress up things. These are always accessible.
The rest of the toys are organized in the toy library in their closet.
To organize our toy library, we evaluated each of their toys.
Toys that Stayed:
- Sparked creative play
- Building toys
- Musical Instruments
Toys that Went:
- Battery operated
- Close ended toys
- Low quality toys
After culling toys, we sorted the remaining toys into categories like trains, farm animals, cars, blocks, etc. We then grouped like toys together into bins to store on the shelves.
At the beginning of the day, they choose the toys they want to play with. If one boy wants to play with the farm animals, he gets the bin that holds the farm animals as well as the play barn and tractors. Another boy may choose to play trains so he gets the bin that contains all of the trains and train tracks.
They can play with these toys individually or together, it’s up to them. We just ask that they pick up those toys and put them away before choosing another toy or toy bin to play with.
At 3 and 4, they’ve not quite mastered putting the toys away before choosing another but they’re learning. I often encourage them and help them with the pick up process.
With this toy library set up, the amount of toys throughout our home during the day has been greatly reduced. There still are toys all over their room and in our living room but every toy they own has not been pulled out.
Another benefit of this toy library, clean up is simple. At the end of the day, we put the toys back into the bins or drawers they belong in. It only takes a few minutes to pick up and all tripping hazards have been removed for the night.
How do you organize your children’s toys?