3 Tips for Organizing ToysDec 22, 2021
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When children are at play, things can easily get messy in any home! There are spills, smudges, loose parts and broken or missing objects. Childhood can be a messy process.
The key is taking that extra bit of time when the playing is done, to help the child bring things back to their organized origin. This focus on organization is not about perfection. It’s simply about creating a sense of external order that the child internalizes and applies to other things in life. And yes, it's pleasing to the eye. That’s why those Instagram and Pinterest posts look so amazing. But that doesn’t mean it's a constant perfect state. It is about getting into the routine of putting things away, before moving on to the next thing on the fun list.
Here are some ways you can create this sense of order in your home and the benefits it can have for your child:
Image (left): Before picture of child playing with things on the floor. Image (right) After picture of child having cleaned up toys.
1. Have a Place for Everything
If right now your children’s toys end up in one big box or bin when cleaning up, it’s time to look at the bigger picture. When your child is learning new things, it doesn’t go into one big pile in their brain. It gets sorted and categorized by topic or schema, so that the brain can retrieve that information later on.
You can actually support your child in doing this by designating a place for everything in your home. Begin with toys and, along with your child, designate where the blocks will go, toy cars, dolls and even have a spot for random objects.
This toy shelf really helped us keep the toys in our home organized:
Image: White shelf with 3 pull out drawers (from Amazon)
2. Use Bins or Baskets
If you only have one large toy box, consider smaller bins or baskets to reinforce the concept of sorting and classifying. After you have sorted through the toys, decide the best way to organize them. This can be done by type of toy or even color. I found that it helped my children when we kept toys organized by type so all the balls went into one basket, baby doll items in another.
Wicker baskets are pretty popular in Montessori spaces because of the emphasis on natural materials. But lately, we’ve been using these acrylic bins because they help children see where everything goes and are easy to clean.
Image: Clear Acrylic Bins for Storage (from Amazon)
3. Be Present in the Process
This one is not about the toys but about you…the parent. If you often ask your child to clean up, only to find that they haven’t, it might be because they’re not sure where to begin. When children are done playing, it’s usually because they are tired. It can be overwhelming to clean up a messy room in that state of fatigue when everything is everywhere.
The best way to help with this is to become part of the process. Have your child choose what they will put away and you pick something too. It may not be your mess, but they’ll learn the value of having a helping hand, and may end up helping someone else when the time comes.
The end result? A more organized home with a designated place for things that feels like Montessori magic.
Are you willing to try it? Share how it goes by posting a before-and-after photo on instagram and tag @montessoriwithalicia. Would love to hear how it goes!
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