Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Toys, Toys, Toys

It is amazing how fast kids collect toys. I don't even know how they add up so fast. Zoey has a lot of toys. The cool part is that she plays with almost all of them. Not at the same time, but every couple of weeks she naturally cycles through each toy being her favorite. When she gets new toys, they go right into the mix. So, I don't feel the need to consolidate any of her toys. And with the exception of her "baby" toys, which are already put up, she hasn't outgrown any of them either.

Zoey playing with her Little People. They are all grouped together so she
can pretend with them all. In fact, this is how she learned her animal sounds.

What this means is, I have given myself the challenge to organize her toys. *deep breath* Every house is different and every kid is different, but for us there is a particular way we (mostly meaning me the mommy) organizes the toys. I generally shy away from getting a big box to throw everything in. I don't condemn this method and I know it is a popular one, but it isn't for us. Don't get me wrong, we do have "catch all" bins, but for the most part Zoey's toys stay grouped together.

This comes up because that is what we did this morning. We cleaned and organized her toys. The past few weeks have been very busy so we have been slacking on picking up the clutter. Add that with the coming and goings of multiple children through the house and basically it means we have a mess.

It happens, I know it does, but it was starting to stress me out. We couldn't play tea party because the tea set was scattered about her room. We couldn't build with her blocks because they were strung about several buckets. I have found that she just doesn't play with toys as well when they are not grouped together. Little People just aren't as fun to play with if there are no animals to put with the farm or no people to put in the house. So I spend a great effort to help her keep her toys grouped together in their own bins. I feel like this is well worth the effort. Not only does she enjoy playing with them more and more often, but the toys also are less likely to get broken or lost.

So this morning Zoey had a blast as she helped me dump out all of her toys in the middle of the floor. We got all of our containers together to separate the different types of toys. She helped me throw all her cars into a bucket, but all of her little people in their basket and all of the blocks in their own container. And yes, that "catch all" bin got it's fill as well.

The cool part was even as we finished up she was already playing with her toys in their group. She gave all of her cars their turn to go down the ramp, we had a tea party after lunch and she even read off her deck of cards.

We even managed to get her room straightened up and she was real excited to be able to run around in it again. Most of her toys are either on one side of the living room or in her room. For the longest time, she brought toys from her room to play with in the living room, but lately that pattern flipped. Now she tends to take toys from the living room to play with by herself in her room. This has made her room more hectic than it previously was. After this morning, it is set right again.

And with the organization comes an easier way to clean up too. Zoey is getting better and better about putting things away. Granted it comes and goes, but with a little reminder she gets it. After this morning's efforts, I think she understands (at least to some extent) why keeping her toys cleaned up matters. It's simply more fun to play with a collection of things than mix and matched pieces.

The crazy part is that it didn't even take us that long to get all most of her toys together. In my opinion it is worth the effort to keep all of her toys picked up and grouped together. Besides, it is so much more fun to drag everything out and you can't do that if you are already stepping over it or have it piled in unorganized bunches.

So a morning well worth it. However, we'll see if Stephen can tell we did anything this morning by the time he gets home from work. Did I mention dragging the toys out was the most fun?

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