You gave up a room or dedicated a space in your home and dubbed it the “playroom” with the hopes that all toys, and kiddos playing with said toys, would remain contained in that space. Yet, you find yourself stepping on a landmine of various hard objects just trying to get into the fridge, and the kiddos want to play ANYWHERE but the space you allocated for them. Sound familiar?
In this scenario, the kiddos, now 6 and 4, were graciously granted what used to the office/library when the second born arrived. The room was decorated impeccably, housed all the toys…and still, the kiddos managed to drag every toy out of the room. Instead of a playroom, the family was stuck with a constant toy explosion over their main living area. The mom was losing her mind!
Episode 1: Toys vs. Mom
Or kids vs. mom-on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown if she stepped on one more matchbox car. If you’re reading this, then you know. It hurts, a lot! After ensuring everyone was well fed, we ventured into the playroom. The goal for the day was to sort and edit the extensive collection of “stuff”.
Step 1: Sort
We needed the kiddos to feel empowered during this process. Without their buy-in, the situation wasn’t going to change and mom was going to continue stepping on toys. It was important that we didn't overwhelm either, prior to bringing everyone into the space, we grouped all the toys:
Step 2: Edit
Once the items were grouped, we went through one by one and discussed the merits of each. Okay, maybe the cheap plastic toys were discarded beforehand! We talked about other kids who might not have any toys, and how sad that must be. The kids came up with the idea to donate to others all on their own. We then identified toys that:
It was fun hearing the kiddos speak of their memories of some of the toys they were passing on. They also re-discovered toys that they forgotten they had! It was like Christmas in July. Because THEY made the decision to donate or keep, we didn’t face any tears when some of the toys went out the front door.
Step 3: Clean
Anytime you empty a cupboard, closet or drawer use that time to give it a quick clean. We like to mix our own natural solution with essential oils, vinegar and water. No harsh chemical smells and it’s safe for all. If it’s dusty, give a quick vacuum before you wipe.
Step 4: Return
Now that you’ve got a floor full of stuff…it’s time to put it away. In Episode 3, we will share our favorite storage options and ones that worked really well in this scenario. When working with toys, we recommend:
Step 5: Call all your relatives and request that they rethink Holiday/Birthday gifts.
Seriously, do it. Ask for experiential gifts like museum passes, pottery painting gift certificates, a date day (lunch and a movie). If they insist on getting a “thing” try to steer them in the direction of gifts that are STEM focused or activity based like board/card games, or art projects.
Check back tomorrow when we talk about some of the physical changes we made to the space to make it more enticing for the kiddos.
Episode 1: Toys vs. Family
Episode 2: The Art Table is to small...and it's in my kitchen
Episode 3: Fav Bins & Storage Solutions
Episode 4: Organizing Art Supplies and the Subsequent Creations