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Most kids love toys. They see commercials for new toys and “want this” and “want that” and yet they have dozens of toys that sit all over the house. You know, those toys they “had to have” that never seem to get played with after the first few days. Do your kids bicker and say they are bored? Do they only want to play in their play area when you will come too? Do they constantly make messes and then riot when you ask them to clean up? Can I get a hand raise for all the fellow parents who have stepped on a dreaded lego that happened to be under your feet while you are rushing to get dinner on the table? If this doesn’t sound familiar, please share what magic you have!
Many of us try to have designated play space for the toys to housed with high hopes that the kids will play and learn and we can drink all that coffee before it gets cold. The truth is though, for many of us, play areas actually make our lives so much harder then we need. We found out the hard way that having lots of toys available didn’t in fact give them an outlet to be creative. It didn’t give me time to finally unload and reload the dishwasher. The toys, quite simply, just made a mess; a mess we needed to clean while they complained about being bored.
Don’t worry, if this sounds familiar, we did find a solution that worked for us and I am here to share our secret.
First off, have less. Simplify your toys. Rotate them in some way shape or form and watch them magically start playing. Secondly, there is a top secret tip that I want to share that has literally changed our lives. You know those toys that your kids play with that seemingly have no less than 1 million pieces? I’m talking LEGOs , Wedgits, Mr. Potato Head, Animal Figurines and so on…
These toys are tons of fun and impossible to clean up when they get mixed together on the floor. Who has time to sit and sort through 3 million pieces from 3 different sets of toys? This mom doesn’t so I came up with a system: the Million Piece Toy System, lets call it MPTS for short ( I just made that up right now, its not a thing… maybe it will become one and the blog will be famous? Heres to hoping!)
Ready for the tip that will save you hours of cleaning and bickering time? Ok…
STEP #1: ID what toys you are constantly finding all over the house that have far too many pieces from your perspective. (IM LOOKING AT YOU Shopkins!)
STEP #2: Sort them once into appropriately sized buckets and never do it again… I mean it!
STEP #3: Only allow 1 MPT out at a time. Think about it… 1 bucket, with its 1 million piece contents all over the floor and yet, everything is going back to that one place. Even a 1 year old can help put all the pieces in one place! No sorting. Ever. Again. Brilliant right?
When your kids are bored, pull one out and watch them have a blast with something they haven’t seen in a while. They will enjoy them until they don’t and then you all pack them up. We keep 1MPT out in the playroom at a time. If the older ones ask for a specific one I’ll happily take it out for them, once the current one is picked up. Of course you need to make space for the other MPT containers which can be tricky for some homes but if its possible… I highly recommend you do this to save your sanity and your feet in the case of legos.
We have committed to being purposeful with what toys we have in our house and how much is accessible at a time. By being very intentional with our play space, our kids actually play more and even play independently. As a bonus, the cleanup is minimal comparatively. Do you have a system you love for your toys? Any tips? Let me know!
I have had a few people reach out asking where the slide and kitchen came from. We bought this IKEA slide used as it has been discontinued for years. Here is a similar wooden indoor slide. I can not stress enough how great this is for my kids! They wake up and move and then we focus MUCH better! The Pottery Barn kitchen was also bought used as there always seems to be plenty available that are gently loved. The good news is you can buy great quality wooden kitchens new for a decent price these days. This IKEA Duktig Mini-kitchen is a favorite of ours and would have been what we bought if we bought a new one. With Christmas coming up I thought I would share! xo Jenn