We've had a "one toy out at a time" rule for some time (stifle that laugh, please). With two well-meaning but highly imaginative, active boys to keep up with, we mostly find ourselves nagging, "Uh-oh! Looks like we have more than one toy out right now." "You can get that one out after these are put away." "How many toys are out right now?" "What's the toy rule, boys??" We generally do a toy sweep before nap and before bed, but it often takes so long that we lose out on precious story time. A true tragedy, we all agree.
We don't have too many toys (we like it that way), but the kids don't tend to stick with one plaything for long, so they can go through them fairly quickly. And more often than not, we find all sorts of non-toys made toys scattered among the true toys (you know: sticks, buckets, jars, hangers, stolen items from various places, etc. etc.), which makes clean-up even more daunting. Ask any child, it's much more fun to get them out than put them back!
The "one toy" rule just hasn't worked, so we're trying something new. The toy rotation.
They set themselves up for it, really. After they shamelessly gutted every toy from the closet last Monday, we seized the opportunity to have them look everything over and choose three toys to play with for the upcoming week. They chose the magnet trains and tracks, the shape cube, and the big blocks (as we call them). Everything else went in the blue tub or on a closet shelf, not to be touched. All the books and the easel also remained out. And that little tent.
Their closet looks neater and clean-up has been easier on everyone. If they wanted to play with something they didn't choose, they could keep it in mind for the next rotation (which we'll do during Monday Family Night). When they did get the designated toys out, they played with them more thoroughly than before. For now, it's a good solution. More fun, more organization, and best of all, more peace.
How do you organize and clean up your toys at home?