Does your home feel like its slowly turning into a toy store? Your toddler doesn’t need that mountain of playthings, mom. In fact, too many options can even hinder him from playing with anything for very long — you’ve probably already noticed this yourself. A few good ones that your child loves (a.k.a. those that can genuinely sustain his attention) are enough.
Research shows, “When provided with fewer toys in the environment, toddlers engage in longer periods of play with a single toy, allowing better focus to explore and play more creatively.” So, lessen the mess and get more breathing room! Here are a few tips:
1. Get rid or donate toys. If every corner of your home, from the living room, dining area and bedroom, looks like a kiddie play area, it’s time to sort through what’s to keep and what’s to get rid of. Toys to stay are those that your child plays with regularly and keeps coming back to — you know the ones.
Toys your child has outgrown, like baby shape sorters and teethers, should go. Toys that only clutter your home, like those with missing parts or small ones from birthday party loot bags and fast food kiddie meals, are not worth hanging on to. Either throw them out or donate those that can still be played with to the Philippine Toy Library.
2. Put toys on display and rotation. Consider getting a low shelf where your child’s favorite toys can go. If having them all out is an eyesore, the shelf can have labeled, small bins (sorted into type like toy vehicles, cooking sets, pretend play costumes, etc.). This way, it will be easier for him to pick which ones to play with instead of pulling out all his toys from deep within a closet or dumping the whole toy bin only to leave them scattered on the floor.
If there are still too many toys to display, put them on the shelf in batches. Display the first batch then, as your child tires of them, keep them (in a storage spot out of reach of your child) and put on display the second batch of toys. This way, his toy shelf will always keep him interested, and there are fewer toys to make a mess with.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
3. Make books easy to reach. Every parent wants to raise a reader. Have a collection of books within easy reach so when he comes toddling over to his play area, the books catch his eye too. Try to display them in such a way that the cover is facing forward. There are kiddie shelves made to do just this (like Petit Mamon’s Bookcase Topper), or you can install low shelves and lean the books on the wall.
4. Be a smarter toy shopper — the simpler, the better. Once your child has exhausted every button on a light-up toy, he’ll quickly lose interest. It’s not likely to be picked up again.
Open-ended toys and those that require imagination (like wooden blocks and plastic cups, a pretend play cooking set, and molding clay) can provide endless fun. It’s up to your child how he wants to play with them. He can turn blocks into a bridge or building and with a cooking set open up a restaurant or play bahay-bahayan. Your child can play with them in numerous ways and develop his creativity and problem-solving skills at the same time.
5. Give gifts that are not toys. Gifts on your child’s birthday or for Christmas don’t have to be toys! A whole day at an amusement park or children's museum is still a lot of fun, plus you get to make memories together too. Have you been to The Fun Farm in Sta. Elena? You could try horseback riding, fishing, going on a carabao cart ride, boating, and feeding the animals. They also have sand shed, a zip line, playgrounds and more.