Dr. Kim John Payne, M. ED of Simplicity Parenting said, ‘An avalanche of toys invites emotional disconnect and a sense of overwhelm.’ And he was right. The last thing most parents want to deal with at the end of a busy day is heaps of toys strewn all over the living room floor, as well as your other chores. Apart from littering the whole area, toys can also be a health hazard especially if someone trips over them. You could consider donating those that are least used or never, but if that’s not an acceptable option then proper storage will do it.
The easiest solution for most parents and guardians is to rush to the store and buy whatever they need to keep the toys secure and their houses neat. But what if I told you that there’s a better way, one which will cost you very little and which you can also turn into a fun project for you and your kids? Toys should be purchased for their ability to help your children’s development. Thinking toys like board games and puzzles help children develop their cognitive and fine motor skills. Moving toys such as vehicle and balls encourage children to develop their motor development skills and finally pretending toys like dolls and Lego blocks help children develop their social and emotional skills.
This means toys, toys, and more toys and finding storage for all of them is very important. There are many storage units and apparatus that you can use, but I will discuss six simple ones that you can make at home without much expense and the exercise can be fun for you and your children.
1. Canvas Bags
Canvas bags can be turned into storage units for children’s toys. Simple bags can be dyed, painted or embroidered and then padded and hang on command hooks within easy reach of those tiny hands. The larger toys could be placed in canvas bags lined up neatly along the walls. Apart from keeping the floor clear, when properly arranged, their diverse colors could actually beautify the décor of the rooms.
2. Old Shoeboxes
Old Shoe Boxes are usually tossed aside and forgotten, but they are a perfect solution to your toys storage problem. You can store small toys, marker pens and even beauty products for older children. Get a couple or as many as you need, have the little ones join you in painting them and if you like, they could inscribe their names on their personal boxes. Once they are done with play time, encourage them to arrange the toys into the boxes, which can then be slipped away out of sight either under the beds or neatly stacked in a corner of whichever room you feel is convenient for the purpose.
3. DIY Toy Shelves Made From an Old Tire
Oh, it’s just an old tire, you will say, but did you know that this too can be turned into a storage unit for your children’s toys? If you have old tires, a little bit of plank, paint and the enthusiasm of a five-year-old, the discarded tires will soon become storage shelves for your children’s toys like cars and even animals. Imagine the look of wonder on your children’s faces when they realize that they too can create beauty which is also useful.
4. Plastic Jars
For those Lego blocks, farmyard animals, racing cars, pens, pencils and crayons, plastic jars with different color lids will make the end of play time another play time of its own. Decide which toys go into which jar and train the little ones to do the same. After a while, you’ll realize that they can put their toys away on their own. If you’re feeling a little bit more inspired, old peanut butter jars with handles protruding from the lids can be used for small light toys and the little ones can then feel proud of transporting their own toys from one room to another.
5. Toy Hammock
Those large stuffed toys and dolls could have a lovely ride on a self-made hammock which your children can then hang on their bedposts, under a desk or table, or at the corner of their rooms and enjoy swinging their toys. Storage hammocks are easy to make as long as you have canvas, cloth or wool. So go ahead and put your crocheting skills to good use, you and your kids will love it.
Last but not least, think about those toys that your little ones use in the bath. If not properly stored they could be breeding grounds for diseases as they easily grow mold and mildew over time. Proper drainage and airflow is important for storing wet toys and one of the easiest things to use are colanders and dollar store baskets. Simply hang them on the bathroom wall using command hooks and you’re home and dry. The holes let the water drain away overnight, leaving the toys dry and ready to be immersed into water once again. Mr. Froggie and Duckie will then always be safe for your kids!