Upon entering my house, one of the first things one lady said was, "Are you kidding me? " And I thought, "Now what did I do?"
She went on, "Tell me your house isn't always this neat and organized?" I smiled and said, "Well most of the time it is, but only because I'm super anal and hate any sort of clutter lying around..."
"But where are all his toys? I mean, are these all that he has?" she asked pointing to my 8-cubby hole Ikea shelve in the family/playroom.
"Oh no, " I replied, "I will show you his toy closet, we just rotate toys on a weekly basis."
I saw the enlightenment on their faces. It's a simple system really and keeps my house clutter free while also teaching my son how to pick up after himself, respect for his toys, gives him a sense of order and excitement for each new week when "new" toys are brought out. I adopted this system from a few Montessori classrooms I have worked in during my pre-school teaching years and I will never look back. I am certain that this is a great system for our family and keeps everyone happy.
The main rule is that the only amount of toys allowed out at one time must fit in an organized way in one of the 6 cubby holes on the shelf. (Books and the musical instruments have top toy priority in our home so they remain on the shelf forever.) :) Four of the cubbies are used for four toys of Aiden's choice and the two top left cubbies are saved for games, puzzles and learning toys such as the wooden patterning beads pictured here. I think it's important for there to be a variety of toys available at all times to children as you would find in any quality pre-school classroom. Toys like his legos, cars, or garbage truck just let him use his imagination. Books for obvious reasons, musical instruments for creative expression, and one motor skill enhancing toy set like the Lakeshore ball and ring set for more interactive play when other kids come over. There is a space for art with construction paper, markers and crayons always available, (and not always supervised which surprisingly enough has never resulted in crayoned walls as I explained the rules of where we color and where we don't extensively.) At the beginning of each week, (usually on Monday nights) I take most of the toys off the shelf and replace them with "new" toys from his toy closet where everything is kept in categorical clear plastic bins on a big shelf system.
|Art/ block area|