I have purchased a total of four toys since the girls have been born. Two little bug car things for their Christmas stockings this year, a stacking ring toy, and a "put the blocks in the hole" bucket thing (that is totally the technical name for that toy!).
I am thankful that there are people in the girls' lives who want to shower them with love, attention, and occasionally gifts.
I know some people who ask that toys not be given to their child/children as gifts. I get that. BUT I also get that gift-giving is a love language. I suffer from a bit of this myself. I
don't want to deny someone the opportunity to give a gift if that is truly something he/she loves to do.
To my friends and family: Please do not ever feel obligated to buy my children gifts. You are more than welcome to attend a party/event empty-handed! No judgement passed here! seriously.
That being said, we have a generous amount of toys to work with. Steve and I considered donating some items, but we decided against that at this time. The majority of the toys in our den were given to the girls either in September for their birthday or just in the last few weeks for Christmas. It didn't feel right to get rid of new toys. The amount of mess being created each day was getting out of hand, so we came up with a plan. We decided to divide the toys up and allow the girls to play with a certain group of toys on certain days. When we started cleaning and organizing the toys, I became SO overwhelmed. I could then only imagine how over-stimulated the girls could feel surrounded by so many options. Let me say this: we have good toys. We have building blocks, alphabet cubes, stacking cups, babies with bottles and hairbrushes, a kitchen and its contents....all good, educational/developmental-minded stuff. Regardless of how much good we have, I imagine that an overwhelmed baby is not going to benefit much in such a cluttered, busy environment.
So divisions have been made. All parts are back in the correct containers, buckets, bowls. We even weeded out some toys that we are too, ahem, advanced for. :)
I tried to put items together that would make for a fun play experience eg. babies, bottles, purses, bracelets, hairbrushes, and extra baby clothes all in one bucket. After fussing over this for a bit, I realized that the girls are 16 months old-it doesn't matter. Most days Holland walks around with a play hoagie from the kitchen as a telephone.
So we have groups of toys. Some items have been barricaded behind the ever so lovely gated area of the den. Some I put in a plastic tub in the laundry room. I don't have a schedule or really a plan other than at the end of the day, trade one bucket/basket/tub for another. They will get 4 books each day in addition to a small variety of items. Some days I'll take the drawer out of the kitchen that is filled with utensils, pots, and food and put it up. Some days they will have noisy/musical toys. Other days there will be finger puppets and push toys; or the bus, farm, and airplane filled with Little People.
Hopefully this will cut down on the mess while giving the girls a more meaningful play experience. It's not much of a plan, but I feel like it is a good start. The teacher in me is eagerly awaiting the day when we can have full-on centers! :)
|our restructured clean-for-the-moment toy area|