toys, toys, toys

We have too many toys…said EVERY. MOTHER.EVER

Now that Maelle is two, she’s outgrown many of the items we’ve had around the house. She also just had a birthday party, and received heaps of new things to play with.

A few months ago, I ‘cycled’ and reorganized some of her toys, putting away ‘baby’ toys and moving things to new spaces to freshen everything up. Here’s a ‘before’ shot of the cabinet near her little kitchen where I keep her play food. It was jam-packed, the mixer was broken and there were just too many options.

Here’s the ‘after’ shot. I put away the sushi set and felt food for later, and got rid of the broken mixer and some of the dishes. I also ‘set a place’ using a plate, drink and utensils. The most recent additions were a stir-fry set and her tea set.

One of my inspirations behind the toy reorganization was a book I’d grabbed from the library, The Montessori Toddler. I enjoyed flipping through it (who has time to read an entire book these days?), and learned a lot about how I can help Maelle have better experiences with her toys and even regular household items. One thing I did was create a ‘music’ bin, and put her maracas and xylophone inside. I’ve since added a small tambourine, as well.

This is the top of a toy-organizing unit I found at IKEA. While the Montessori approach favors more open storage, I already have this and prefer most things to be tucked away. However, I do try to keep the items on top tidy, uncluttered and at her current skill level. I’d say these items were most-used when she was approximately 18 months. I took the bead-threading kit out of the bag it came in and had it more available in a small tray.

Here is the same unit, re-stocked with things she received for her 2nd birthday, most of which came from the Lovevery ‘The Helper’ kit for 25-27 month-old toddlers. I asked my parents to gift it to her, as it comes with a beautiful ‘sustainable sink’ that recycles the water. However, all the other items in the kit (felted wool flowers, ‘connect-four’ type game, muffin-baking book, 3-D puzzle and ‘daily task’ flashcards) have been huge hits. Maelle likes them all and I love watching her master this new puzzle!

We’ve given Maelle a couple of the Lovevery kits so far, but this one truly stands out. I love how beautiful and well-made all the toys are. They are a delight to have sitting out, and they stand up to wear and tear as well.

Maelle’s little table and chair set used to sit on this rug, but I moved it to where her teepee used to stand in the corner of her play area. While she enjoyed running into the teepee to ‘hide,’ I felt it was taking up too much space for this spot. I’m hoping to set it up again in her room soon.

She received a Fisher Price Little People house for her birthday from Gram, as well as a Little People firetruck from a friend. We already had the princess castle and a few princesses, so I grouped them all together. I’m planning to take her to the Fisher Price store here in town to pick our a few more Little People to play with. She really loves the house!

We gave her the Stella doll (Manhattan Toys, in the photo, above) and she’s really taken do it. She carries ‘baby’ around and sleeps with her, too. Baby Stella came with a yoga mat and soft book of yoga poses, which is why it caught my eye–so cute!

While I hate putting away ‘perfectly good’ toys that she’s simply outgrown, I recognize the importance of keeping things interesting and challenging for her. I also like a clean house, (ha!) so it helps to keep the play areas from looking too cluttered.

Do you have a system for cycling your kids’ toys?

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