kids toys

Create A Toy Closet to Organize Your Toys

If you have kids, you have toys.  I have 3 kids so pretty much I could swim in toys especially with all the doting relatives that just brought armloads of gifts through our doors this holiday but I don’t.  Toys are a fact for this season of my life but we have made peace with the toys and created simple toy organization solutions.

So, how do you organize toys?

Create a space for toys like a toy closet.

Look around your house and determine a logical place you could create toy storage.  Do you have some cabinets you can clean out in your family room or kitchen?  In both of the homes we lived in, I decided to turn our main floor coat closet into a toy closet.  When we have guests over we invite them to hang their coats on a coat rack (like this one).

Look around your home, there has to be a space.  If you there’s a will, there’s a way.  You just have to decide what’s most important to you in this season of life. For me, it was finding a home for the toys!

Once you have a space designated for your toys, prepare it for toy storage.  We added more shelving to our toy closet to maximize the space and storage.  Don’t buy cute bins just yet!

Gather your toys and sort.

This is the most important step in the process.  Do not organize toys you don’t need.  Grab all the toys you want to store in the new space.  Grab 2 bins and a garbage bag.  It’s time to sort your toys into 3 categories.  Keep, sell/donate and toss.

By far, this is the most challenging part of the process for me, maybe you too.  Either you or someone you love spent good money on these toys and it’s hard to let go.  However, you know your kids don’t play with certain toys.  Make room for the toys they do play with.  You can either donate unwanted toys to a local charity, church, or family friend.  You can consign them as well.

You can invite your children into the process and ask them what they want to let go.  Letting go and purging is an important life skill you can teach your child now.

If you don’t want to get rid of a whole set of toys like barbies or baby dolls, thin it out.

toys sorted into clear plastic storage bins

Organize Toys into Logical Categories.

Now, that you have thinned out your toys, sort them into logical categories.  Once you determine the amount of each item, choose a toy organization tool.  Clear plastic tubs (like these) work great because everyone can see what’s inside.  Kids can easily ask for that toy and when a missing toy is found, it’s easy to put it inside the right tub.

Create Toy Organization that is Logical.

Above all, you want this to be functional long-term and for the kids to be able to pick-up independently so make the organization easy enough your child can put a toy away.  You will not keep up the organization system if it’s tedious, no matter how cute it starts out.  Trust me, I have made that error.

Place organized toys into toy closet or designated space.

Now it’s time to load up your toy closet.  Make sure to place items kids frequently request in a place that is easiest to access.  Place items that you want to help with, items with tiny pieces, up higher.

How do get your kids to clean up their toys?

Once toys are organized, your kids can grab a bin and play for a while.  When they are done, they can clean up and put that bin away.  Sometimes, we even set a timer for 5 minutes and try to beat the timer as we clean-up!  Clean-up is part of the process.  Another life skill we can teach our kids.

Toy Organization Over Time

In our home, we have two toy closets.  Rotating toys to different levels bring new vibrancy to toys that kids have become bored with.  Just the other day, I rotated the girls’ dollhouse to the basement and it was a brand-new toy again.  Storing toys in tubs means when you pull out a new tub, it’s new fun!

Toys are constantly coming into our homes.  Make sure you are consistently taking stock and decluttering old toys as you can.  If a toy bin can’t close, it’s time to thin it out.  Toys are a fact of our life but it’s possible to make peace with them and find them a functional home!


Now, tell me where you store your toys?  How do you store them?

You might also like –

DIY Garage Toy Organization

Shared Kids Closet Organization System

10 Steps to Clean Out Your Clothes Closet

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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Linking up with Andrea & Becky

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Kids Gift Ideas

It’s that time of year to start wracking your brain for kids gift ideas for everyone on your shopping list.  This year my kids had a few things on their wish list so I thought I would share with you today what they really hope Santa brings them this year.

Our Favorite Kids Gift Ideas

Sports & Outdoor Toys

Both of my big kids want a new bike for Christmas this year.  This one for our son and this one for our daughter.  Our son got an electric scooter like this one last year and loves it.  Don’t forget outdoor gifts go perfectly under the tree too.  My kids also love the Power Wheels Jeep.

Glow in the Dark Football & Basketball are perfect for days that are getting shorter.  Fitness trackers are a hot item at our house too.  Solon has a fit bit and now the girls both want one too.  Solon has this one and wants coordinating bands to go with it.  I might get this one for Vera.

Legos

Everyone loves legos and there is a set for everyone from American Girls to Lego Friends, Harry Potter, Star Wars and Lego City.  These are the sets we have our eyes on –  Lego Rollercoaster, American Girl Wellie Wishers Set, and Lego roads set

Favorite Characters

My youngest loves Daniel Tiger and Fancy Nancy these days so the these Daniel Tiger sets are on her wishlist as well as the talking Fancy Nancy doll.  Lucy also loves Frozen so these Frozen doll clothes are also on her list.

Harry Potter is another favorite character around here for my oldest.  He spied This joke book, Harry Potter book set, Hogwarts Lego Castle, Hogwarts Express Train Lego Set, and Harry Potter blockhead lego set are all on my son’s wish list this year.

I can’t forget American Girl doll items too.  My girls love to play American girls together.  This year Vera wants the jeep and Lucy wants a high chair.

Popular Toys

Both of my girls want a LOL doll set.  This one is perfect under the tree and this one is perfect for the stocking.  They also are excited about Polly Pocket.  Vera picked out this set and Lucy picked out this one.  I can’t wait to play with them, it’s nostalgic for me!

Make Believe Toys

Lucy loves to play with Calico Critters.  This year she picked out the Woodzeez schoolhouse.  My kids also love their Melissa and Doug diner and Lucy asked for the Ice Cream set to go with, there’s also a cute popsicle set.

Games

We love to get each of our kids a game.  This year we got Vera Labyrinth and Solon 5 Crowns.   You can read about all of our other favorite family games here.

Books

My kids all will get some books this Christmas.  I shared some good books for reluctant readers in this post and our favorite picture books in this post.

Baby Gifts

Check out all these great baby gift ideas for the newest gift recipient on your Christmas shopping list.

Need more gift inspiration, check out these toy guides-

Great toy ideas for boys age 8-10

More family favorite toys in this post

 

I hope these kids gift ideas help you make your wish lists and get gifts that will bring joy and happiness!  Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life so you can do what matters most with those that matter most!

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Favorite Kids Toys

It’s officially Christmas time and we are checking our lists twice and I am looking for those good, tried and true gifts.  My emotional side wants the “wow factor” on Christmas morning while my practical side doesn’t want a ton of toys collecting dust by New Years Day!  I am sharing our favorite kids toys.  These are our favorites and worth the investment, most are quite affordable, and are played with all the time around here.

Favorite Kids Toys

1.  Doll Stroller with Basket

The basket is critical for little people to place all their treasures in while strolling around.  This stroller is perfect for toddlers because it isn’t too tall and comparable to an umbrella stroller size but WITH the basket.

2.  Walkie Talkies

We have learned the hard way to buy “real” walkie talkies.  We bought a few sets of kids walkie talkies and they just don’t work.  Our batteries corroded in our last real set but they were my parents and lasted over 15 years so Solon is asking for another set this Christmas.

3.  Snap Circuit Sets

There are a ton of different sets.  My son got this RC rover that when snapped in certain ways will discharge disks with the push of a button.  It’s a great STEM toy!  A friend said they lost a piece and tried to order a replacement and the company mailed them a new one for free so they have great customer service too!  We started with this junior set.

4.  Baby Stella

Lucy takes Stella everywhere, normally naked!  She is the perfect size for little hands and has all sorts of accessories you can purchase to go with her.  Lucy’s favorite part is her magnetic pacifier!  Find all sorts of cute Stella items here.

5.  Magna-Tiles

I will save our set for our grandkids.  They are so versatile and truly are a toy so many different ages love to play with.  I was apprehensive due to the price but they truly are one of the most played with toys by all of our kids.  Find magna-tile sets here.

6.  Art Cart

I wrote about how I made my daughter an art cart (click here).  Find the art cart here.

he uses it daily and they are such a great affordable way to both organize and promote art in your home.  Add in some art supplies and it would be a darling gift by your tree this Christmas.

7.  Travel Battery Operated Train

My son still will get out his wooden train tracks and now loves this type of train because it pulls the train around the track with a push of a button!

8.  Ninja Line

Our best friends own this ninja set and it’s a fan favorite by all the kids.  You need to have trees to tie this to but the kids love having their own Ninja warrior course in their backyard.  Our other friends have the zip line and love it too!

9.  Calico Critters

My girls play with their Calico Critters for hours.  I love things like this where we can add to the set for different holidays.  This year the girls have a little house on their set but we have the house boat, car and camper as well as a few Critter families.  There are small pieces so just an FYI.

So, they you have it our favorite kids toys.  In case you are on the hunt for some great games, I shared 15 of our favorite family-friendly games (click here).  I also shared 16 of our favorite books (click here)!  I love a good recommendation, do you have any?

This year we are including a pair of slippers, a book,  and a game along with their toys!  My kids are getting this, this and this as their big gifts.  Yay for some Black Friday deals!  What’s on your Christmas wishlist this year? Do you have any favorite tried and true toys at your house?

 

Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple and purposeful life!
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Best Board Games for Families

Who doesn’t love playing a good game?  One of our favorite ways to spend time together as a family is playing board games.   I thought it would be fun to share our favorite board and card games to play since it’s always fun to add new games to the collection!  If you have a favorite game, please share in the comments.  You always have the best recommendations!  If you are looking for a birthday gift idea, games make great gifts!

 

If you are looking for a great game for preschool+, this is the game.  It comes with little pads that you step on when the prompted tells you to go to a specific item like an animal, color or shape.  Lucy loves to play with us too!  It doesn’t take too long either and it’s a great wiggle release!
 
2.  Snipe
 
The object of this game is to hide your opponent’s snipe creature and then be the first to find your snipe and return it to the nest. The creatures begin to chirp and then light up as time passes.  It can be played one on one or as teams and inside and outside.  This is a great party game and great for ages 2+.
We love Ticket to Ride, now there is a kid version.  Collect colored train cards and build to claim your route.  The first person to claim 6 routes win.  Solon loves to play this game.  Ages 6+.
Once again we love the adult version, Settlers of Catan.  In this version, you are earning commodities with the roll of a dice and then trading them in to build ships and lairs.  The first person to build all their lairs wins.
Are you sensing a theme?  We love Sequence but now there is Sequence for kids.  Collect cards and work to place your chips on the board.  When you get 4 in a row, you win!
6.  Memory
A great classic family game that never goes out of style.  If you have younger kids, you can modify by just pulling out 1/4 to 1/2 the matching cards.  You will be surprised how good your kids are at remembering!
Push the hot potato and then pass them either shouting the person’s name or in a circle.  The person holding the potato when it buzzes and they are out!
Spot It is a fast paced matching game. Place a circle card in the middle and then distribute the rest of the cards to the players.  Then each player flips a card and races to yell the matching animal their card has to the one in the middle. Play continues until a player runs out of all their cards.
10.  Old Maid
11.  Qwixx
A fun dice game where you are crossing off numbers and working to fill your card.  Kids young and old will like this fast paced fun game.
A pirate version of the classic crazy 8’s.  You can”t help but say “ARRRRGH!” when you play!
Each player gets a set of cards and they try to place them on their opponent’s area and then fill their opponent’s area with a moose.  The person with the most moose loses!
 
15.  Bellz
Take turns trying to grab your bells (of various sizes) with a magnet wand.  The first person to get them all wins.  You can’t grab any bell but your own so you have to be careful!  It’s harder than it looks.

Here are a few more favorites – 

Blokus

 

Labyrinth

 

Rivers, Roads, and Rails

Tenzies

 

Left, Center, Right

 

Pit

Qwirkle

Rack-O

 

Things

Games are a great family gift.  If you are traveling, some of these will fit right into your suitcase.  All these games are sure to create laughter, fun and some special family time with those you love.  What are your favorite kids’ games?

You might also like…

Best Family Board & Card Games

Book Series Like Harry Potter

Favorite Kids Toys

Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life.
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