One helpful thing to do for your young child is to organize their playroom. I know this does not sound like an exciting way to spend your Saturday, but putting your child’s toys into clear bins with labels can help you teach or reinforce many important skills.
Here is a list of ways you could use an organized set of toys to play with and teach your child.
- When sitting down with your child to play, pull out a few bins and ask your child which one they want to play with, you could work on verbal language or pointing. Also, if the bins are too hard for your child to open, this creates an additional opportunity for your child to ask for the box to be open.
- For more advanced learners, if you open the box, you could only take out a few pieces, “forgetting” to pull out one important pieces or “accidentally” leaving their favorite pieces behind your back. This creating opportunities for your child to ask for items or ask where an item is.
- Before playing together, shaking a toy box can create a fun sound to capture a child’s attention and create shared excitement about what is inside.
- Put preferred toys on high shelves to encourage your child to ask for toys.
- Put toys together that make fun play schemes; this can encourage your child to play appropriately with toys. Some items in the box can be changed from time to time to encourage flexibility in play.
- By keep the number of items available at any given time smaller, it decreases mess for you and helps your child to stay focused on playing appropriately and longer with one set of items.
- There are fewer distractions for your child while you are playing together.
- Sorting toys into the proper location is a great cognitive activity for you to do with your child. For example, you could practice learning which things go together. When your child is older you could ask why the things go together.
- Having things away in bins helps when using “First/Then” with your child. You could show them they bin of toys that they are working for, or put it out on the table.
- Make sure if your child is playing alone with toys to leave 5-10 minutes before transitioning to the next activity to give them several warnings, “Clean up time is in 3 minutes,” “Two minutes,” “One minute,” then help them clean up and sort any toys that are out. Making cleaning up fun will help with transitioning away from the toys they love.
- If your child is using pictures to communicate, having pictures that match the toys in boxes can help teach your child that a picture can represent a set of items.
- To work on reading, label the boxes with the name of the item (with the picture for early readers) as the child becomes familiar with the words, you can remove the pictures.
This list could go on. Please use the comments section to share any ways that you help your child using the organization of their toys.