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Toys! where should they live?

(66 Posts)
mumoftwoboysS Wed 30-Jan-13 10:36:26

I've been thinking about all the toys cluttering up the lounge and was wondering where do most of you keep your kids toys? In their bedrooms and bring them downstairs to play, or mostly in the lounge? My boys have plenty of room for toys in their bedrooms but toys seem to migrate downstairs and clutter up the lounge...(they're 3 1/2 and 2 years) I'm not that fussed, just wondering if I should be stricter and make them keep more upstairs to stop the lounge from getting swamped!

Inclusionist Tue 05-Mar-13 21:46:52

At the moment (just looking round his shelves) DS has out:

a set of schleich farm animals and fence pieces in a green tray
a money box and coins in a tray
3 tubs of playdough and range of cutters/ presses in a basket
a wooden letters jigsaw thingy
an abacus (strangely popluar atm)
a box with some little wooden people and dolls house furniture

He also has access to his train set/ trains and a range of books at all times.

He has pens/paper whenever he wants etc and I do other things with him at home but I get those out and then we put them away again when finished.

I have a toy shift around once a fortnight or so switching anything that isn't getting used much. I'm afraid if people give us stuff we don't want I make sure we know we are genuinely, really grateful for the thought, let him play with it for a week and then it goes to the Children's Ward.

mumoftwoboysS Tue 05-Mar-13 20:11:28

Inclusionist I'm interested in your methods! How do you cope with well meaning friends/relatives buying those bulky noisy plastic toys?? mine have about 4 plastic helicopters of different shapes and sizes already, only one doesn't make a noise and that's just the flying vehicles (they love cars, trucks, trains, etc too) I do think that kids can have too many toys to play with and end up not knowing what to play with or not playing with any of them particularly well. I've tried the rotation system but we probably don't put enough toys away each time. So are your toys mostly wooden/blocks/ building things etc if not plastic and noisy?

Inclusionist Sun 03-Mar-13 15:27:41

We are a bit Montessori-ish at home. DS (2.6) has very few, very well chosen, toys (maybe 5 - 10) out at any one time. We make sure these are good quality ones that closely match his development. We rotate what he has out and pass on things once he is fully passed them (allowing time for them to be 'easy' choices).

We have a 4x4 expedit and he has 6 shelves for individual toys (in trays or open baskets) 2 clear expedit boxes for train track/ accessories and 2 shelves for books.

He doesn't have any bulky plastic toys at all (or anything with an on switch!!). This does not seem to make him feel deprived in any way!

mumoftwoboysS Sat 02-Mar-13 20:19:22

Lins58 That's a great idea- something that offers storage and doubles as a coffee table. Our coffee table is looking a bit tired so I'll bear it in mind if we decide to replace it in future.

Lins58 Sat 23-Feb-13 19:33:25

I had this problem some years ago and found the solution in an antique pine storage chest which doubled as a coffee table. Subsequently this went off to university and became the first piece of furniture in my son's home. I would recommend this as a lasting solution. However, antique pine chests are not easy to find but check out which makes beautiful oak ottomans and toy boxes which do the same job and are designed to become family heirlooms. I've used them for personalised memory boxes to be given as wedding/christening presents and all have been received with delight.

mumoftwoboysS Mon 04-Feb-13 09:54:01

Sounds similar to me then- mine mostly play downstairs though they do play upstairs too. I too have an IKEA storage shelving system downstairs with boxes in them full of toys- plus a basket! I agree with someone who said you want the kids to feel like its their area too but I also don't want to be swamped and constantly tripping over toys! My mum is so the opposite- she used to clear all the toys from the lounge to make it look like you don't have kids in the evening - wtf?? But then her house is a show home so I guess she's always been like that!

thanks for all your replies. Good to know I'm not the only one trying to find a balance and constantly returning migrating toys to their homes!

Doitnicelyplease Fri 01-Feb-13 23:53:18

In our last house (we just left) we turned our kitchen/diner into a kitchen/play area, it worked really well with a big rug in the middle, play kitchen, armchair for adults, small TV up on the wall, trofast unit (with duplo, sticklebricks etc) and small table and chair set. I am home with the DDs all day so it made sense to have a dedicated area downstairs while they were young.

I also had a great hall cupboard that housed, art stuff, playdoh, puzzles, games.

We moved dining table down by the living area in order to do this. We were planning on moving it back once the DD were older, in school most days and played upstairs more, but we have moved now.

Trying to think of similar solutions for our new house we are moving into soon, it has a smaller less open downstairs. I think the dining room will need to be dining/family/play area (we will put the trofast in there and the play kitchen) and there are some cupboards downstairs in the basement for all the crafty stuff. Hopefully I can make it work as well as our old house.

reastie Thu 31-Jan-13 18:29:09

We try to keep it under control hmm . We have a little table and chairs in the dining room and that's it DD wise. In the kitchen she has a small cupboard she puts some toys in to keep her quiet (that's the theory) whilst I cook. In the sitting room we have a small toy basket with a lid with a select amount of books and toys for when we are in there and she also has a little wicker chair in their too. She has a playroom when we shove carefully place most of her bits. Upstairs she has a cupboard with toys in an abook case with books and artistically placed hmm vintage toys which were mine when I was little. We also have an under bed drawer in our bedroom with toys in to keep her occupied when she's up for the day too early and we are too tired to do anything with her blush . So they are all over the house but when things are tidy <hollow laugh> it doesn't feel like they are taking over the house.

thunksheadontable Thu 31-Jan-13 11:33:19

I would say get rid as many as you can. Rotation is a good way to start when you feel the stuff is too good to chuck. You will be amazed at how little small ones seem to really care about the toys when they are suddenly gone. The more they have, the less they attach to what they do have.

One thing I struggle with is resisting the urge to buy new stuff. I really wanted to buy new furniture for that expedit doll's house when I got the idea... but I knew it was just bringing more in and actually he uses the bricks/animals/vehicles he already has and is probably getting more out of it than if I bought a whole load of expensive high quality wooden furniture. We are finally going to give the family that list that they want too and ask for just the stuff we want - nice animal toys, nice bricks etc etc. When they get older I appreciate this will be harder but definitely while they are under 7 I want to pare back to half nothing, and after that, I want them to earn pocket money and learn to save up. Trying to stop this whole culture of excess. The amount of stuff we had accumulated for two small boys in three years was just crazy and totally unsustainable: for our sanity, our pockets, our living areas and the environment in general. It was realising I was breeding a sense of entitlement and consumerism that really woke me up to the need to just STOP. So far, so good...

noviceoftheday Thu 31-Jan-13 08:15:06

Our biggest reception room is the kids playroom so the majority of the toys live there. The room is huge and yet we are still overrun with toys! They only have books and favourite soft toys in their rooms, otherwise on toys allowed upstairs in theory. We keep colouring books, crayons, a couple of puzzles in our bedroom for the occasional early morning visit when dh and I don't want to get out of bed.

Pascha Thu 31-Jan-13 07:35:42

Most of it is downstairs in the toybox right now, plus a couple of ride on things, a fold up slide, trampoline and some Lego in a tub. Upstairs is his brio and some books.

We need to get some outside storage for some things to make room for DS2's baby toys now.

BeaWheesht Thu 31-Jan-13 07:32:45

Well we have far too many toys thanks to overly generous family members! Ds has just turned 6 and dd is 2.

They have toys and books in their rooms. The dining room is currently a play room so lots of toys in there and there and 3 big storage boxes under the coffee table in the lounge. However, looking at my living room just now it looks like there's been am explosion in toys r us! Will have a clear up later and then I'm going to try to be strict!

TheHumancatapult Thu 31-Jan-13 07:26:27

In theory in the fake black leather ottomans in lounge as no room in bedrooms . Do try and declutter of night but done nights just to worn out and Want to flop

But must admit older ones well no toys any more unless count computers as they are teens

But still 3 younger ones and tbh I'm happy that they want to be downstairs and not in bedrooms like older ones

lolalotta Thu 31-Jan-13 06:09:34

If you feel overwhelmed have you thought about toy rotation? Pack a few of the toys away and then in a few weeks bring them back into play and pack a few others away. My DD, 3, responds really well to this.

MrsDimples Thu 31-Jan-13 01:06:01




MrsDimples Thu 31-Jan-13 01:05:19

Toys live in our living room. Ikea Ivar shelves with a variety of Ikea Samla boxes holding different toys. Everything has a dedicated box and a place on a shelf. Piece of piss to tidy up.

Also a plantable that Ikea Trofast tubs fit under.

We have lots of each type of toy, but not lots of different types of toy, if that makes sense. I find in DD's case, the more she has of one thing the more play she gets out of it.

I believe the environment is as much the child's and they should have access to their toys and be able to play.

Now can someone come and organise my stuff & life bits please blush grin

MildredIsMyAlterEgo Wed 30-Jan-13 23:23:41

Where do we keep the toys?
First glance would suggest everyfuckingwhere except the toy boxes
Second glance confirms it
<closes eyes and drinks gin>

Murtette Wed 30-Jan-13 23:17:31

We have a playroom but it should actually be called a "place where the toys live room" as DD hardly ever plays in there, preferring to play in the sitting room where we are... which I like. I think that as she has (baby) DS get older, they will play more in the playroom and eventually it will become their den but I do like us all being together. I sorted the playroom just before DS was born and it now has a lot of the Argos equivalent of IKEA Expedit (as it saved a trip to IKEA!) with a mixture of their fabric storage tubs (for things like mega bloks, dolls & dolls' clothes and other things which DD has enough of to justify a whole cube) and then clear plastic food storage tubs for things like cars, animals, people as then she doesn't have to open them all to find what she wants. Things like books, games & jigsaws are just stacked.
The sideboard in the dining room is the one cupboard in the house with a lock on it and contains alcohol, cleaning products, paint & play doh! A kitchen drawer has paper & crayons in it as then, if a meal gets delayed, DD can do drawing. In her bedroom she has more Argos storage with toys & she plays with these in the morning between waking and disturbing us or when I'm upstairs cleaning or tidying & she's got bored of helping. These toys are all selected to be quiet! Most of her books are upstairs.
And there's the loft which has toys she's grown out of and I'm saving for DS, toys she didn't play with much and which are having a period out with the plan being that, if she doesn't ask for them, they'll go to the charity shop and some favourite toys & games that I'd got sick of (like the Shopping List game which DD would happily play 20 times a day).

PartialToACupOfMilo Wed 30-Jan-13 22:48:06

We are also using the dining room as a playroom at the moment, especially since I'm on maternity leave and dd (3yrs) can use the table for her play doh, colouring, making stuff etc - we're doing a lot of craft stuff since I've been home. Unfortunately most of it just gets pushed into an ever growing pile at the end when it's mealtime... Also in there are dd's kitchen and baskets of playfood and two sets of shelving with other toys on.

In the living room there is a lidded toy box with her stuff in it, a small basket of octonauts and the baby's toys (he's 4 months) so a playmat and a basket of toys. The hallway is knocked through to the living room and has a small sideboard where we keep board games and jigsaws (and plenty of junk!)

In dd's bedroom are most of the books - the newest ones are in the living room - a bouncy zebra thing (that I can't bear to look at downstairs!) and a small basket of toys. The bathroom has more octonauts...

It's clear as soon as you walk through the door that children live here and I like that - I do see it as their house as much as ours and I want them to be able to access their things easily. I don't however want to live in a toy shop, so lots of storage!

As for our books, we have 'done an ikea' and have shelves everywhere! There is a tall bookcase in the living room, a short bookcase in the bedroom, 2 billys in the dining room (though they don't just house books), 3 shelves at the bottom of the stairs and a long shelf up high running the length of the hallway.

MrsPear Wed 30-Jan-13 22:45:22

Louisanablue that is such a great idea about books. We are moving soon and need new storage for mine anyway so will be adding his too.

Anyway toys - during the day they are everywhere and then the first job of the night time routine is to tidy them all away into his bedroom.

isthisacrazyidea Wed 30-Jan-13 22:39:17

Everything is downstairs except books and teddies. I've accepted that my lounge will look like Toys R Us for the next few years! I'd like to store some stuff in DS's bedroom but he is a bugger with sleep and won't get into bed if there are "playing with" toys in his room. Every so often one gets up there by mistake, so DH or I try to sneak them out without him noticing grin

Arthurfowlersallotment Wed 30-Jan-13 22:31:29

Flexi tubs are good.

LapinDeBois Wed 30-Jan-13 22:20:24

Quite reassured by this thread. We've always had a bunch of toys downstairs and a bunch of toys upstairs, but most of my friends seem to have perfect, adult-only living rooms and I was beginning to feel a bit inadequate (even though perfect houses aren't really my thing). I'm glad to see that others also treat the living room as a shared space with their kids. That said, we have one of those foam letter play mats in the living room which stays down all the time, and I HATE it. It's so useful, though, not to mention educational, that I can't see DH agreeing to get rid of it for a couple of years yet. Roll on that day!

MortifiedAdams Wed 30-Jan-13 21:39:04

Ooh yes I love Pinterest for ideas. Live the expedit dolls house.

thunksheadontable Wed 30-Jan-13 21:35:30

exquisiteLY painstaking detail. Not suggesting it is in and of itself exquisite hmm

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