First, take an inventory of your childs play area. Try these storage ideas: boxes for large and small items, a hammock for stuffed animals and dolls, bags for soft toys. A small tent can hide a lot. Shelves can be very helpful if they are easily accessible. Use different sized boxes for organizing. Orange crates and stacking units work well for books, tapes and games. Simple containers and clean coffee cans with lids hold small items. Plastic tubs and containers are safe, sturdy and great for puzzle pieces, art supplies and miniatures.
You and your child can decorate containers. Use colors codes and labels so your child can easily find the best place to put things. Maria Montessori believed children should participate in putting things away. This is a helpful skill. Start by scanning the playspace. Work together to make the best storage plan. Your child needs time to learn to put things away. Taking things out is easy, but putting them back can be a challenge. Make this important task a natural part of play.
Recycle your childs playthings. They play with only one item at a time. Too much stuff is overwhelming. Pack surplus in cartons and bring it out in a few months. The child will think its all new and play experiences will be refreshed. Remember your child is learning habits that will last a lifetime. Take the time to create a practical, easy to use, fun playspace. Lets play!
(c) l995, 1996, 1997 Stevanne Auerbach, PhD San Francisco, CA.
This article may not under any circumstances be resold or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author.
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