Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Daily bins

We have a set of six bins that we rotate daily (yes I can count, Saturday and Sunday share a bin since we are usually out and about or have other things going on to entertain the kids). A few years ago I gathered together some sets of toys that SHOULD have been played with and loved, but usually just ended up spread about the kids' rooms making a mess. Now they only have access to them once a week and they are all contained as a set, they ARE now played with and loved! It has been hard for me to find six sets that interest everyone and are also safe for the little ones to play with since the primary goal is to keep the little ones entertained for a while while we are working in the morning.
Monday- Brio train set, this is a recent addition and is the most looked forward to, but our set is very small so until I'm able to get more their creations are quite limited.
Tuesday- Wooden blocks, these are loved by all. Miss J has surprised us with the tall towers she is able to make.
Wednesday- Wedgits these are a fun twist on regular building toys and encourage the kids to
think and build differently.
Thursday- Little people, I love little people and so do the kids! We have a huge bin that these barely fit into. I love that even though these are geared to the little ones my big kids love to play with them too!

Friday- Duplo, our big kids are getting into regular legos, but they still have fun with these. They are great for the little ones!

Saturday/Sunday- Animals and Dinosaurs, this is just a bin of plastic animals and dinosaurs (though we are a bit heavy on the dinosaurs and could use more animals of the farm variety since we have so many "exotic" animals in there).

When not in use the bins are stored in our "huge closet" just off of the living room, making them very easy to get to. The kids mostly take care of switching them out for me. Even Miss J gets into the action, she loves to help push the bins or close the door for the kids. Mr. S can get the bins off of the lower shelf or grab the little people bin. Keeping these in the back of the closet has the added benefit of requiring me to keep the closet clean and organized so that we can get to the bins!

Miss J looks forward to the new bin every morning. She sits on her blanket and plays for about half an hour with the toys while we all get our morning chores done. Then she is "released" from her blanket to play with a bit more freedom (staying in the living room), she usually sticks close to the bin, but engages in play with Mr. S (who joins her after his quick chores are done) or any other kids that happen to be done with their chores. As the day goes on the kids settle around the bin from time to time and the big kids enjoy getting to play with some of these while the little ones are napping so that they can get more creative without worrying about someone knocking down their project.

I used to have our Mr. Potato head collection in this rotation, but recently found that the kids
were not so interested in them. I packed them up and put them in the garage to pull out in six months to a year when they will seem like brand new toys to be played with and loved again.
Lincoln logs were popular too, but our set was too small and not quite engaging enough for them so it has been put away until I can get some more for the kids. Other than the little people and animals all of these are building type toys, they don't seem to mind that, all of the toys encourage them to use their imaginations and THINK!

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