5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning Kids Toys in Centers: Sanitizing

This week there are tons of ladies in this group talking about cleaning. I'm thinking for the good stuff, you may need to hit up their blog. I'm more of a tidy girl than a clean one ;O)

I will tell you real simply how I clean the different kinds of toys we have. Some of this comes from years of work in daycares, preschools, and elementary schools, others come from trial and error.

Plastic Toys

{containing no tiny holes where water can seep in and STAY}

Begin running warm-scalding hot water into your bathtub mixing in about 1 cup of bleach. Sometimes I don't have pure bleach so I use some sort of cleaning spray I have that contains bleach or claims to kill lots of germs. Then fill you tube with all your plastic toys. Cover all your toys with water...unless you put giant stuff in there. Then you might want to let the little stuff soak and then rinse the larger items by dumping your water/bleach mixture over them. Let your toys soak for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour. I've totally been known to forget toys or run out of time and leave them over night. After they've soaked, drain the water/bleach mixture and then rinse the toys with plain water. The hotter the water the better. Lay out on a towel or occasionally giggle them around int the tube making sure there is no standing water and let them air dry. I do this every few months or more often during cold/flu season or if we had tons of kids over for a party.

NOTE: after a doll baptism int the toilet, I did my own little "cleansing" service and dunked those babies in the sink with water and bleach. Word to the wise- Hot Glue Those Tiny Holes Shut. If you're like me and didn't have this thought until your trying to figure out how to help that hard shelled plastic baby pee- wrap her in a towel and pillow case and sacrifice her to the drier for a few minutes. Evaporates all that out of there!

Fabric Toys:

I know most dolls/stuffed animals ask that you not through them in the washer...but I do. Yep, if they don't have mechanical stuff in them they get chunked in the washer with the nightly load. Often I'll hang them on the "line" to dry or lay them on top of the warm drier to dry instead of sentencing them to the heat box.

Not comfortable with this idea. Hit up Pinterest! they have a ridiculous number of different ways to clean toys! Even how to detangle doll hair! For Real!!! Check out my board- I pinned it!

NOTE: Those baptized babies above...fabric ones, even with plastic head- washer! No drier. Ready to rock 1.5 days later. Good as new.

Shelves/Quick De-Germing:

If you have company coming and your afraid your littles snots will get passed to your friends littles {or vise-versa after they leave ;O), Grab a can of descent smelling Lysol. Hose those bad boys down. I am serious! This was a common practice when I worked at a preschool. During story time, my job would be to Kill Germs! Along with door knobs, toilet seats, and sink knobs, I would walk by shelves of toys and just spray. At my own house, I've often dumped tubs of toys on to a rug, sprayed the pile down and moved to the next tub. By the time I'd done all the toys and made my rounds through the house {during cold/flu season}, all the toys were dry and I simply put them back into the appropriate tub.

Ugg, I knew I would run out of time. Stop back in soon. I'll work up an entire post on "Labeling & Helping Your Child Move Around in Centers" including some FREE Printables!!!
This is final day of this series but if you missed any of the days you can find them here:

Monday: 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Selecting
Tuesday 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Dramatic Play
Wednesday was 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Manipulitives
Thursday: 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Reading

edited repost

This post series is linked to 21 other lovely ladies doing a variety of tops for the 5 day series on organizing and cleaning.

Just when you thought the giveaways where over...We’re also going to be having several giveaways that begin on the 1st day of the series and end on Saturday, the 25th of August. Winners will be announced on Sunday the 26th.

Click the footer below to find all the topics,links to each, as well as a list of all the giveaways and more Rafflecopters!

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5 Days of Organizing Kids Toys into Centers: Manipulitives

Now that we've talked about selecting toys, the importance of & ideas for centers, as well as "dramatic play centers." Lets move on to those messy centers. You know, the ones we all dread...tiny pieces, lots of parts, and mess ones...but the ones every kids LOVES and we understand the importance of: Manipulatives!

Manipulative Center

We currently have lots of different manipulative centers in our home: Puzzles, baby toy manipulative, Playdough, etc. These toys and tools enhance children's fine motor skills and helps strengthen their hands, helps with eye-hand coördination, helps improve their writing skills. Even your pediatrician ask if they can stack 3 blocks at your well baby visit.

Block Center:

We currently have a set of large Lego blocks {multi-colored} and a small set of Jinja blocks {light wooden brown}. These are great for all ages. Just some of the possibilities for learning are: construction, transformation, measurement, spatial relationships, classification. It can even built language skill when they are asked to tell about their creation.

This is one of the most appealing toys for young children! They are versatile and appropriate for lots of age groups! Toddlers can stack cubes, kindergartners can build elaborate garages, and 9-year-olds can create a mall will tons of stores. Children of all ages enjoy playing with blocks because their open-ended allowing for countless possibilities for construction and transformation.

Blocks provide lots of learning opportunities: measurement, spatial relationships, and classification. It can even encourage language use as children talk about what they've created as well as ideas related to construction.

Board Game/Puzzle Center:

We currently have LOTS of board games. This shelf only contains the building, matching, and simple games they can do on their own. These are really better educational tools for older children with the amount of 'rules' involved with most games. But I've learned that simple games like Coodies, Hi Ho Cherrry-O, matching games, and even Candy Land can be comprehended VERY young! My 4-year-old completely understands taking turns, counting, etc. This is a center that will require more adult supervision at least in the early stages.

Puzzles are another center that with the proper training on the front end can provide for great quiet play time for little ones as theri brain sorts through all that is required to piece together puzzles. There are tons of different skill level puzzle options, so be careful not to jump in over your child's head which could just frustrate them but at the same time challenge them with harder more technical puzzles every once in a while to make sure they're not held back.

Almost anything can be a manipulative. There are TONS of infant toys out there that encourage manipulation as well as aid in teaching colors, shapes, and the like.

Low-grade supervision could lead to this but end in more lessons in sorting, identification, team work, and obedience ;0)

There are lots of other things that can be considered "Manipulitives" that I didn't mention; there are ton of outdoor activities and pretty much anything messy kids have to  manipulate ;o) Some our favs: corn {rather than sand}, WATER, cooking, and good ole' dirt.

This is day 4 in this series. Monday was: 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Selecting, Tuesday 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Dramatic Play, and Wednesday was 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Manipulitives

See you tomorrow for the finale:

Friday: 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Sanitizing

edited repost

This post series is linked to 21 other lovely ladies doing a variety of tops for the 5 day series on organizing and cleaning.

Just when you thought the giveaways where over...We’re also going to be having several giveaways that begin on the 1st day of the series and end on Saturday, the 25th of August. Winners will be announced on Sunday the 26th.

Click the footer below to find all the topics,links to each, as well as a list of all the giveaways and more Rafflecopters!

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5 Days of Organizing Kids Toys into Centers: Quiet Centers

So, I have NO idea why I chose to try and tackle all these centers together today. There is so much more than what I can provide in one readable post but here goes...

I labeled these quiet centers although, that's not always the case. For instance: Reading allowed very animated can be not so quiet but will encourage a LOVE for readings well as being overly engaged in crafting can be come quit rowdy and fun at times!

Reading Center

We currently have a single book shelf that houses all of our children's book {except a small basket of "bed time" books and Bibles in the girls bedroom}. I have them sorted according to age-appropriate by height {unfortunately my ~18 month old can almost reach the top shelf}. I have the baby books {ie board books with mainly pictures} on the bottom shelf accessible to all ages but most enticing to the youngest {shortest}. THe middle shelf has more board books that contain more words {needing longer attention span} and are reachable by all kids. The top shelf has "real page" books/paper back books as well as books with pop-ups, or pieces that would be better read by an older child or with help. Having access to books builds a love for reading. They feel more like toys or privilege and not an assignment or chore. This center developes a love of words, encourages motor skills, thinking skills, reading comprehension, as well as the ability to sit still building on attention span. "The number of words one knows as well as the depth of understanding of those words is related to the ability to think."

I couldn't find a simple way to summarize the importance of reading so I've added links to some articles about reading at an early age:
10 Reasons Why You Should Read to Your Kids
What is the importance of reading to a child?
Another article on Ten {more} Important Reasons to Read to Your Child

That may sound complicated but we basically group like things together to help my children know where to find things, where to put them away, and makes it easier to have them play with few things at once cutting down on mass chaos in the playroom.

Art Center

Art is a basic component in early childhood education. It is recognized as both a fundamental and distinctive way of knowing. Art is important nonverbal language: a system of symbols that emerge from children's drawings.

Art can be a way to express feelings, develop socially, as well as physically {large and small motor development}, develop sensory learning, visual perception, spacial intelligence and left brain-right brain.

-Isbell/Raines

The art and Playdough supplies are on the top shelves because I don't yet allow my kids to do these things without supervision or at least permission. We do these while the "baby" is napping. There are infinite numbers of how this center develops creativity in children as well as motor skills through working with the Playdough, steering scissors, maneuvering glue, paper and other supplies, and yielding writing utensils.

Okay, I have to stop here. This series may take me longer than 5 days ;o)

This is day 3 in this series. Monday was: 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Selecting and Tuesday 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Dramatic Play.

See you the rest of the week for:

Thursday: 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Reading
and the finale on Friday: 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Sanitizing

edited repost

This post series is linked to 21 other lovely ladies doing a variety of tops for the 5 day series on organizing and cleaning.

Just when you thought the giveaways where over...We’re also going to be having several giveaways that begin on the 1st day of the series and end on Saturday, the 25th of August. Winners will be announced on Sunday the 26th.

Click the footer below to find all the topics,links to each, as well as a list of all the giveaways and more Rafflecopters!

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5 Days of Organizing Kids Toys into Centers: Dramatic Play

Yesterday we started the series with talking about 5 Ways to Organize the Toy Monster by being super Selective! Hopefully in the next 3 days I can give you an idea of what kinds of centers will be beneficial for your littles as well as the kinds of toys that will grow with them.

Right before posting this I realized I may have jumped the gun on going right into which "center" we have. Some of you may know what I mean with certain vocabulary or just need some pictures for inspiration in your own home. What ever the case may be. HERE is the link to a post about the importance of center play as well as the difference between long-term and special/short-term centers AND it contain a master list of suggested centers for both preschool/kindergarten and primary ages.

Today's Centers we'll be going through can all be grouped under "Dramatic Play" although there are lots of types of centers in the is category.

Fun ideas to include in your Dramatic Play Center-->

  • diversity of gender play. Rooms of the house other than the kitchen; male and female clothing; pictures of both males and females; and pictures and books that show a diversity of family compositions.
  • cultural diversity. Food, cooking utensils, work tools, and items that reflect holiday celebrations from different cultures. Purchased or homemade dolls representing major ethnic groups, gender balance, and with different kinds of disabilities. Always begin with the diversity represented in your family and expand from the there to other groups in the community.
  • tools and equipment for people with special needs. Wheelchairs, walkers, braces, hearing aids, ramps, heavy glasses, books written in Braille, crutches, walking canes, magnifiers, and a respirator with mask.

 

We'll start with everyone's favorite and most recognizable center {seen in almost every daycare/preschool}:

Kitchen or Home Center

Currently we have a large kitchen set with tons of food play {lots of variety}. Kitchen's are often the center of our real homes so it would only make sease that kids would love to pretend in their own size kitchen. This is probably the most played in center at our house although I have lots of friends who say their children never used their kitchen "set" so don't feel obligated to find a set for your home. Many of the skills we build in this center can be done in other ways. My girls most recent favorites are {the obvious} "cook dinner for the family" , "restaurant" {both drive thru & fancy dine-in}, "grocery store".

 

We also have a 'dress up' corner, baby shelf, and lots of baby accessories throughout the playroom. This provides the opportunity for learning rolls for later in life: Parenting, cooking, home maintenance, cleaning, and endless number of other career options that can rotate in and out of this long-term center.

Little People Center

We currently have a set of Dollar Tree baskets we use to sort our Little People into people & animals. We also have 2 Little People vehicles {sized for Little People}. This center is similar to the dramatic play center but has smaller 'dolls' to play with. We often add empty boxes to this play as furniture, buildings, etc.

Vehicle Center

We currently have this center divided into trucks/trains and cars/buses just because we have so many. Our favorite thing to do with our vehicles is create a "town" with painters tape {least amount of residue} on the floor. This can be a fun way to combine centers {i.e. vehicles, blocks, and little people}.

You can easily organize these centers on individual shelves or in baskets on a shelf or even under a coffee table. I can't stress enough, having assigned places for toys will help parents keep an eye on the growth of the toy monster as well as help children learn to clean up their own belongings. Since each center has benefits to your child gaining specific centers, I attempt to balance the amounts of toys we have for each so one center isn't overtaking an others.

I am sure I've met so much out. PLEASE leave comments with any questions on how we do "Centers" or suggestions for other on who you do "Centers" at your home!

 

This is day 2 in this series. Monday was: 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Selecting.

See you the rest of the week for:

Wednesday: 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Manipulitives
Thursday: 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Reading
and the finale on Friday: 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Sanitizing

edited repost

This post series is linked to 21 other lovely ladies doing a variety of tops for the 5 day series on organizing and cleaning.

Just when you thought the giveaways where over...We’re also going to be having several giveaways that begin on the 1st day of the series and end on Saturday, the 25th of August.  Winners will be announced on Sunday the 26th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Click the footer below to find all the topics,links to each, as well as a list of all the giveaways and more Rafflecopters!

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5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Selecting

When my hubs and I started talking about having babies one of the things we discusses was TOYS. Matt mentioned that he would like if our house didn't look like a toys store and would love if the living room wasn't overtaken by toys. I agreed and thought that was a reasonable request. Thus, the "centers" began.

With just Maggie, our 2 bedroom 1 bathroom house was easy to keep clear of too many toys. Over the past 3 years we've double the size of our house and family. Here are a few key things we've set in place to organize and minimize the TOY craziness of life with kids. These tips are to know what toys to keep, which to share, how to maintain a pick-up home quickly while allowing your child to help in the process as well as instilling in them some independence.

  1. We purposely keep very few toys. We purge so often that it's often the 'talk' among relatives if their toy will make the cut {sorry guys!}. We want to keep it simple. Here is the criteria for keeping a toy: educational either physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. There are so many kids in this world that have nothing, we don't need to hoard crazy amounts of toys. Why not share!?
  2. We attempt to be purposeful about toys we have. We generally don't do Happy Meal toys, stuffed things, or small pieces. We enjoy basic things that can be used in a variety of play arenas {example: blocks- used from staking, pretend furniture, to detailed cities layouts; dolls- comfort, pretend friend, to parenting skills}. We generally don't buy toys. Well, let me explain that one. Relatives and friends will more than likely always provide plenty of toys for our children and we do get our children 1 toy for holidays {mainly Christmas/Birthday...usually}.
  3. We have chosen not to have toys in our children's rooms so they know bedrooms are just for sleeping. Providing your child with a restful environment that is peaceful, dark, quiet, and almost boring is the best way to encourage good sleeping. NOTE: we are about to transition into a smaller home and may not have this luxury, like most families. I am not saying this is a MUST.
  4. We have had many ways to organize the toys. We used to have "adult colored" baskets of toys in the living room but they were easily slipped under the coffee table or off to the corner. When we moved into our current home and had the HUGE blessing of a playroom we still stuck with baskets but they are now there are more of them {as are there more children} and they divided more specifically.
  5. We rotate toys so our children stay interested in what they have and so there aren't too many scattered around the house. We never put all new toys out after a holiday. A couple are places among the other toys, a few older toys as well as the rest of the new toys are put into a closet and rotated out later. Some times our children have been know to be "grounded" from a specific toys for being selfish with it, or for mismanagement such as not it cleaning up when ask or playing with it rough or inappropriately.

Hope these are some practical hints to help you manage the Toy Monster that eeks into everyone's house the moment you find out your pregnant ;o) If you have any awesome ideas, we'd LOVE to hear them.

NOTE: We are about to transition to a new {smaller} home so we'll see what kind of organization comes with that and keep ya update! I do know it will be even MORE important to be selective about toys with less storage space!

This is the 1st in a week long series. See you the rest of the week for:

Tuesday 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Dramatic Play
Wednesday: 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Manipulitives
Thursday: 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Reading
and the finale on Friday: 5 Days of Organizing & Cleaning TOYS into Centers: Sanitizing

edited repost

This post series is linked to 21 other lovely ladies doing a variety of tops for the 5 day series on organizing and cleaning.

Just when you thought the giveaways where over...We’re also going to be having several giveaways that begin on the 1st day of the series and end on Saturday, the 25th of August.  Winners will be announced on Sunday the 26th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Click the footer below to find all the topics,links to each, as well as a list of all the giveaways and more Rafflecopters!

 

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