It took almost all summer for the school-age children to stop asking me where ‘missing’ toys were. They claimed they had looked where the desired toy belonged and it was not there. They had checked and no one else was using it – it was missing.
I asked if they had checked the washing machine. They would then go look in the washing machine and be surprised to find many ‘missing’ items.
“How did you know it would be there?” they asked
Missing toys were always there. I explained that every day when the toddlers came in the playroom they would take toys from the shelves, put them in the washer, and then go play elsewhere. Often, these toys were then missed at clean-up time because they were hidden from view.
Granted, it may have taken the older children so long to learn this because we were outside most of the summer. I have spent more time indoors with the toddlers during the school year. It is not just the currently enrolled toddlers that do this – the ones before them did too. It’s what they like to do.
I know toddlers enjoy filling containers and dumping them out. I know they like collecting toys and hauling them around. Because of this I have many baskets and bags specifically for this purpose. These are just a few of them;
Why the toddlers liked putting things in the washing machine was somewhat confusing though. They couldn’t dump it out and they couldn’t carry it around. They were not using the washer as a toy bin because they didn’t do it at clean-up time only when they first came in the room. Maybe they were hiding toys.
I saw this interesting room divider on Pinterest. It gave me the inspiration for something similar for the playroom. I used heavy cardboard tubes that I painted first before attaching them together. I had small tubes too but I chose not to use them because they would be too small for any toys to fit inside and I hoped things would get put in the tubes.
I have the ‘divider wall’ in the block area under the loft so of course the first things that got put in the tubes were blocks;
I did purposely leave some larger spaces for the bigger toys but so far the children just like using the smaller tubes;
It has only been a week since these tubes were added to the playroom so we’re still experimenting. It’s another option for the little ones to sort and store toys. It’s what they like to do.