Updated: Dec 3, 2019
I love the Holidays, but let's be honest...
The holidays can be overwhelming for yourself, your kiddos, and your space. But, never fear. Here are 6 things you can do to prepare your play space to receive an influx of family, children, and toys.
1. Weed through the toys. Only keep just right toys.
Life gets away from all of us. One day our kiddos are relying on the walker and the next they are running, climbing and dancing. This pre-holiday time is a perfect opportunity to pull out any toys that they have outgrown developmentally and pack them away for another baby or give them to another family.
2. Vacation tired-of toys. Put away toys children have not played with in a while.
Interest in toys (even open ended toys) ebbs and flows. If you have a toy rotation or are interested in experimenting with one, pack away the toys your kiddo has lost interest in. Make sure you place them in a closet or space that is easy to access for adults, but out of sight-out of mind for kids.
3. Leave some space and empty bins in your playroom for ‘post-holiday stocking time’
When you pull toys out of your play space (either to create a rotation, to donate, or to save for another baby), don’t replace all of them. Leave some space on the shelf and some bins empty. This gives you space to restock the playroom after your gift-giving celebrations. You can also involve your kiddos in placing their new toys in the empty bins. Involving kiddos just increases investment levels.
4. Donate, Donate, Donate
We already mentioned putting low-interest toys away. Donating is a judgement call. I discourage donating wooden blocks or train sets as they will have longevity for your own kiddos (and can even be saved for their children GASP!)
However, if your child is over Paw Patrol (yes, this is possible), you may want to consider re-homing the toys because they will not have the same generational staying power.
Now, I say that with a caveat. Keep character based toys until you are SURE your children are done with them! Put them on a high shelf in a closet for a while and see if they are missed. After a couple of weeks, offer up the character toys to see if there is enthusiasm about their re-entrance into the playroom. If not, it may be time. I recommend doing this more than once.
5. Hold some gifts for a rainy day. Keep a spot in your closet to hold new overflow toys.
Think of your mantra.
I am in control of the toys
Whether you have a functioning toy rotation or not, keeping ALL of the toys from the holidays on the shelf can be overwhelming and lead to unproductive, uncreative (re. short) playtime. Once the opening is finished, place some of the toys in an adult access only storage spot. Explain that the toys will be coming back out, but that putting some away will help them focus and play better.
6. Keep favorites available. Remember to keep toys that your children love in the playroom.
Keeping some tried and true favorites available can really help kiddos feel comfort when the changes in routine feel overwhelming. Additionally, If cousins or friends come over, you want to be sure they have rich toys to play with, especially before new toys are added to the space. If your child is enthusiastic about the toys, his/her friend will more likely engage in the rich play.
By paring down toys and making space in the playroom before the holidays arrive, you can avoid the treadmill effect of clutter creation while making sure rich, balanced play opportunities are available will make everyone’s holiday a little more smoothly!