Developmental Milestones: Why Kids Need To Learn How To Keep Their Room Tidy and Their Toys Organized.

These “life" skills will foster independence, and minimize their anxiety.

By Alescia Ford-Lanza MS OTR/L, ATP

I have a knack for organizing just about everything - my shoes are all in clear bins, my laundry room is tidy, and even my “junk” drawer makes sense! I’m always looking for the cutest and most functional toy storage ideas that will make cleaning up the playroom easier for the kids. They don’t realize it, but I am teaching my children important executive functioning “life" skills, fostering independence, and minimizing anxiety!

Small Storage: Shopkins, Legos, Beads…you know it is likely you will uncover these tiny pieces everywhere in your home! Before the vacuum gets to them, I have the kids sort the toys into clear stackable craft boxes. I use these boxes for any toys with small pieces and the kids help by making each one distinguishable with themed stickers or washi tape label on the side. In our art center of the playroom, it is helpful for the kids sort their markers, crayons, scissors/punches, and glue into these stackable clear drawers. They love that they can see the contents without opening lots of boxes. Utilize these small storage solutions to teach your child sorting, the basis for organization! 

Mid-sized Storage: Dinosaurs, vehicles, dress-up clothes… For the piles of stuffed animal collections and dress-up clothes, try throwing them into these adorable 3-Sprouts binsBarbies, dinosaurs, train tracks, and magformers get separated into soft-sided cubes. The key to mid-sized storage is making sure the container is lightweight enough to be moved with the heavier toys inside! Stackable storage isn’t ideal because little arms can’t take down the larger bins and it will prevent kids from being independent in cleaning up.

By involving your kids in the organization process and teaching them where items correctly belong, you’ll also encourage them to collect their own materials. Just like teachers organize their classrooms, take a look at your playroom to see if you can create zones like an art center, creative play, game table. By defining your spaces, kids will be able to seek out materials more successfully if they know the function of the object they’re looking for.

When kids develop the understanding that every toy has a place, and you help them follow basic rules of organization, you’ll be reducing those anxious moments when your child’s favorite stuffed animal goes missing and promoting problem-solving when you direct your child to look for their missing item in its identified spot. It may seem like teaching your child to clean up, organize, and sort their toys is a never-ending battle that isn’t worth the effort…but, fast forward to when your child needs to maintain organization of his/her closet, backpack, or school binder. He will need the executive functioning skills that you are working so hard to reinforce, and he’ll be better off for it!

For additional storage ideas, see some of WOLF + FRIENDS must-haves below:

LEGO: Storage Boxes: Put away all your regular lego bricks (and toys) in this large size LEGO storage brick and make it a more playful way of tidying up. 

 Play & Go bag: Children love to take their toys with them, and Play & Go bags make it easy! And the best is part these light-weight cotton bags can also be used as a play mat. 

IKEA—Alex Drawer unit: Art Projects—Organized! Modern and chic storage unit for Art Projects! Completely kid-friendly, little hands can easily open the drawers and there are stops that prevent the drawer from being pulled out too far. 

THE LAND OF NOD—Little Sloane Leaning Bookcase: The Little Sloane leaning Bookcase is designed to save floor space and is cool storage solution for all their precious things. 

OEUF—Toy Store: Practical as well as stylish, this flexible storage solution makes tidying the biggest and smallest of toys—easier. This unit's open bins are helpful for learning visual organization skills. 

SERENA & LILY—Rolling Storage Crates: We love these as rolling book carts, toy bins, or catchalls for odds and ends. The smallest size can even fit under most beds (the perfect clutter buster).

RAINBOW TUFTS—Storage Baskets: For all the small things. From your child's dolls, books, ribbons and race cars, these Petit Pehr pints will become the “collect-all” you’ll find indispensable to keep things organized.

TELLKIDDO—Laundry + Toy Bags: These Washing Machine fabric bags are perfect for laundry, teddy bears or toys. Kids can carry it from room to room, making chores and clean-up way more stylish + fun. 

And for more kid-friendly design ideas that support your child's development, please visit WOLF + FRIENDS design.