LIVABLE LEARNING - Preparing the Home and the Heart
Simplify the Toys

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     Over the years I have fine tuned my choices on what toys to keep and how to organize them. You can read more about "The TOYS" in my ebook, "From Creative Chaos to Livable Learning." Earlier this year I found an awesome Plano brand shelving unit at our local Menards store. The shelves are sturdy and work great in our atrium closet to hold 10-gallon toy totes. The shelving unit also works well in the laundry room to hold two laundry baskets, side by side, on each shelf.

You can find the 10 gallon Homz totes at your local Sears or KMart stores. Before, I used see-thru totes, but now I choose the solid color grey because it is calmly neutral and hides the cluttered look of the toys in the buckets. The smaller 10-gallon totes fit well on the shelves and they hold an amount of toys that is easily managed. With our daycare, we have children who like to dump the whole bucket out to work with the materials, and the smaller buckets on shelves help to minimize the clutter. With a smaller tote most of the children can be independent and carry it on and off the shelves by themselves. The kids work with these buckets as a group and only one bucket at a time is allowed off the shelves.
I used labels with pictures on the buckets and these are they types of toys I recommend:
  • Manipulative Play: Duplo Blocks, Lincoln Logs, Trains & Tracks, Wood Blocks, Waffle Blocks, Mega Blocks, Small Wooden Blocks, Baby Toys, Toddler Toys.
  • Manipulative Dramatic Play:  Puppets & Dolls, Cars & Action Figures
  • Dramatic Play:  Dress-up Clothes
  • Large Motor:  Push Trucks, Sports


Keep in mind that I keep all games in their own specific cabinet. All puzzles and smaller sets of toys that specifically deal with color, shape and dimension may be kept with your Sensorial materials.





     Whether you a parent, teacher, homeschooler, or daycare provider these tips are sure to help you create an environment that is an aid to motor development and conducive to learning. In addition to traditional Montessori materials it is best to have toys that have minimal distraction in wild colors and technology-related devices. Kids need to be able to learn to create, and even more importantly, to think for themselves. Andrew Pudewa has some excellent food for thought on Freedomship Education and how and why our society is raising a generation of children who cannot think for themselves.
     I have links to most of the toys I recommend - we actually picked up most of these toys at rummage sales. My daycare kids love Lincoln Logs train set with the tracks on a hill. The large set of Guidecraft wooden blocks was one of my best investments. I will have pictures posted soon of how creative the kids can get with these wooden blocks. I would recommend multiple sets of the small wooden Jenga blocks and the waffle blocks and let their imagination run wild. My kids love engineering the Jenga blocks as falling dominoes. When purchasing the Duplo blocks be sure to get a set with wheels on the blocks, because the kids love pushing their creations around. The best push trucks to get are the Little Tykes Handle Haulers and be sure to buy them in pairs (two different kinds are ok) because the kids love to have one in each hand pushing them around the house. I have also included links to some of our favorite baby and toddler toys.





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