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Organized/simple/educational play room without junky toys?

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I need to streamline ds22months toys. There are some good, but some that have just collected. I purge often, but really want to get an organized, simplistic, educational play room going. What are some "must-have's" for that type of play room? I want to make good decisions for toys that will also be easy to pick up and keep organized. Ideas/suggestions?

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  • 1 year later...

Our top 5 would be:


blocks (wooden unit blocks and Legos at the bare minimum, but magnetic blocks, TRIO & pattern blocks are fun too)

play sets (like castle, barn, dollhouse and the like with accessories)

musical instruments and scarves

wooden train set

shoelaces (this is probably an item particular to my family, but DS loves string and shoelaces have been the longest lasting)

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For my three girls we have-


In their bedrooms-


Kitchen and wooden food

Big dollhouse that they can all play at together (it's about 4 feet tall), furniture, and dolls

Wooden barn and horses/accessories

Wooden blocks

Baby doll stuff-a couple babies, a couple outfits, stroller and cradle

Shelving unit with baskets-doctors kit, cars and trucks, Mr. potato head stuff, small people or animals


Each kid has two buckets that fit into the shelving unit for their own personal things (special things they've found, Chapstick, journals, ect)


*Their rooms (2 rooms, 3kids) can be completely picked up in five minutes. Everything has a designated space, and even my 2 year old can put things away.



In the school room I have ONE Ikea bin (the square ones that fit into an Expedit unit) that has various preschool materials-

Lacing beads


Dry erase crayons/activity

Mini stickers

Play doh


Magnet tangrams

Unifix blocks

Bingo markers

*These things are ONLY for school time, ONLY at the table, ONLY one at a time, and ONLY mommy gets them out.



Then we have a hall closet that holds all of our games, puzzles, science kits. Kids need permission to go in there, as it's organized and I don't want half a million pieces everywhere.

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I've debating this same thing.  My list would be:


Little People


kitchen/play food

cars or baby dolls (depending on child's interests)


We also have a closet shelf for things like counters, Bristle blocks, playdough, lacing cards, etc. that I don't want them getting into constantly.  

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For organizing, I love the ikea expedit shelves with buckets or their knockoffs at Target. The fabric cubes can be color coded or (what I plan to do) is to use binder rings to clasp a laminated label onto the handle. Also the trofast from Ikea. In my dreams I would outfit both kid's rooms with trofast. I have them in our classroom for supplies/games etc.


I have this one:http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=20598846&searchURL=true in the boy's room right now.

But it has no lids which is kind of a bummer. It holds tons and is easy to label.

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I keep limited toys out and rotate somewhat but the rotation stash is limited too.


living room/play area -- almost all contained on the 8-cubby expedite shelf

 - wood blocks

 - duplos and will transition to legos soon (sometimes these are put away)

 - small tabletop doll house and items (rotated out with play barn with animals)

 - baby dolls/larger dolls and clothing/accessories (these get rotated out with stuffed animals)

 - dress up clothes hanging by mirror with basket for hats/etc

 - play food and play stove and dishes/etc (this gets put away at times)

 - lots of puzzles - these are checked out from a nearby library so the rotations often chagnes

 - large floor puzzles

 - cooperative games they can play together without me (well in theory - they're 3 and 5)

 - zeggits  building toy (not sure that is the name)


then there is also the schoolroom that has a lot of learning activities on the shelves more montessori style and free-access art supplies as well. Along with more games and more building like activities or z-rods, playdough, etc.

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For 3 yo dd, the things we have that I find important/useful are:


Well-equipped art center - art table, chair, 2-shelf bookcase with basic art supplies that she always has access to. There are an additional 2 shelves out of reach with art supplies that she has more limited access to, such as paints or higher-quality specialty stuff.


Pretend/imaginative play stuff - play kitchen, dress up bin, big cardboard box, large bin of fabric scraps


Building toys - Duplo, blocks, Wedgits


Musical instruments


I purge every few months. I usually ask myself - for what purpose did I buy this? Does it still serve that purpose? Does it serve any other purpose? If it isn't serving a purpose, I put it up in my closet for a few months. During the next purge, I look at that stuff again. If it seems it might have a purpose now, it gets put back out. If it still isn't going to serve a purpose, it gets sold or goes to Goodwill.

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Wood Blocks


Matchbox cars

Schleich Animals

Sit n Spin

a misc basket with a few toy guns, dress-up, and some "cheap" toys that I am constantly purging through


Those are the things that my 5 year old and 3 year old boys have.  A basket or bucket for each type makes for easy pick up.

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The "main toys" that we have in our play room are (for a 1,3,5,6, and 9 year old).


1) A play kitchen with accessories.

2) One bin of stuffed animals and baby dolls. A small assortment of baby doll clothes and blankets, and a couple baby doll strollers and beds.

3) A table that has calico critter stuff (a couple houses, a "park", and accessories).

4) Lincoln logs complete with a "train set."

5) A weeble treehouse and some other weeble accessories.

6) A fire truck, an ambulance, and a couple other small vehicles.


That's pretty much it... a few other miscellaneous stuff, but not much. Now, to be honest, the 4 older girls also each have an American girl doll, and they do have a few accessories for those as well. They have a dresser in their bedroom (all 4 girls share a room) that they have their dolls sit on, and the drawers are for the accessories (only one drawer has stuff right now... I'm anticipating that they will collect more stuff as the years go by and there is space for that).

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First of all, my boys are 5, 3 1/2, and almost 2. We don't have a playroom but I have been working to make our toys more organized and also of a higher quality so that they will last and really cause them to use their imaginations more. I have been slowly working over the past year on eliminating all of the junk toys and replacing them with high quality, special toys that will last. We are just getting tired of toys that break or need to be fixed so we are trying to find better brands that will not break as much! You can only glue so much! Finally, my boys pick up all of their own toys so having less has been so great for them. That said, higher quality toys sometimes have a steeper price tag so I have tried to find them on eBay or online with sales and coupons.


We also have a smaller house (1000 sq. ft.) so most of their toys are housed in their closet. I use baskets and nice Sterilite tubs in different sizes to help organize things. (I like the Sterilite color tubs with the handles that latch on the sides. They have been incredibly durable despite heavy usage. I have them in a nice coffee color.) Here is what we have (for 3 boys!):


1. Play kitchen with some nice wood/felt food and a set of simple aluminum dishes (Kitchen found on Craigs List, vintage dished on eBay)

2. BRIO train set (found on eBay- I can't recommend BRIO enough. Only one thing has broken in one and a half years of use and it was just a string that came out and could easily be put back in again.)

3. Lego Duplo set (found on eBay)

4. Blocks and Marbles set (I can't remember if we have the super set or regular one)

5. We also have a dress up bin with items for boy adventures.



This is what I have found to give them for birthdays/Christmas this year:


1. Wood truck (Bought on Etsy from Mike's Toy Shop- Wow! This is so beautiful! So excited to give them this at Christmas.) Plus, I found a wood man to go with this from Wooden Wagon

2. Various wood animals to go with homemade wood barn my husband is building (I found Ostheimer ones on eBay. A few were made from Armadillo Dreams on Etsy. I made a few as well.)

3. A nice building block set (mixed lot of Kapla and BRIO wood blocks found really cheaply on eBay!)

4. A few nice little things from The Wooden Wagon (tops, bird call, wood rattle for baby girl, etc.)

5. A catapult


Since I am expecting a little girl to join our family late October I have been trying to get my Christmas/birthday shopping done early. I have a few things for our little girl as well.

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