When it comes to toy storage its all about making it work for you, your child and the space you have available. In an ideal world we would all have Pinterest worthy playrooms with a variety of wooden toys available to the children but that's just not reality!!
For me, it's about using what you've got in a manageable way. You want to present toys to make them look inviting to little ones to want to touch and play with and then you also want to keep them tidy and organised to make accessing them as easy as possible.
Firstly, we have the Ikea Kallax unit for storing a lot of our toys. These are great but I would try if you can to avoid using the large storage boxes for these in every section. If possible try to leave some shelves clear so that you can swap the items you have on show, and then have some boxes or drawers like I have used here.
These Wham boxes are ideal as they hold a lot of items but can still be seen and accessed by the child which encourages them to be independent and make their own choices about play.
I then like to use items like a recipe book stand to present books or interesting pictures to encourage children to want to read or engage with books. These also work really well with puzzles and jigsaws!
Take the time to line up or present toys nicely for your child. This makes them inviting to want to touch and play with them. Remember when it comes to toys, less is more effective so try not to overfill the shelves as this can be overwhelming for young children.
And if you have a small collection of items with a similar theme, try presenting them in an open basket or tray. These are a lovely way of introducing themes or topics to your child, particularly when they have shown a keen interest.
And then in the other corner of the room, we have a large basket for storing bigger toys and soft toys that don't fit the shelves or for swapping around and rotating. This is also handy to grab when wanting to take toys outdoors to play on a sunny afternoon!
Then I like to use these drawstring bags to hold collections of items such as balls, sensory scarves or foil blankets. They are easy to grab by having them on the hooks and could be labelled or colour coded.
Finally we have a large storage box. Now a common complaint about large storage boxes or those kallax boxes is that they hold too much, and the problem with this is that children are tempted to tip them up and empty everything out to find the tiniest of toys!
So, my top tip for larger storage boxes like these is to separate the toys into groups or collections using a variety of storage items. Paper gift bags can be handy and lovely to use in play activities.
These mesh re-usable fruit bags from many supermarkets are great for storing toys and items and could also be used in sensory activities too. I love these and plan to get plenty more as they are so much easier to see what's inside!
Finally, I keep and reuse everything! Any small boxes with lids, containers or even this zip bag from a new duvet sheet all make life easier by storing toys so that you can see and access them. It makes tidying up so much easier too if everything has a home. This helps children to keep order and know where they can access things.
Try to always have a small selection of books wherever your child chooses to play. This encourages children to choose to interact with books, find a quiet corner to read or look through the pictures or to prompt a story time.
Once again, less is more effective. Too many books that are hard to access are unlikely to be looked at so try to choose a small selection and offer them in a small basket or on a shelf.
Finally, when planning your play space, watch carefully how your child likes to play. If they choose to spread out and lie across the floor, try to keep plenty of floor space to encourage them to play in this way. Some children choose to kneel, stand, sit etc so watch how they choose to play and try if you can to include this in the planning of your play space!
Please remember, it does not need to be Pinterest worthy to be an effective space for play!