Thursday, January 8, 2015

Rotating Infant and Toddler Toy Bins


Since toys must be sanitized daily for children under 18 months in my state, and I often do not have time to do this in the evenings, I took a tip from my brother and incorporated the 5 bin system.



I have 5 STURDY laundry baskets, one for each day of the week. If I don't have time, then I can wait and sanitize all of the toys on the weekend or in one evening. 

Additionally, since this age group mostly wants to throw and dump, it keeps the quantity of items to a manageable level. By rotating daily, they have fresh items to explore on a daily basis, keeping the focus more on the cognitive exploration that can get lost with a non-dynamic environment at this age.


In each of these bins, I include at least one:
  • Baby doll
  • Ball
  • Bead chaser
  • Blanket
  • Blocks
  • Car
  • Container for fill/dump
  • Dress up items
  • Mirror
  • Movement toy
  • Musical instrument/rattle
  • Plastic animals
  • Play dishes/food
  • Play phone
  • Puzzle
  • Sensory item
  • Soft or board book
  • Stacker
  • Stuffed animal
The laundry basket is an additional gross motor play element, so I spent the extra money for heavier ones. They sit on and in it, climb on it, fill and dump, use it as a table, etc. 


Since my infants and young toddlers have their own large sanitized play area, having their own sanitized toys ensures that they are only sharing germs with one another and only on a daily basis.


While I'm not big on over sanitizing for children, it does become super important when the environment has been exposed to an illness through a sick child or parent, or if flu or another contagious illness is rampant in the community. Very young children can die from illnesses that cause older ones to only be sick for a short time. 

Plus, it is required by regulations, so I have to do it.



As they get older, I can manipulate items in the bins to incorporate skill sets. For instance, if we will be working on the color red, I can make certain that there are a number of red items included in the bin. If we will be working on the number 3, I can include 3 of several items. For the letter B, I can have items that represent that letter.

There is another reason besides laziness/time that I like to clean and sanitize a few day's or the week's worth of toys at once. When clean, I take the jumble of items and sort them into the baskets available according to the master list. This ensures that the items, while the same, are grouped into different combinations within the baskets each time. This allows for new explorations of materials with one another.




I do label the bins. I print out the days of the week and laminate them, punch holes, and use zip ties to attach, cutting the zip ties close to the closure with wire cutters. Do these labels stay on forever? Absolutely not! But getting them off is another motor and cognitive activity, and does take an extended period of time if they are laminated. The zip ties, however, will stay on, so they do not have the potential to become a choking hazard, as any other attempt at labeling would become. The holes can be additionally enforced with a second layer of lamination.
Tags: infant, toddler, homeschool, homeschooling, preschool, child care, daycare, child, care, business, organization, health, wellness, sickness, illness, skills, development, cognitive, motor, fine motor, gross motor, 

1 comment:

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