How to Survive All the Toys – Create an Activity Cart!

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Toys, games, books and more.  Basically, all the kid stuff.  The speed at which these items accumulate is ridiculous!

I’m the mom that when I find a great activity for the kids, especially if it is a good deal, I get it! I may buy a couple years ahead and stock pile it in the closet, but at least I have something I think is either educational or fun for my children.  When the right time comes along, I pull it out of hiding and typically the boys play with it for a while, and then it gets put into an organizer to be used again (at some point, I would hope).

One Saturday morning, the boys came running up to me and wanted something to play with. I think I looked at them and said, “your rooms have tons of toys, just pick something!”  They couldn’t. What I had discovered was that they had become overwhelmed and were frustrated.  I went into their rooms and what I noticed was that some toys and games remained untouched in the closets and organizers, some buried under other toys and at the bottom of the bin.  The boys didn’t know where to start, so I decided to do something about this little challenge.

Introducing, the activity cart!

The activity cart is my mobile organizer of toys, games and activities. Our family tends to gravitate towards the living room, especially after a long day at work and school, so it was the perfect solution for toy organization and providing play options for my children.  The best part was that it could go anywhere!  To make the cart be successful in its purpose, I would choose a small selection of toys and activities, add them to the cart and then rotate the group of items on a recurring basis.  We change items in the cart every week, but will often leave a few of the items in it from the previous week too.  Ones that didn’t get as much attention remain, while others get cycled out.  The kids look forward to this each week!

Ultimately, the activity cart has become my version of rotating toys and child activity items.  I seriously needed to reduce the amount of toy options available to them at any given time, which allowed them to focus on those specific toys and stay engaged with them longer.  They actually enjoyed those toys and activities to their fullest, which resulted in more creative play too.  It simplified the options for my children and in turn made my life much more manageable, plus cleanup became easier too!

Another benefit to the activity cart is that while adding toys to the cart on a consistent basis, we determine toys or games that my kids have outgrown.  I’m not sure about your children, but my two boys tend to lose interest after playing with the same toys over and over again.  Its wonderful to see how excited they get when they bring out the “new” toys or games, which are not new at all!  They have just been in hiding.  Its like getting a new set of toys or activities every few weeks.

How to Create Your Own Activity Cart:

Find a cart!

Ours is from Ikea.  We find these carts to be extremely hand and actually have three of them around our house that we use for different purposes!  You may want a cart that is bigger, depending on your space.   I preferred one that I could easily move around and put into a closet, if needed.
Here are some options I found when looking for a utility cart:

Organize your cart!

I like to have a variety of different types of toys and activities in the cart. I try to include some options for family time activities too, with games and puzzles.

I typically sort my cart into these categories.   

  1. Puzzles, flash cards and games
  2. Legos, shape sorters and creative play toys
  3. Books, coloring books, plain paper and coloring utensils

Now, rotate the items in your cart on a recurring basis!

Make this work for you! Often I include seasonal items, or try to incorporate things they are learning about at school.  Overall, my goal was for my kiddos to spend more time playing and less time weeding through the toys!   Happy kids equals a happy mom, and that’s a win-win for everyone!

 


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Born and raised in Wichita, full of Shocker pride, Jenna is a boy mom to son's Aiden and Eli. She married her college sweetheart, Danny, and the two keep an active schedule that includes chasing their children and dogs around Northeast Wichita. Jenna is an executive for a local HR Outsourcing organization and a member of the Junior League of Wichita. She likes to spend her spare time helping others or volunteering around the community. You can catch her at local events, supporting entrepreneurs and participating in activities with friends and family. She is a total foodie, loves coffee and craft beer, is an avid podcast listener and is quite fond of a glass of Cabernet to end her day. Keep up with Jenna at @JenMarceau on Instagram!