There’s nothing quite like the feeling of new art supplies.  They come in crisp containers, ready to create your child’s artistic vision.  After they’re used, your child can replace them inside their package, tucking them away on the shelf for the next time.

Right?

Wrong.

Toys often come with beautiful packaging that has the best of intention:  storing your items for the long term.  Unfortunately, a lot of times the design does not work for storage.

 

I’ve been in several homes over the years.  It’s rare that toys are ever stored properly in the packages they came in.

 

It makes sense!  Often, the toy are put in packaging that is attractive for marketing, but not so practical for the developmental needs of the child (or the time needs for the parent!)

 

Look at the oil pastel pictures above.  There are 12 spaces and 12 pastels.  It takes a bunch of time to get each one in.  Let’s face it–people don’t have a lot of time anymore.  Additionally, younger children sometimes lack the fine motor skills to complete such a complex task.

 

This applies to SO many different kinds of art supplies.  Just today I observed a child trying to put chalk away–and it did not go well.  Why?  Things have to get in the container EXACTLY in order to make the original box work.

 

The same often goes for wooden toys.  Putting away can be more complex than doing an actual puzzle!

Take these blocks from Melissa and Doug (image courtesy of www.melissaanddoug.com).  They are gorgeous blocks, made for hours of creative play.  They’re built to last.  But trying to fit them exactly into that box at the end?  No thank you–and I’m a grown woman!

So what can you do?

1.  Find attractive storage for toys–baskets, jars, bins, whatever–just make sure it fits what is supposed to go in it!

 

2.  Use the original packaging, but reduce the amount of items so that the toys don’t have to be placed perfectly for clean up.

 

3.  Find other uses for cool packaging.  Hey, the wooden box holding the blocks might work well for those oil pastels!

 

It can be hard to start thinking differently about storing toys–however, simplifying the clean up processes will help buy you time with your child–which is what we all want, right?