• Get rid of toys that are not age-appropriate. These toys may be too basic or too complex for your child.
• Donate toys your toddler has outgrown. Pack up the rattles and baby toys because your child is probably no longer interested in them.
• Throw away toys that are tattered, worn, missing pieces and no longer working. There is no point in keeping these toys.
• Give away toys your toddler does not like playing with because these toys do not keep his or her attention. Another child may enjoy them.
Once you have decided on the toys you are going to keep, think about which toys can help increase speech and language development. Remember that toddlers benefit most when exposed to sounds and words at a young age. Some of the toys to hold onto include toys that are motivating, toys that encourage pretend play, toys that require imagination, toys that develop fine and gross motor skills, as well as cause and effect toys. Some of these types of toys include blocks, bubbles, books, flashcards, puzzles, dress-up costumes, dolls, and play kitchen items. Keep in mind that the best toys that encourage speech and language skills are the ones with the least bells and whistles.
After you have sifted through your toddler's toys you can begin to organize them to lessen the clutter and distraction. One way to do this is by using plastic bins of various sizes found at large discount stores. Put toys with several pieces in zip top bags and put all of these toys in one plastic bin. Put all of your toddler's puzzles together in another box. Place costumes and dress up items in another tub. Once all of the toys have been organized into their appropriate containers, write the names of each type of toy on an index card or piece of paper to tape to the outside of the box so that you can help your toddler locate them. You can also put pictures of the toys on the outside of the container so that your toddler can find them himself. You will be more organized and your toddler will enjoy playing with toys that stimulate his speech, language and developmental skills. Happy spring cleaning!
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