The boys can barely walk into the room, and every time I have it cleaned up (and yes, they help!), it is trashed again within an hour (sometimes two hours if they cleaned it before naptime). No matter that there is a toy box for the toys, they must pull out every single toy looking for the one they want. And yet, inevitably, there are still toys at the bottom of the toy box that haven't been played with for months. I started toy rotation by accident, actually, just thinking I'd pull out some of their favorite toys for a summer trip to Grandma's house. The boys played happily with the chosen toys for six weeks, and when we returned, the toys at home were suddenly cool again. I just slipped the packed toys upstairs into a closet, and thus began the toy rotation.
I'm pretty sure Pete knows I put toys upstairs in the closet. He's seen the closet, he's even asked for some of the specific toys from the closet. Occasionally I give in and pull out the requested toy, but for the most part, the toys stay upstairs for a few months at a time. They're gone just long enough that when I bring down the banished toys, it's like Christmas morning all over again. This effect is especially helpful when I'm at my wit's end because they're being total hooligans on a rainy day.
Yesterday I removed all the firetrucks, teddy bears and little people and replaced them with duplos and train tracks. The boys haven't played legos/duplos in months and of course they were instantly enamored with building trains and train tracks. It was especially fun for me to see how Pete has improved his hand-eye coordination in building with the duplos, and his problem solving skills in putting together the trains. Last time the trains were out, Pete just pushed around a train made of the chassis, and ignored the duplo pieces that actually form the body of the train. Chester, well he still just destroys everything we build, but at least now he brings me the broken pieces and says "uh oh, sorry" instead of laying down on the table and creating lego-angels like snow-angels.
I may be scarring my children for life with this toy rotation scheme. Tonight when I asked the boys to pick up their duplos, Pete asked if we were putting them back in bags to go back upstairs. They had the train tracks spread all over the living room today, but after dinner, Pete and Chester cleaned. By cleaned, I mean they picked up everything in the living room and tossed it in the playroom. Good enough for government work, as Grandpa says. In true Pete fashion, he's already found a new favorite in the bunch, and wanted to take it to bed with him. I compromised, allowing the sacred train to stay in the living room overnight instead of being banished to the playroom.
|Salty, on the Bridge. Pete's work of Art on display all night.|
Oh, and if you were wondering, the playroom is still ridiculously messy, tonight it's carpeted with duplos. Some things can't be solved by toy rotation, I guess.