The best toy storage for kids can be like a jigsaw puzzle. There are just so many different types, shapes and sizes of toys that it can be tough to figure out what goes where. That’s why this post, “part 2“ will focus on the different types of toys and how you can easily store and organize them.
Though part 1 was all about clever toy storage ideas, setting up systems, and teaching children how to be organized, we are now going to dive deeper into the specifics. We’ll also explore creative play station solutions that can easily be added to a playroom or even a bedroom. The goal is to make toy storage for kids fun yet practical and sometimes that means thinking outside of the toy box.
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How to Store Different Toys
Different types of toys require different storage solutions. To get started, you’ll need to group toys by category. For example, puzzles, board games, trucks, dolls, stuffed animals, musical toys, books, and play cooking. It’s likely that you’ll have a number of different categories. If you’ve already recycled or put away unused toys then you can find relevant storage for each category depending on the size and number of toys. Here are some great ideas for storing different toy categories:
Instead of storing puzzles in those bulky boxes, use pouches or pencil cases. But since puzzle pieces can be a nightmare to keep together, label them by giving every different puzzle its own number. Then write that corresponding number on the back of each puzzle piece. That way you know exactly where a piece should go if it happens to be misplaced.
As fun as Lego’s are for kids to play with, every parent knows how painful these can be if you happen to step on them. That’s why making sure that your kids have adequate storage for their Lego’s is a good idea. The better the storage system, the more likely they’ll all be packed away (for your safety) at the end of the day. Transform an old coffee table into a Lego play table. Add a storage bag or some shelves underneath to store away the Lego pieces in clear plastic containers. This keeps most of the pieces off the floor while being played with and the storage containers are within reach too.
As much fun as board games are, those cumbersome boxes can really take up a lot of space. To solve this problem, tuck them neatly away in a hanging closet organizer. These handy organizers help you make use of vertical closet space and will keep the boxes organized but out of sight in the closet. Plus, any shelf space left free in the organizer can be used to store any other toy boxes.
Toy car and truck collections can quickly get out of hand unless they have proper storage space. Your child will want easy access to these types of toys, so put up some low shelving or even a small bookshelf on which to display the cars, trucks, trains and other toy vehicles in plain sight. This will make it easy for your child to reach and put back which will keep them off the floor.
Dolls can quickly accumulate as well and if you don’t have adequate storage for them, they’ll be strewn all over the house. A clever way to organize and display dolls and even Barbies is to hang a shoe organizer over a door. In this way, the dolls are neatly displayed and easy to access and return to their place after use.
Label with Pictures
Always label toy storage by attaching pictures for preschoolers. You can combine this with words underneath the picture. Do this even if you are using colorful containers. You’re teaching young children how to be organized and there’s a lot to process. For older kids who can read, labels can be more simple. Make sure that each storage container or bin has a label stating what’s inside. Labeling encourages this skill and linking color with a picture and the word will help your kids form connections.
Creative Kids Spaces
Children need creative spaces that encourage them to play and use their imaginations. Whether that’s a playroom or just a dedicated space in the family room or bedroom, your storage and organization options are unlimited. It’s essential for this space to be bright, colorful and fun in order to fuel creativity. But just because it’s a fun space for your kids it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it too. It’s likely that you’ll spend plenty of time in this space too.
Seana Turner of The Seana Method shares how organizing children’s space can be a fun shared experience with the right mindset:
“I love the IKEA Kallax, or equivalent, for a toy room. Also, small bins on shelves to hold art supplies, preferably with no lids so they can be easily brought to the table and then returned. I like using an office-supply stacked paper tray to hold construction paper, white paper, and coloring books. Baskets are nice for balls and stuffed animals. Hooks or a small clothing tree for dress-up clothes. Large trucks can just be lined up in a “garage” along the way. Organizing children’s spaces is so much fun!”
One way to make the space fun for you and your kids is by designing it intentionally. For example, setting up creative themed stations for play is a wonderful way to promote a skill or encourage a talent in children such as cooking or music. When the space is interactive and fun, your children will view the activity as play even as they get older.
Setting Up Play Stations
If your kids have a playroom or extra space in the bedroom, you’ll want to consider setting up some play stations according to their interests. Do you have a little bookworm? Then a reading nook is a must. Do you have an aspiring chef? Then, set up a kitchen cooking station. Does your little one love to create? Consider a dedicated arts and crafts area. Have a budding musician on your hands? Then, give them a musical space to experiment.
A Reading Nook for Books
Encourage your kids to read by setting up a cozy reading station for their books. A multi-functional reading station that has a bookcase, shelves or cubbies, as well as a comfortable cushioned seat for your kids to curl up on, is ideal. When their books are easily accessible, children are more likely to grab their favorite storybook and read.
Arts & Crafts Area
Another way to stimulate a child’s mind is by giving them the tools to be artistic. This can become a mess if not controlled with a proper storage system. Give your kids their own crafts area equipped with art supplies that are easy to access but also easy to put back. Keep a plastic drawer organizer full of paper and use colorful tins or buckets for colored pencils, crayons, and other art supplies to ensure that everything is visible. Use a cubby to store kids’ art supplies. Cubbies offer a specific space for each supply category to make clean up time a breeze. Hang a canvas shoe organizer on the back of the door to keep art supplies together and organized. Allow finished masterpieces to dry and be displayed at the same time by stretching rope, cord, or twine between two points and hanging the artwork with a clothespin.
Kitchen Cooking Station
A fun play food station is a great way to keep children happily entertained for hours. Luckily, there are plenty of toy kitchen sets to choose from. These clever sets come separately but can be combined to create a whole ‘kitchen’ too. There are plenty of different pieces and parts that come with these sets. But luckily, most offer some form of built-in storage too. For example, in the stove or fridge. This teaches kids a valuable lesson about cleaning up after cooking up a storm in the ‘kitchen.’
The Musical Zone
There are tons of musical toys for kids that help to improve dexterity while also encouraging creative expression. If your child loves musical toys, create a zone for these types of toys. Whether you have a child size drum set, toy guitar, keyboard or any other instrument, make sure they have proper storage space in this area. For example, a stand to rest on or hooks to hang the straps from. This teaches kids to take care of their instruments even if they are just toys.
Since there are just so many different types of toys, storage can be a challenge. But it doesn’t have to be. All you need is some creativity and the right system to create the best toy storage for kids. When done together with your little ones and created intentionally, finding the best toy storage for kids can even be fun.
Do you have toy storage and play stations for kids?
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Thanks for including me in this wonderfully thorough post Ronni! Kids spaces really are a delight to organize. I love entering into the world of a child, finding out what they love, and setting everything up for them so they can imagine, play, and blossom!
I too love to explore the imaginative mind of a child. It’s fascinating. Especially understanding what they enjoy and how they learn. Play is a child’s work! When I’m with little ones I love to ignite their creativity and then watch how they respond.
Ronni, these are all terrific ideas for children’s toys! I particularly love the way you advocate setting up stations for different interests. My boys loved to build. They had wooden building blocks, Legos, and magnetic pieces with which they would create all sorts of towns. They incorporated their cars & trucks and even Fisher Price little people. Encourage this sort of imaginative free play is so important for children. Encourage them by having stations or centers for their interests. Change the centers as the interests change.
I used to observe how they do it in preschool and kindergarten. Play stations are still so popular and really give a child the ability to explore many different activities and with different friends. I think it makes learning more fun with exploration.
You shared so many wonderful ideas for toy organizing and storage. And I LOVE that photo of your adorable grandson. That face!
Puzzles are always a challenge…all those pieces. And when they get mingled with one another, it’s especially difficult. I love your idea of numbering the back. While it seems like extra work, it seems a like a lot less work than figuring out which random piece goes to which puzzle.
And your idea for using the hanging storage for board games is also brilliant. That way, it’s easier to retrieve and replace a game without having to deal with a too large stack. Smart!
Thank you! It’s such joy being around my baby. Though it’s been horribly infrequent the last five months.
I was definitely inspired by his toy collection to write this piece. It was so clear how space and age make a huge difference when organizing toys.
I learned the puzzle idea years ago when my kids were small. You are so right, it’s much easier organizing the puzzles with the numbers on the back then having to figure out which piece goes with which puzzle and that can be maddening.
When I was doing several hands-on organizing projects years ago, one of my favorite areas to organize was the playroom. I had several clients that wanted to set up stations of pretend play, crafting, gaming, and reading areas. So, much so, I used the same stations in my kids’ playroom. It really helped and showed the kids that there were different areas of play.
The play room is a fun project to organize. It’s where playful, colorful, and creative, come together.
There are so many creative solutions today. Play stations allow little ones to tap their imagination.
Our family is BIG into board games and puzzles. I love clear pouches for this purpose. I’m going to look into some hanging organizers for board games. Great ideas, thanks for sharing!
I’m so glad that this was helpful. I have found that when one system doesn’t work, another will.Whatever you do, keep track of those puzzle pieces. It’s never fun to have to re-sort from scratch.
This is a great resource and overview of different types of storage. I love organizing kids’ spaces. I know toys can be challenging with all their parts and pieces, but having effective storage like you have identified here can make a huge difference. It’s also important to set kids up for success by choosing solutions they can easily manipulate.
It’s so much fun to organize kid’s toys because creativity and fun are your guide. From an early age you’re teaching such important skills about picking up, putting away to stay organized.