Blanket Boxes – a Solution to Toddler Toy Messes.

October 27, 2008

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Did you think the alphabet blocks were a good ‘school’ idea for your toddler?  How about the kitchen set with the plastic knife so she could practice cutting pretend food in true Montessori style? 

Well, it’s all great until you come back from helping the older kids with their school, step on an alphabet block, hop around holding your foot only to slip on the plastic knife and crash to the floor.  If you can bite off any *#$%@ words (kudos to you), I have an idea that might make life a little easier . . . and cleaner.  Blanket Boxes! 

Telling a toddler to keep their toys in one area or one room is a close to impossible task, but with the help of a lap blanket and their toys sorted into boxed sets, you can make it much more manageable and keep your toddler busy while you work with your older children.

 Blanket Boxes are a simple enough idea:

  • Make Blanket Boxes – Sort your toddler toys/school sets into boxed sets with lids that fit.  We like the dollar store plastic shoe boxes.  They’re cheap, a standard size that stacks, and I can always go get more of the same kind when I need to.
  • Make Labels – Label them with big letters.  Hey, it’s never too early to introduce letters and reading.  You’ll be surprised at how quickly a toddler can recognize the word “FOOD” when it’s printed in large enough block letters on their box of toy food.
  • Get a lap blanket – one per child.  Even better, let them go to the store with you and pick out one they like.  It increases the sense of ownership.  We like using the fleece lap blankets that come out in the fall and winter.  Finally, teaching them to fold up the blanket when they’re done is a great life skill that will come in handy at laundry time.
  • Introduce “Blanket Time” or name it any catchy phrase you’d like.  If you can, choose a standard time of the day, like right after breakfast, after a nap, or as the first school activity.  This age child thrives on routine. 
  • Teach the routine – When Blanket Time starts, show your toddler how to get their blanket, spread it out (more life skills:-) choose a blanket box, and then play for the set time, making sure to keep all the pieces on the blanket.
  • Clean up – Best of all, when it’s time to clean up, you and your toddler can grab the four corners of the blanket to gather up the pieces and then dump them into the box.
  • With an older toddler, you might store the boxes on an accessible shelf and introduce the idea of cleaning up one box and putting it away before getting out another.  (Oh how we wish our children would master this skill!!!)

How do you keep your younger children occupied and learning during school time?  Please share your ideas in the comment section.  Thanks!

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4 Comments so far

  1. Alban Hersey January 11, 2009 8:41 pm

    I thank that is a great idea that you can provide a place for the toddlers can puy yher things. Keep up the good worj

  2. Misty November 14, 2008 9:34 pm

    Thanks Zombiemommy – I was just trying to think of a good use for all the nice containers I’ve been accumulating since I started getting good deals on wipes at CVS. I hated to throw out such nice sturdy wipes containers – now I’ll start putting sets for the younger boys in them. Thanks!


  3. zombiemommy November 14, 2008 6:26 pm

    Oh I almost forgot, instead of buying boxes use diaper wipe plastic containers!

  4. zombiemommy November 14, 2008 6:23 pm

    Hey this sounds great!

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