The Lost Toy Bin
The sound of Hot Wheels rolling across the floor, the reveal of Etch-a-Sketch Art and the roars of Sorry! battles being fought make my heart happy. When my kids go to bed, though, I want no trace of them. I want a clean, neat home without a primary colored piece of plastic in sight. I want a grown-up home (or at least the perception of one). It took quite a few years and failed attempts to achieve this result, but alas, it has come to fruition, thanks to the Lost Toy Bin.
How it Works
The kids (my two oldest) can bring a toy or two downstairs from their room to play with as long as they put it back before they get out more. If they leave the room without the toy, it’s subject to get confiscated and put in the lost toy bin. If they go to bed and leave toys out, they are subject to placement in the lost toy bin. If their younger siblings get a hold of the toy because they weren’t paying attention to it, it goes in the bin. For my children, this really started working around four years old. This is when they were able to understand each action and consequence or reward.
Now we know how toys get IN the bin, but how do they get them out?
This is the beautiful part, right here. They earn them back by doing chores. Ah, yes, you want your coveted Pokemon card back? Wipe down the tables. Need your abandoned game piece? Wash the dishes. Headphones to play your iPad? Fold clean towels. Nothing comes out of the bin unless it is earned back.
A Toy-Free home (or at least that’s what it looks like). Best of all, you get kids who are significantly more careful about leaving toys around the house. Kids who are earning their own toys back and actually ASK for chores to do. Ahhhhmazing.