The books on the shelf also change monthly. I did have Valentine’s Day, Groundhogs’ Day, Presidents’ Day, and Chinese New Year books up, but just took them down this morning and set up a bunch of easy readers for the rest of the month. I was ready for a change! I usually try to theme my book sets and include a couple Russian books as well as mix fiction and non-fiction books too. I have 2 large Tupperware bins filled with book sets. I try to have one plastic bag of books for each month in these bins. Some months will focus on a holiday, others will focus on a theme – like the Farm. We do not have a television, so the kids spend at least 1 hour reading each day.
My two year old’s bedroom
We do not have a lot of storage space in our house, so I try to be organized with toys and learning materials. In the ideal world, I would not have toys in the bedroom, but our house is small and there are not many other options. So I try to keep it not too busy in the bedrooms. (This does not always happen!) I try to have a couple toy stations available for him to play with. Using themed bins helps me (and him) to stay organized. For one toy stations, I have bins at the end of his bed.
In the bins this month, I have a set of home-made Handwriting Without Tears wooden lines and curves for building letters in the blue bin, balls in the red bin, and vehicles in the green bin. At the end of the month, I put these items into plastic bags and set out a different grouping of toys and educational materials. This limits the amount of toys available, improves interest, and encourages imagination during play. By keeping these items in bins, we can easily move the toy sets to different parts of the house and into the yard as well.
The set of containers below is also in my son’s room. Many of you may have a very similar one. After years of teaching kindergarten, I have come to the realization that word and picture labels are the way to go with smaller items. I took a picture of the item and put it into a Microsoft Word labels document using the template size for the labels I had and added words to describe the toy set. Even if the kids choose to take out all the toys, they know exactly where to put them back! It really does work!!!
Unfortunately, these labels are permanent. I did label on bin a “This week’s lesson” and rotate the toys in this bin. Right now there is a set of wooden blocks and string for beading activities. The kids will go in phases using these bins. I find that by rotating where I have the bins helps keep their interest high. Sometimes I will bring this set of bins out to the playroom and exchange it for the book shelf or kitchen. I also make sure to engage with the children during play and this can enhance and enrich how they play.