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Helpful Kid Stuff

The Better Behavior Wheel

Hang it in the kitchen and spin the wheel instead of getting upset.

A great tool to teach children that actions are chosen and there are consequences to every decision made.
The Better Behaviour Wheel for Kids
An  easy way to solve discipline problems  where the kids get to choose the consequences. Great tool to teach your children to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

Organize a Personal Health Record for Your Family
Your Family Health Records in one handy software program!

Health Frame

A must have for the modern family: keep track of  visits to the dr. , keep a record of your children's immunizations,  medications and start your own journal on  family diet, health, fitness and wellness.

Organize your family's Health Records the easy way!

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Too Many Toys - Not Enough Floor
Organizing Kids Toys

by Judy Brown

We enjoyed having friends over to visit when our kids were small but one night, when it was time to end the evening, we went to get theKids Toys children and I remember standing in the midst of a room that looked like a bomb had gone off in the toy box.  I'm sure they had pulled out every single Lego, car, truck and puzzle that our kids owned. You couldn't even see the floor for the mess, it was a disaster! Until that moment, I hadn't realized how many toys my kids had.

The next day, I decided something had to be done; it was time for a complete overhaul of the situation.  Here are some of the strategies I used to get the toys under control.

Sorting into categories

Anything 'active' went to the playroom in the basement. Outdoors, we fenced off the back yard and made a play area in one corner with a sand box and swings.  We stored the outdoor toys in the garage in summer and in the basement during the winter.

Each child had a library card and once every two weeks we all went to the library and borrowed books, videos and audio tapes. It is much cheaper than buying them and you get a variety of free entertainment. Set aside one shelf where the borrowed items are kept, so they don't get mixed in with your own books and tapes.

A toy library

One of our best investments was a membership in a toy co-operative. For a small yearly fee ( I think it was about $25.00) we could borrow quality sturdy wooden, handmade toys. They had been purchased from non-profit agencies for the mentally handicapped and from a seniors workshop. They had beautiful puzzles, games, trucks, cars...all sorts of excellent toys for young children. Once you paid your yearly membership, you could go and take out toys much like you go to the library to borrow books.

The kids got to play with toys we never could have afforded and they enjoyed choosing new playthings every couple of weeks. If you don't have a toy co-op in your area, perhaps you could start one up with other families in your neighbourhood.

Accessible storage

Make it easy for kids to put their things away by providing hooks, shelves and storage areas they can reach easily.  

Store toys with small parts ie: Lego, puzzles or building logs etc. in see through plastic containers or plastic ice-cream buckets with lids.

Make, or buy a large toy box so the children can quickly pick up larger toys and get them up off the floor when cleaning up the play area. Large plastic storage bins or garbage cans make excellent toy boxes.

A plastic shoe holder is a neat and inexpensive way to store small stuffed animals or anything that you don't want to toss into the toy box. Just hang it in a convenient place where it can be reached by the little people. These are fairly easy to make yourself if you are handy with a needle.

Netting can be strung up on the  wall to hold any stuffed toys and other bulky items that aren't too heavy. The items can be stuck between the net and the wall so the toys are visible but up off the floor and stored neatly out of the way.

Look for wooden wine racks, at garage sales or thrift stores. Most are like new and they make good storage racks. Fill a Pringles potato chip can (cylinder) with small puzzle pieces, little cars or other small things and then store the cans in the cubbyholes of the wine rack.

Plastic or wicker laundry baskets are handy for odds and ends that don't fit anywhere else.

Trunks, old dressers or chests are great places to store old clothing for dress up games. Go through your closet and see if there are items you don't want like purses, hats or clothing and donate it to the dress-up bin.

Old dish drainers or plate racks are good for storing small books, records and tapes.

A creative center

Create a painting centre, either in the basement laundry room or set aside a space in the bathroom or in a kitchen cupboard to be used just for painting supplies. Keep finger paints and other art supplies in this area and insist that they be put back only after everything has been cleaned up.

Less is best

When children have fewer possessions they treasure them more. Less is better! When shopping for children's gifts,  get the best you can afford and buy one gift rather than several.

Stage a regular 'weed out' day and encourage the children to donate toys for a  worthy cause or let them sell a few at your next garage sale.

Teach your children to take care of their belongings and set a good example by taking care of your own things properly. Toys - like anything else - occasionally need a wash. Get the kids in the habit of cleaning them. Make sure you show them exactly how to do this so they don't soak everything down and ruin anything. Most toys just need a wipe with a damp cloth. I suggest using a disinfectant in the wash water.

Last, but not least, while it is nice if children pick up their toys on their own, if you expect them to help you with household chores, it's only fair that you help them with their toy pick-up. It's always more effective when you pitch in but make sure you let them know this is their responsibility and you are only the 'helper'.:)

Copyright © 2003 Judy Brown