In our house, this means:
- matchbox-size cars with fold-up cloth roads
- people with houses/cars/etc.
- animals with fold-up ranch & rodeo
- Thomas the Tank Engine and friends w/ traintracks & accessories
- Wood blocks/Duplos/Legos
- Dress-up outfits -- firefighters, "Bible men" (cotton tunics w/ headwraps), policemen, cowboys, doctors, football players, ballerina skirts for Maranatha, etc.
I LOVE TOY SETS!
Here are some reasons why. They:
- Are easy to keep cleaned up. -- We only allow two "sets" out at a time-- one on the enclosed balcony and one in the boys' room... that way, sets generally stay separate.
- Are great for longevity. -- Essentially, this allows you to reintroduce the same toys over and over again, because each time you pull it out it "feels" new and exciting.
- Facilitate group play. -- Enough for everyone, even when friends come over!
- Are easy to add to. -- Which makes for an easier time at birthdays & Christmas
- Help the kids to keep things organized. -- Like the "kindergarten room" set-up... everyone knows where various components belong.
- Encourage group decision making. -- We have the rule that they have to agree in order to trade in one "set" for another, so they learn to give in sometimes, and learn how to make a compelling "case" for persuading others.
Yes, I realize that when they're 10, 12, 14, & 16, this stuff won't matter so much. But right now, it makes things FAR less complicated, keeps things far more tidy than they would otherwise be, and has many advantages.
So, if you like our system, borrow whatever parts you like. And if you have a great system for keeping up with toys, please feel free to share it here!