Labels: Making Toy Pick Up Easier

I'm forever looking for ways to teach my children to be more organized and less messy than I am. So today I made labels for all our toy bins. This may seem obvious to those of you who are not messies. But me? I never label anything. 

What inspired me to label the toys is that my mom has been watching my toddler once a week for me, when I take my kindergartner to her charter school. One day I came home and discovered she'd picked up all the toys that were scattered about the floor. How nice! Then I realized the toys were all jumbled together. You see, despite my messy tendencies, I do have the toys somewhat organized. The wood blocks all go in one bin, the Little People stuff in another, the dinosaurs in another, and so on. But, not knowing my system, my mom lumped everything together. This made it much more difficult for my kids to find the toys they wanted. 

But the labels I made aren't just for my mom. I think they're going to help my kids, too. Whenever it's toy pick up time, my kindergartner constantly asks: "Where should I put this?" and "Where does this go?" Yes, she should know by now. But with labels, she no longer has an excuse to pester me. 

To make my labels, I simply opened a Word document and typed the contents of the bin: "Animals," "Cars & Trucks," "Train Stuff,""Puppets," etc. I used bold type and a large font. Then I used Google's image search to find appropriate images to go with the labels. (For example, I searched for "dinosaur clip art.") I downloaded one or two images per label, and inserted them below the text I'd just typed. Then I printed the Word document, cut out the labels, and used packing tape to adhere them to our toy bins.

A low tech way to do this is to print and draw labels on plain paper. 

Or, if you want to be more fancy, you could purchase plain sticky labels or label paper in the office supply store.  

The important thing is to include on every label not just the printed name of the toys - but also a picture of the type of toy. This way, at a glance, your kids know which toys go where, making toy pick-up as easy as possible.

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