Mom Hack: Themed Bins

By: Natasha Grogan, Founder of Playful By Design

Themed bins are one of my all time favorite toy organization hacks. Since I tend to keep my toys to a minimum and only have select ones out at a time, I love having clear bins to organize our themed toys. It is super easy:

1- Collect all of the books that you have on the topic.

2- Collect toys that you have related to that topic.

3- Print out coloring pages on the theme online.

What do you get in return? A wonderful curated bin that fills hours of fun. As an educator, I believe in project-based learning but my daughter is only two, so we do not do formal learning projects yet. Instead, I create themed “Learning Bins” for her. These are simply bins that have one main theme and contain all of the toys, puzzles and books that we have on that theme. This approach offers her to explore and learn through play and literacy.

A wonderful place to begin when creating these bins is to think of your child’s interests. If your child loves dogs, then a bin full of plastic toy dogs, fake bones, doggie dishes and books are a wonderful bin to pull out on a rainy day. Does your child love dinosaurs? Then dinosaur figurines, books and even baking soda for volcano making creates a fun dinosaur learning bin.

We also love our zoo bin. We were gifted with a zoo membership and go every couple weeks. My daughter loves zoo day and her excitement can be a bit over the top on our zoo days as she waits to go. This was until I had the idea of creating a zoo bin. I usually set out all of the books and toys on her bookshelf to surprise her the morning that we will be heading to the zoo. She squeals with delight and plays with all of her Zoo Learning Bin toys until it is time to go.

Ready to get nerdy with me? The child-development researcher in me can’t help but mention all of the benefits of project-based learning. When you design themed studies, children are able to really work on their critical thinking and analysis skills as they compare books. It offers the opportunity to learn through multiple learning styles and avenues. It provides an opportunity to embrace children’s interests. Do you want one more, not as research based benefit? It is a total parent sanity saver!

About the Author: Natasha Grogan, Founder of Playful by Design

When I’m not playing with Lydia, I sneak in some work. You see, I’m a self proclaimed child development nerd. I love learning about developmental levels and how the activities and environment that we create effects our brain function.  I believe that childhood should be cherished, dirt is meant to be played in and songs are meant to be sung.

I research, I consult and I pour my heart into helping others learn mindful ways to help their little ones play and grow. My focus is on helping families create a happy home through gentle habit formation, family rhythm and minimalism.

And just in case you were wondering… I can be bribed by black coffee, raspberries and salvage wood furniture.

Here are links to follow Natasha’s blog, Facebook and Instagram!

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