This post is by regular contributor Ali Wright of At Home With Ali.
From time to time I re-organise the toys in our household. I put away toys that are no longer played with and I bring out toys that have been out of rotation for a while. I also like to experiment with how I organise, present and position toys – looking for the perfect combination to inspire independent, imaginative play. I have tried all sorts of things, many of which have had only average success, or have failed completely. I have had one major win though – the Adventure Play Box.
This is a box that is used by both my children (aged 3 and 5) on a daily basis. The adventure play box never gets put into toy rotation. Not only does it work well for encouraging imaginative play, it is also great for keeping all those little items that are easily misplaced together. We store all our adventure tools in an Ikea basket with a handle. It can be easily pulled out from a lower shelf by the kids whenever the need for adventure strikes.
To create an adventure play box of your own, start with these eight items;
1. Torches: We have a few different torches in the adventure play box. They are much loved adventure tools – great for hiding in dark cupboards and under beds. Torches are also useful for searching for lost balls that have rolled under the couch!
2. Cameras: An absolute must in the box – throw in a toy camera or a real camera (if you dare), or even a camera that you have made yourself.
3. Toy Phones or Walk Talkies: We have multiple communication devices in the box…. many of them freebies that come attached to kids’ magazines. These are popular items, the kids love to yell into them, particularly if they are playing imaginative ’emergencies’. It is noisy but fun!
4. Keys on Lanyards: My 5 year old never leaves the adventure play box without a key around her neck. She loves to pretend to lock and unlock doors.
5. Magnifying Glasses: Got dead bugs? We do, and the kids love to check them out under their magnifying glasses.
6. Hammers and Drills: These have been a fairly new addition to our adventure play box. We had a toy tool box that never got used… it was a sad and forlorn little thing. I eventually threw the drill and a couple of hammers into the adventure play box and got rid of the rest. Lo and behold, they now love hammering and drilling all the hinges on our doors.
7. Tape Measures: My 3 year old loves little tape measures. She walks around the house (and even the shopping centre!) measuring things.
8. Binoculars: We have a few different pairs of binoculars in the box. They get used when the kids play pretend ‘spies’. You can easily make your own binoculars using cardboard rolls and cellophane.
Our adventure play box is situated right next to our bag box. The two boxes make a good combination and I often find children zooming around the house with bags full of adventure gear. Our play boxes are labelled with little cards but I would like to update them so they look like these.
Do you have an adventure themed box for imaginative play?
For more toy organisation ideas, check out;
- 14 Ways of Keeping Kids Clutter Under Control
- Organising Kids Stuff: Small Spaces
- The Case for NOT Packing Away
- Lego Storage & Organisation Ideas