Toy storage options, large and small
Whether you’re running a day care centre, or designing your storage solution for toddlers, toy storage is one of the best parts of designing a play area for children – creating a safe, accessible area for storage can be a pleasure, as it helps parents and carers support the safe play of their children.
The home storage option
Home storage is fraught with decisions that every parent will probably recognise – the storage they choose needs to be safe, and rugged. It needs to support the development of the child by storing increasingly more complex or increasingly smaller parts, and it needs to stand the test of time. There’s no point in buying a storage system for a toddler that you have to replace when your child starts school – and then again, when they’re a teenager.
The best storage options are usually made of wood, with plastic tubs – these are easy to care for, wipe clean, and blend with just about any environment. As many inserts for these also come in a range of colours, it’s easy to see why they are the first choice for parents.
Another option is shelving. Adding shelves to any space automatically gives easier storage, but it’s important to make sure that these shelves are secure and can’t be pulled down – as children frequently pull themselves up on objects, or try to climb them. Shelving, when used correctly, can be one of the best design choices for any end user, as everything is on display – tubs on the bottom shelves can be used for smaller, more intricate toys, while the higher shelves can be used for toys that are less played with. It’s also a good idea to keep some tubs on the very top shelf with toys that are no longer needed, and empty these frequently to donate or trash.
A final option for storage are blanket boxes, though it’s often important to be aware that this storage solution has several disadvantages, including not being able to see the toys and lids that can catch small fingers.
Day care solutions
In many cases, day care solutions are identical to the home storage solution – if the day carer in question works from home, there’s no reason to change the winning formula of wooden storage units + tubs. If the day care centre is a dedicated building, then more options present themselves – such as counters with under worktop storage, and custom build units that may otherwise fit well in a shop. No matter what the choice, day carers need to choose something that’s easy to clean, and easy to use. Shelves around walls at adult height can provide much needed storage for games and books, while shelving units can store art and cooking supplies, along with toys that fit there.
The benefit of tub storage for the day carer is myriad – they can see where toys are, and can entice children to play with certain toys by having them ‘on display’ in the tubs. If the tubs aren’t see-through, colourful labels can be applied to describe what should be contained within.
Both solutions work well
It’s important to realise that in most cases, the home storage system versus the day care solution is practically identical. The primary concern of creating a less cluttered space for a child to explore their surroundings works whether you’re a parent or a nursery nurse. The importance of storage to a child has less impact – while children will put things away, their primary interest will always be their toys and how easy it is to find them.