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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Everyone Loves Toys

King is doing well lately. I think part of it is organization, part of it is time, and part of it was the Christmas break which let me work with him more. He's taking more and using his words more functionally. He learned and used cracker, apple, banana, orange - and kept using them over and over. We had to put the kibosh on more than two bananas per day.

We also took all the toys scattered all over the house and organized them into clear bins. The old open toy shelf type thing wasn't working. Not only were the kids not using it and leaving toys everywhere, they'd also end up just piling toys into big, assorted messes in the bins. The floor wasn't that clean with all the toys preventing good sweeping, and the whole thing just made me feel tired and disorganized every time I looked at it.

So the new system with bins means each activity has a home, and each activity can be cleaned up after it's done. This has not only prompted better communication - legos, Play-doh, draw, blocks, but it's a visual gestural way to indicate exactly the activity you want to do. King can grab one of the bins, say "Open!" and then clean up afterward. He starts singing the clean up song, puts the toys back, closes the bin, and puts it where it belongs. This is huge!

Not only has he started using more language around this, he's been more functional overall. I think it helps all of us to have some more organization in our lives.

I will tell you the paint bin has been slightly problematic, though. I liked the idea of the paint bin. We have washable paints and an easel on which to use them. Problem is that it's become a preferred activity, and there's only so many head to toe cleanings we can do for a boy during the day. For now we've put the paint bin behind the gate, but maybe we'll figure out a way to limit the painting without all the meltdowns.

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