Lest this sound cruel, they can have any toy any time, as long as they put away something they're not using, first. We try to keep only a few bins out at a time. Cars and blocks go great together, or musical instruments and stuffed animals, for example.
This has been great for two reasons:
1. The house doesn't get as messy and the toys stay together so you can actually build an entire shape sorter or put Mr. Potato head together - so many toys are only functional when you have most of their parts!
2. The boys actually engage in more focused and creative play because they're not faced with choosing from all of their toys all at once, all the time. When they get bored, they find something new to do with the toy that's out, rather than just switching instantly to a new toy. I've seen my son "cook", plate, and serve the parts to one of his stacking toys for over twenty minutes, which never happened when everything he owned was out all at once.
We took it further recently and started putting something fun out for them to come down to in the morning, maybe a toy they haven't played with in a while, or something set up differently and fun for them. Greg is best at this, and I think it's fun for everyone :)
|Sometimes Greg makes such cute setups for the boys that I wish they wouldn't play with them!|