When organizing kid’s toys most parents do an analysis that takes into account frequency of use, places available to put the toy, shelf space, weight, hazard, and so on. What destroys many valiant parental organization attempts is failure to take into account “trigger toys.”
Trigger toys are those that trigger a child to want another toy. In the case of toddlers, these are most often toys that have been played with as a group before, no matter how unrelated. For older children, trigger toys are often those that are part of a set or collection such as all of the toys related to a particular television show, or all of the pirates toys.
The trickier ones are the toddler toys which can be linked in a small child’s mind for reasons parents don’t even remember. However, by paying attention to what your child plays and what toys they request to go along with certain toys, you can get a good idea of what trigger toys there are.
In our house, for example, we have a dinosaur toy set with one large orange dinosaur (Reggie) one little orange dinosaur (Rodney) and an egg which opens and shuts and that Rodney fits inside of. We also have a jungle toy that has jungle animals and a veterinary hut. For whatever reason, Rodney (the little dinosaur) is always required when she plays with the jungle set. The converse is not true.
So, when we put away toys, the jungle set can go in the playroom in the basement, but Rodney needs to be down there too. Otherwise, we’ll be coming back up the stairs to get him the second she starts playing with the jungle.
Group your toddler’s trigger toys together. Also, when storing toys to make them fresh and new again, be especially sure to store trigger toys together. Otherwise, you’ll just end up pulling out the toys you just put in storage to retrieve the missing object.