Monday, February 4, 2013

Children's Area Makeover

Window seat area
My new library has this lovely window seat that houses a shelving unit. There are twelve compartments that with clear-bins that pull out. When I started here a few months ago the toys were pretty sad. Most of the bins were empty, and others had a sad hodgepodge of random toys rolling around in them. It wasn't inviting, and toys were often left all over the place. At first I felt like there were too many bins, and worried that if I filled them all with toys the mess would get worse in my tiny area.

Re-creation of the Sad Toy Area

I started the revamp by taking away about four of the bins. That made me feel like the project was a bit more manageable, and I didn't want more bins than toys. All of the toys here either came from S&S Worldwide or Lakeshore Learning. I was lucky to have some early literacy grant money to use. 

Ooh, shiny labels
Once I had new toys, I made labels for the bins, using both pictures and words. I wanted to promote literacy, and I also hoped it would encourage both parents *and children* to put things away in the proper place, since with the labels it is clear that everything has a proper place rather than a free-for-all.

Not pictured: Two still-empty bins to the right.
I am pleased to report that it works! The majority of the time, toys are picked up and put in the right bins, and I see a lot of awesome creative play happening. I've also been getting lots of appreciative comments from parents. What a difference some labeling can make.

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