Play time is a great time to start building relationships with kids and show them how much fun you can have together. However, it can turn into chaos when toys are misused. That’s why we have Toys With a Purpose. When you know how to use them, they can make Play time your favorite time.
What are Toys With a Purpose?
Toys With a Purpose are rotating sets of toys included as a part of the Early Childhood curriculum. They are toys chosen on purpose to meet the needs of your kids.
Toys With a Purpose Categories
Toys With a Purpose are broken up into four categories: animals, fine motor, vehicles, and building.
- Animals—The toys with an orange label on their bin are animal-themed.
- Fine Motor—The toys with a red label on their bin help kids build up their fine motor skills.
- Vehicles—The toys with a purple label on their bin are toys that are vehicle-themed.
- Building—The toys with a yellow label on their bin are about building and stacking.
- Bonus Category—Every room also has a drawing table where kids can draw and color together! The drawing table does not rotate, so it’s available to use every week.
Each week, there will be one bin of toys from each category on your toy cart. The toys rotate every week to keep them interesting!
Why do we use Toys With a Purpose?
- Toys With a Purpose help leaders lead small. The toys are easily shared so you can play with your kids and build friendships with them before small group time begins.
- Toys With a Purpose help kids. The carefully selected toys are easy to play with. This helps kids feel comfortable and have fun. Kids stay interested because of the different toy categories and the way they rotate every week.
- Toys With a Purpose help your room run well. They keep kids interested, engaged, and grab their attention quickly. All of this is especially helpful for calming kids with separation anxiety.
Tips for Using Toys With a Purpose Well
Now that you understand what Toys With a Purpose are and why we use them, here are a few helpful tips for using them well.
- Create centers. Positioning the toys in specific stations around the room helps with organization and helps kids not to get rowdy in the room.
- Explore together. Walking around the room with a kid to see the different toys is an opportunity to calm nerves and begin a relationship.
- Use the labels. At Clean Up time, you can help kids look at the labels on the bins. That way, they can put the toys away in the right bins.
- Distract and calm kids. The bright colors and fun options help kids get excited about being in the room and helps distract them from any nervousness they may be feeling.
- Play with the kids. This way, your first interaction with kids is showing them how much fun you can have together!
Thank you for taking the time to learn about Toys With a Purpose and for showing up to share God’s love with the kids who enter your room!
Talk through these discussion questions with your fellow leaders and LifeKids team.
- Of the five tips, which one do you think will be the easiest for you to use in your room?
- Of the five tips, which one do you think will be the most challenging to get started with? How can you partner with your coach or LifeKids Pastor to overcome this challenge?
- What other benefits do you think Toys With a Purpose have for the kids in your room?
- How do you think using Toys With a Purpose can help you partner with parents?
A special thank you to Orange and the reThink Group for their ideas and research on their “lead small” philosophy referenced in this guide.