"Kids! It's time to fold the toys!" Every parent should be conscious of what you're bringing into your home for your kids to play with, but if you live in a small home the size of a toy can be a deal breaker. Mostly, I limit the sheer number of toys we have but another strategy I employ is to look for toys that store easily. Does it fold up to a smaller size? Can I tuck it in the closet or on top of our wardrobe? Suddenly a tricycle in a small apartment seems feasible.
• Based on looks alone I'd consider the Tori Rocking Horse ($100) even if it didn't fold up. Bonus that it's made from end-of-life rubberwood.
• Hoohobber also offers a selection of folding rocking horses ($50).
• I see kids scooting around on their bikes all over my Brooklyn neighborhood and I think to myself, "Where do they keep them?" I don't have the answer, but for young kids on trikes, Radio Flyer has a Fold 2 Go ($50) trike in red or pink.
• Even more than bikes, scooters reign supreme on the streets of Brooklyn and I think it's fairly certain that my son will ask for one on his next birthday. I'll be checking out Razor's folding Kiddie Kick ($40) and Radio Flyer's My First Scooter ($40, folding) when the time comes.
• For winter use, the Fropper ($59, shown above) looks like a great toddler alternative to a bike. Both the wheels and handlebars fold for storage.
Tents & Tunnels
• I feel like every friend's home I've visited this winter has a play tent erected in the living room, including my own. I have the Ikea Koja Tent ($10) and while it does take a few minutes to set up, it folds up easily and can get tucked in a closet.
• A play space we frequent has a foldable tunnel (Ikea's Speja, $20) which is a big hit with the kids.
GigaTent which has a wide selection of tents and tunnels for both indoor and outdoor use.
• Of course we all know that a sheet or blanket to make a table or couch fort is the simplest and least expensive idea. Or you could try Fortamajig for extra help.
• I previously rounded up small play kitchens and perhaps the smallest is the
Alex Wooden Cook Top Playstove ($40). Only 16" x 13" x 13", the cooktop folds down so it's easier to fit on a shelf or in a closet. You could also make your own like our reader who made a pint-size one out of a shoebox.
• Melissa & Doug have a selection of "Fold & Go" toys including a dollhouse, barn, stable, castle and treehouse (around $50 each).
• The Lancaster Shop also sells a beautiful, high-quality folding barn and dollhouse (with carrying handles) for $95.
• ferm LIVING's folding dollhouse ($46) lets you live out your fantasy of wallpapering your entire home and also "folds in seconds."
• Many readers have made their own folding or slotted dollhouses out of cardboard which is the most creative route you can go.
• Of course your kids can draw or paint on a table rather than having a dedicated easel, but if art is an activity they spend a lot of time on it may be worth getting one. Most easels these days fold making them a natural choice for small homes. Tuck it in that weird space next to your fridge. Ikea's Mala easel is cheap ($15) but best for older kids and too tall for toddlers. Consider a height adjustable easel for longevity like this one by Jonti Craft or this one ($57) by Fundamentals ($70).
GigaTent Toss It Pop Up Game
• Finally, I wanted to share a game I bought for my son last summer, the Toss It Pop Up ($36). It arrives in a bag equivalent to an oversized frisbee and pops open to become a tossing game. The game has a design flaw in that the balls often end up at the bottom and have to be fished out, but it has provided hours of fun for my active son. We use it both indoors and out.