A few weeks ago, the kids were feeling frustrated about cleaning their assigned rooms (otherwise known as AR to one child because "Don't say the words!!") Somehow in our discussion, I ended up telling them about when Landon was a baby/toddler and we lived in our little duplex. And when it was time to clean up all the toys in the house, they fit neatly into one little basket under the piano.
When Ellie and Owen heard that, their response was something like "Let's do that!"
When we talked about them not having much to play with, Owen quickly responded, "That's okay! We can just play with our family and like with our hands and arms and stuff! Like that slap hands game...!"
I loved this :) And we're thinking we'll try out putting everything/most things away and pulling out a bin or two at a time and keeping everything else in the storage room or guest room or something. We'll see.
Really, the two things most played with (and most mess-making) at our house are magnatiles and paper. (If I walked around the house right now, I suspect I could find at least one magnatile in every room...And no matter how recently we've vacuumed, there are pretty much always paper scraps surrounding the kids craft table in the reading room.) But I'm happy enough with all the good playing from those things that I'd vote to keep them out even if they are messy. (A few kids might disagree though!)
Last weekend, I borrowed a friends Roomba to test it out. Before I ran it in the reading room, I cut up a bunch of paper to scatter all around for it to pick up. Owen was watching me and said "I hope this works because this is my assigned room!"