A good way to control all children's toys that have little pieces to them, or puzzles (to keep the pieces from migrating under the furniture) is to put a large bath towel on the floor and tell them they must play on the towel and keep the pieces on the towel until they are finished with that game, puzzle or toy. Children like boundaries.
Also, if you want a larger area for the children to work on in your home—for projects involving paints or glue or play dough, for instance—purchase a vinyl picnic table tablecloth and just plop it down over your coffee table every time you want them to be free to play without worrying about it getting all over your furniture.
In managing your children, staying ahead of them with wholesome activities is one of the finest ways. Our Training Terrific Tots booklet / eBook is chock full of ideas to that end. It gives you a plan for using special boxes to manage all of the things your children play with. Each box contains the stuff for one type of preschooler activity. Don't think you have to actually do everything that’s described. The booklet may trigger your own ideas, or make you aware of many activities that you might not have considered before. The purpose of that booklet is to ease your load as a mother of young, not to burden you. One method for doing the boxes, if you want to fully implement the use of them, is to ask both grandmothers if they ever want to help you fill the boxes; over time one grandmother gets the things for 25 boxes, the other for the other 25.
Also, in relation to larger "stuff" for open-ended activities for your children (like playing an instrument), you might want to read our booklet about training your child to master a musical instrument, as it will show you where you might be headed with a young child’s musical experiences after working through our Quick Piano course.
By the way (having mentioned play dough), here’s a recipe for Wonderful Home-made Old Fashioned Play Dough:
2 C boiling water
Add: 6 cups flour
3/4 cup salt
10 tsp. cream of tartar
4 T oil (use the mildest-smelling vegetable oil you can find)
Store in yogurt containers in the frig—do not store in plastic bags—the chemistry of gallon plastic bags breaks down the dough
Use inexpensive white flour, cheap salt, and cheap oil
Dough feels marvelous to the touch—super smooth—not sticky.
Watch your children/grandchildren love to play with this stuff. ‘Taint no play dough like it available in any Walmart.