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Is your living room filled with random toys everywhere? Do your kids pull out every single toy they own, just to play with only one or two of them? Maybe you should try toy rotation.
There is no right or wrong way when it comes to toy rotation, but with the simple 5 step guide at the bottom, you will be able to have a great start!
But first, let’s talk about the concept.
What is toy rotation?
Toy Rotation is actually a very simple concept. You display only part of your childrens’ toys. The rest of their toys will be stored so you can switch the toys at a later time. You rotate between their toys every once in a while (more on how often you should rotate later).
Why should you start rotating your kids’ toys?
- It will encourage your children to be more creative and use their imagination
- It will make cleaning your house way easier!
- It’s cheaper. They will have ‘new toys’ every week, without spending a dime!
How often should you rotate?
This honestly depends on you and your child’s preference. The best thing to do is observe your children and pay attention to when they seem to get bored with their toys. As soon as you see that kick in, it’s time to rotate. Typically people that use toy rotation will do either of these three;
Daily: Switching the toys every day is obviously more time consuming, but it can make it very exciting for the child. You could choose to do specific themed days. Building on Monday for example.
Weekly: This is the approach we use. Every Monday our children can choose 4 categories in toys. They can also choose to switch up just one thing. Whatever they decide to choose will stay in the living room area for a week.
Every other week: Essentially the same idea as weekly. The benefit of this can be that children will play longer with certain items. Plus, they can become bored. Is that a benefit? Yes it is! Because when a child gets bored, he/she has to be creative. They might start using the blocks as food, or create cars out of magnetic tiles.
The 5 steps to get started
I love to observe our children before I start decluttering their toys. Why would I suggest doing this as a first step? You will get a much better view of what toys your children will love. It also helps to determine how you will categorise them (more on that in step 3). Observing is always the best way to start!
Once you have watched you children and know what they like; start decluttering. Get rid of extra bits and pieces, incomplete toys and broken toys. Make sure you only have toys that both you and your children want to keep. You can hold on to the Train set just because it was expensive, but if they haven’t touched it in two years you’ll be better off selling it or bringing it to a second hand store and let another child enjoy it. Same goes for toys you really don’t want your children to play with. Did they receive a toy gun from a neighbour but you don’t agree with guns before a specific age? Then toss it.
You can do this in different ways, but I would suggest going either by type or by theme.
If they only play with the cars of the Lego set, then you can decide to organise by type (all cars in one box). Do they love to play with the farm animals? Then you might choose to add all farm animals together, including Lego, wood etc.
You can also decide to purposefully change it up. So every 6 months you switch to either one. I think it would be a great idea because your children will have a whole other experience with the Lego set when it is categorised by type instead of themes. And in 6 months they will have ‘new Legos’ because you categorised it differently.
A few suggestions:
Type: Wooden toys, Puzzles, Magnetic Tiles, Vehicles, Sensory play, Sorting/Counting, etc.
Theme: Farm, dinosaurs, Jungle, construction, based on the Unit study your using for homeschooling, etc.
- Pick a number of categories you’ll display
Decide on how many toys you want to keep in the living room or play area. You can always switch this up and it depends on the number of children you have.
We currently have 4 toy categories in our living room. We have 4 boxes that can store the different categories in our living room so it works perfectly for now. We have 2 children that can choose which items they want to keep, so they both get to pick 2 each week.
- Start rotating & evaluate
Once you have all of this set up, it’s time to start rotating!
As soon as you have started your toy rotation, make sure you observe well (yes, again!). Pay attention to what your child is doing and tweak your schedule as needed. Do you notice your child has had enough of a toy after two days instead of two weeks. Then you can decide to rotate it after one week instead of two.
Did you notice the box with wooden blocks never gets picked to go in the living room? Then do not hesitate to donate the blocks. If your children don’t want to play with it, then that’s okay!
- Less is more. Don’t feel like you need to display a lot of things! Children can be very creative when they only have a few toys. Challenge them to create new things instead of adding more toys to the collection. Open-ended toys are the best toys to spark more creativity.
- Try to have categories displayed that work well together. For example, the Way to play road, cars and little figures. They work well together and your child can create different set-ups with these things.
- Don’t overthink it. Just start and change things up if you need to along the way.