Does all the toy clutter make you wonder how to organize toddler toys? Have you considered a toy rotation?
In this post, I will cover what is a toy rotation, how to maintain a successful toy rotation and why you should consider rotating toys.
WHAT IS A TOY ROTATION?
Toy rotation is the system of rotating toys from an existing toy collection every week or few weeks so as to maintain the novelty of existing toys and encourage more creativity in play.
WHY MAINTAIN A TOY ROTATION?
1. Minimize the clutter of toys
Any toddler parent can attest to the toy jungle that is left behind every day as the toddler waddles through his toys.
The toddler picks up a toy, plays for 5 mins then moves on to the next. Before you know it your living area looks like it was hit by a typhoon!
And toy clutter isn’t just a problem in families with multiple kids and lots of toys.
Little kids have very short attention spans and need to use their hands constantly. This automatically leads to a messy play area full of toys.
Toy rotation can be a start to using a few select toys daily in various ways so as to minimize the clutter.
When you minimize the number of toys, the child now has to learn how to use whatever he has in the most creative ways.
One big benefit we experienced with toy rotation is newfound creativity. Our son comes up with new ways to play with the same toys each day and gets good use of his toys.
3. Learn the value of things
When implemented at an early age, children learn the value of things.
A toy rotation has given us the opportunity to talk about caring for our things and why we repair and reuse what we can rather than throw away and discard.
You will notice how the child learns to care for his toys and books.
4. Great for small spaces
If you live in a small space you may not have a room in the house that’s dedicated as a playroom. You may have a small nook in the house or the living room itself may double up as a play area for the children.
A toy rotation system can save space and help organize the toys better.
Okay, so how do you go about starting a toy rotation? read on
TOY ROTATION TIPS
1. How to maintain a toy rotation?
This is what we do in our home. Every 1-2 week we rotate toys. We choose 5 toys at a time. I choose the toys such that we can cover educational skills, motor skills, pretend play aspects each week.
For example, each toy rotation will include 1. Musical Toy/Pretend play toy
1-2 Educational toys
1-2 Fine motor skill development toys
2. What about the non-negotiable toys?
There are some toys that are a “must play with everyday” type of toys. Over a period of time, I realized these are my son’s non-negotiables. This was actually the reason why our first attempt at toy rotation was a fail because there are some toys he just wanted around him all the time.
Once I realized my mistake I made these toys a central feature of the play area. Now he is comfortable rotating the other toys.
Non-negotiable toys in our home are building blocks, our Hape play kitchen and his car collection. We recently setup dedicated toy storage just for these in his play area so that these toys are permanently kept outside for him to access.
Your child too may have some toys he loves and needs to have around every day; it’s okay to exclude these toys from the rotation.
Remember, every child is different, that means that this may/may not be an issue at all for your child, but with a little trial and error and you will figure out what system works for your family.
It is also a great idea to keep a tiny basket with toys or books in different nooks of the house. I usually choose spots where I spend a lot of time in the house with our son.
There is one box of toys and books close to my workstation. This box gets refreshed every 3-6 weeks. Depending on the size of your house you can decide which spots to add extra toy boxes to.
3. Toy storage and organization
I personally feel storage bins are a great option over toy cupboards because you can move the toys around the house.
We have a storage unit from Ikea for the non- negotiable toys I mentioned above and I place the 5 toys of the week on the top shelf of the unit.
The rest of the toys go into storage boxes that are tucked away in cupboards.
Best toy storage boxes: These are amazing storage boxes for smaller spaces. We have used similar styles in the past to store toys.
Our current toy storage system includes
When the child grows out of the existing toys you can donate, resell or put the toys away in the storage for future children. This way the toys that are in rotation are the ones that are apt for the current developmental age.
4. At what age can a toy rotation be started?
Honestly, it depends on the size of the current toy stash. Our son had a very minimal toy stash until he was about 2 years old. All his toys fit in one box so I didn’t feel the need to start rotating the toys. Also, when he was a baby he didn’t need many toys to stay engaged he used spoons and plates from the kitchen on most days.
Once he entered the two’s we slowly started adding new toys to meet certain developmental needs and his new interests. And as time went on we accumulated a lot of toys as gifts from family and friends.
That’s when I knew I couldn’t deal with the toy clutter anymore; our son was not even playing with most of the toys in his play area.
A toy rotation system made the toys more visible to him and he now has an organized space to play in.
5. How to handle birthdays with new toys coming in?
When you get too many toys for birthdays, store them away and introduce a new toy on occasions when you want to mix it up within your current toy rotation.
If you feel your child already has too many toys, talk to your guests about a no gift option.
I know sending out a wish list of toys to the guest list is still a controversial topic. Many people consider this rude behavior and many others think it’s a great idea.
Personally, I’d rather buy from a registry than gift something I am not sure if the person appreciates. There is no need to think of what to buy, no repeat presents plus you save money knowing well that your gift will get used.
But ultimately the decision to run a gift registry or not depends on the type of family relationships you have.
I would never make such requests if I were not sure how the other person would feel about it. I’d rather say no gifts.
Here are some more toy-related posts for you;
To sum it up,
A toy rotation is a great way to get more value from existing toys.
Do you run a toy rotation system in your home? Do leave us with your toy rotation tips in the comments below.