Does this sound familiar? Throughout the day our son would leave a tornado of destruction by pulling all of his toys out and not ever really playing with any of them. Toys were piled in a heap, and bins were repeatedly dumped. I didn’t know what to do with all of them, and wanted him to be able to enjoy them all.
Enter, Toy Rotation!
Never heard of it? It’s the concept of only having a limited amount of toys readily available, packing up the rest, and then rotating them on a regular basis.
If you know me, or have read any of my posts, you know that clutter drives me to my brink! We have a modest condo, so minimizing the “stuff” we have is key. I try to limit grandparents in how many toys they buy, because really, how much does one kid need?
With so many gracious and giving friends and family members, our toys have really added up.
I have started reading a book, “Simplicity Parenting” Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids By Kim John Payne, M.ED. While I have not got too far into it, the basic premise is that too much stuff, too many toys, and too many choices can cause children to become anxious and even become diagnosed with behavioral problems.
Decreasing clutter will increase your child’s attention and ability for deep play. A mountain of toys can be overwhelming and stressful, even as adults. That makes sense, don’t you think?
There are many ways to rotate toys, and a quick Pinterest search will help you narrow down a solution that will work for you. You can be as simple or as complex as you like, here is what I did.
The Steps are as follows:
- Start by clearing out any toys that are broken, missing pieces or that are not age appropriate. You can donate those that you don’t need/want anymore.
- Sort your toys, I sorted them by similarities (wooden toys, musical toys, building toys etc)
- Find/Buy Bins, I had conveniently kept some from our last move, Three 10 Gallon totes, so I brought them up from the garage, this isn’t a magic number, it was just how many I had on hand, and fit all of our toys.
- Divide up the toys that you previously sorted equally among the bins
- Label the bins and decide how often you want to rotate them, for us, we switch about every 2-3 weeks, or whenever he appears to be bored with the toys that he has.
Some other tips:
- This helps me clean and disinfect toys too, they are cleaned before being put back in a bin.
- I can go through the new bin coming up for any toys that he has outgrown and easily pull them out.
- It’s so much easier to clean up, reorganize and match up the toys at the end of the day.
- Try trading with a friend, then you get completely new toys, and save some money too.
- Even on birthdays and Christmas we divide up the new toys and they go in bins, they don’t get all the new toys at once, they will be just as fun to open a second time around
- Finally, find a sturdy and attractive way to display the toys, with fun bins or baskets. We got this shelf to help with giving him his own space to play and be creative.
There are some toys that stay out all the time, usually bigger items. Books also always stay out, although I do similarly rotate them between the nursery and the play area.
We have found that this system really works for us, for now. He gets excited about the new bin of toys that come up. He actually plays with the toys, and uses them in creative new ways, without getting overwhelmed. It’s fun, for us, to see the progression of how he didn’t know how to use some toys, but now he does. It has also helped with teaching him to put them away when he is done, instead of leaving a scattered trail through the living room. Toy rotation has eliminated the mess and clutter, and each toy has its own place on a shelf. Plus, I think it will be great for when we decide to add another little one to the picture.