Do you ever find yourself completely overwhelmed by the amount of toys your children have? You’re not alone. We try to be mindful about what we bring into our home, but with four kiddos (and my slight addiction for wooden toys) we have quite the collection. We’re fortunate enough to have a separate playroom, but even so, having all of our toys out at once is too much.
And by too much I mean that there’s so much, that my girls struggle to pick out something to play with, which means they end up emptying out everything and never really settling down to play. And while it feels counterintuitive to hide away toys that our kids love, and that oftentimes have cost a lot of money, I find that it promotes better play. And I’ll do just about anything for some good play.
What I like about toy rotations:
I find my older girls are able to navigate a more pared down selection of toys a lot more easily, and often play much more in depth or for longer periods of time because of this. My one year old on the other hand, still empties everything out haha.
Having fewer toys out means that it’s much easier/quicker to tidy up. My children can empty out their entire playroom, and it wouldn't take all day to put it back. In fact I tend to use this as my measure of how many toys we have out. If I find it’s taking more than 10 minutes to tidy up at the end of the day then I see it as time to sort through the playroom and simplify it (because no matter how hard I try, toys creep into the playroom from all round the house).
I personally feel that rotation preserves some of the magic of toys. You know the excitement kids get when they visit a friend and see all the different toys they have? Or the very first day that they play with a new toy? Toy rotation allows you to create the magic of ‘new toys’ without actually having to purchase anything. My girls will often forget about toys that I put away, and are over the moon to see them when I get them back out.
Through toy rotation, our entire collection of toys gets more use than it would otherwise. We have a few staples that I keep out all of the time because they are loved and used daily. However, for some of the less-loved toys, swapping them out means that they actually get played with more. Because my kids tend to opt for the same handful of toys, there will always be things that get forgotten about, but if some of those toys get swapped out, they’ll be more likely to play with the lesser played ones as their previous choices aren’t available.
How we do toy rotations:
I rotate our toys by storing them in a closet upstairs, we’re fortunate enough to have this space, if you don’t you may have to get more creative here. When doing toy rotations you should store toys where your children can’t see them. Take it from me, they’ll want their toys as soon as they see them, ruining your rotation plans.
We leave our large toys (kitchen, doll house) out all of the time, but you could put them into rotation too if you have the space. You could even rotate them through different rooms of the house (kids rooms or playroom etc) if you don’t want to rotate them out of play,I plan to give this a go with our kitchen soon.
I tend to rotate our toys about once a month, sometimes I’ll leave it longer, or I’ll do it sooner if I feel my kids need it. It’s also fun to rotate in seasonal or holiday toys, which again may mean I veer off of the schedule sometimes.
We also rotate books, and it’s a total game changer. We’re a family of book-lovers and our collection is far from minimal. However, I don’t keep them all accessible to the children at all times. I try to rotate them out every week or so. We read together every night, so it’s nice to have a handful of stories on hand to choose from, and by rotating them it ensures we aren’t always reading the same ones. Doing this also provides a great opportunity to sort books by theme or occasion, so I can pull out books that fit the season or holiday. The girls also get really excited about their “new books” which are really old books.
We’re still quite new to toy rotation, so if you have any tips please send them my way!