Have you heard of toy rotation? Ever consider giving it a go? We think it is a great way to help you and your family make time together!
What is toy rotation?
Put simply, toy rotation is when you replace your kids’ toys on a scheduled plan. For example, you may switch out the toys every two weeks. To some, this may seem a little bizarre. But trust us. There’s a method to the madness!
How can toy rotation save your sanity?
Can swapping toys out make that much difference? It certainly can! As parents, we all know how frustrating it is to spend time tidying up after our kids constantly. If you think about it, the more toys kids access, the more toys there will be to tidy up. When kids are faced with ten choices, they will likely feel overwhelmed and flitter between items. Give them two or three options, and they will be more focused and less likely to pick up and drop the toys without actually playing with them.
Narrowing down the choice will also affect how your kids play. By limiting the toys on display, your children will be more likely to carefully select what they want to play with and play with it purposefully. When children are challenged to be creative, you will be amazed at what they produce. Toy rotation is healthy for their development, as well as their imagination.
Because you are spending less time tidying up and your kids are engaged in more purposeful play, you are likely to find that your family has better play experiences. The quality of time spent will be more beneficial to all family members, and there will be no need to leave ten minutes for cleaning up at the end.
How do I include toy rotation in our home?
Are you still reading and thinking, “Yup, this is for us!”? Here are five simple steps to make this a reality in your home:
Possibly the most daunting stage but also the most important. Gather all of your kids’ toys and do an initial sweep to discard toys that are incomplete or no longer played with. You may also like to make a small pile of toys that you always want to be left out for play, e.g., LEGO, puzzles, Magnatiles, etc. This stage is essential in that it should help you to weed out the toys that simply just don’t get played with.
Group your toys into categories. We’d recommend categories along the lines of “Thinking Toys” (puzzles, board games, workbooks), “Moving Toys” (toy vehicles, indoor sports equipment, physical games), and “Role Play Toys” (action figures, LEGO, dolls, play food). Don’t stress too much about these categories; go with your gut.
Here are 5 simple steps to use toy rotation in your home, saving both time and sanity for your family!
Now, from these three categories, prepare your weekly toy baskets. Place a few toys from each category into each basket. You can use just about anything to store the toys in for each week, but we do recommend keeping things organized to help make the toy rotation successful. You may choose to make four baskets and rotate them every two weeks. Or maybe it will suit your kids better to have six baskets that are rotated every week. Ensure you store the baskets not being used out of sight and reach of your kids.
As you embark on your new play journey, it will be important for you to monitor how the toy rotation is working out. Are the kids playing purposefully with all of the toys in each basket? Do you need more of certain types of toys? Are your kids getting bored of the baskets too quickly? These are all reasonable questions to ask, so make sure you are aware of how the toy rotation is affecting your kids’ play. Although less is more when it comes to creative play, it is important not to go to the extreme where your kids end up under-stimulated.
Don’t simply rely on sticking to the same rotation plan for the next year. Display the toys in a fresh and exciting way for each rotation. Or add new material to the mix that works well with the toys in that weekly basket. Maybe one week add some books relevant to the toys in the basket, or engage in a related art project. Just try to keep things as inviting as possible.
Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, it is! Sure, it takes some time to set up, but once the initial sorting is done, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to manage your kids’ toys! More importantly, you’ll be so impressed with the quality of play that your child is engaging in. Best of all, you’ll spend less time cleaning up, and more quality time together.
Want more ideas on how to have better quality time with your family?
Check out Creative QT. They’ve created practical yet inspired tools to help families have more meaningful moments together.
Through learning, storage, and organization-based kid’s toys, they help you spend less time managing stuff and more time making memories, engaging budding imaginations, and encouraging active independent play and a growing sense of responsibility. They help you control the chaos—and even look past it to embrace its creators.
You’ll love this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: These Strategies Will Help You Raise Great Kids – 063