Toy Rotation: What, why and how!

Toy rotation

What is it?

Toy Rotation in its simplest form, is having a set amount of toys out for your child to play with, whilst storing away the rest of their toys which can then be brought out and rotated in. The idea behind rotating toys is that having a smaller yet more balanced selection of toys allows children to focus better and play more independently. This happens as they’re less overwhelmed and overstimulated by seeing lots of toys out on display.

It also means that when ‘new’ toys are introduced to the rotation, it's more fun and exciting for them! They may even play with them in new and different ways that they hadn’t before.

Why should I try it?

With many of our children owning 100’s of toys "the average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 on a daily basis" - Yikes! Our children are just overwhelmed and overstimulated with the number of toys they are able to see and play with. Toy rotation is a great way to get your kids playing more creatively, independently and for longer periods of time. It also helps them have clearer mental and physical spaces! (plus less mess and clutter in the house, and tidying away can be part of the play!)

How do I do it?

There are no strict rules for toy rotation, but here are our tips and tricks! 

Firstly its great to have some form of storage and labelling system. Stackable crates are a great idea and help to keep everything nice and tidy.

1. Donate, Recycle, Get Rid!

Pull out all their toys into one space and have a real good sort through of them. Chances are they'll be a lot of toys that simply don't get play with anymore as they've grown out of them or they've seen better days! 

Sort them into piles of KEEP, DONATE, GET RID 

Toys to keep are ones that they love and play with (and ones you may want to hold on for future kids/family members), Donate any toys that are still in good condition that will be well loved in a new home and get rid/recycle any toys that are broken or in an unusable condition.

2. Sort the keepers!

So now you should just have a pile of toys that you want to keep! Now it's time to categorise them into toy types! Once you've established your categories those toys can then go into separate boxes/storage.

It's great to have a wide variety of toys (creative, thinking, role-play and moving toys are a great place to start)

3) Rotation time!

Now pick 2-3 toys from each of the categories and these can go into one rotation box or be placed in reach in their bedroom or playroom.

You should end up with 8-12 toys that your child can play with at any one time.

You can then put these toys back and change them for others from your category boxes when you want to rotate their toys. Some people like to do this weekly but it's entirely up to you.

4) Out of sight!

It's quite important that the toys that aren't in rotation can't be found/accessed by your little ones as this can distract them from the toys you've already put out for them. Out of sight out of mind is the best way for storing the toys that aren't in rotation.

5) Rotating?

So you're unsure how often to rotate? That's fine, some parents stick to a weekly schedule some longer. It really depends on your routines and time. But every week is a good place to start.

Our tips!

  • have the toys in easy reach for your child
  • make tidying away part of play
  • don't let it stress you! - just do what's best for you and your child
  • storage boxes and organisers will be your best friends!
  • Start rotating early so your child becomes familiar with the process
  • Don't worry too much about Large toys or loose parts play toys - these toys tend to rotate themselves with how your child interacts with them

Happy Rotating!

Laura Davies is the founder of the The Kid Collective, the ultimate shopping destination for toys that support learning through play. Everything is consciously selected with the benefits of play in mind, ensuring that each toy inspires growth in children, for today and tomorrow. When it comes to play, we know what matters.

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