We have a 9 year old daughter and 2 year old son. When our daughter was younger, I remember her having soooooo many toys and feeling overwhelmed with the amount we were continually adding to. My way of coping was to buy more shelves, boxes and baskets to hold all of the loot so that she could still have access to it. As nice as that sounds, it didn’t really work because she just had too much and it completely overwhelmed her. She wouldn’t really play with stuff for more than a few minutes and it seemed more fun to dump it out and move onto the next basket. Honestly, that’s not very fun to clean up.
Last year, when our son also started to accumulated a hoard of toys, which he wasn’t really playing with, I knew that we needed some sort of system to keep things interesting. And that is when I came across Kim’s post and we started our own toy rotation.
Basically, we rotate all of the toys on a schedule. (Every 2 weeks works best for us!) This seems to keep our son interested in the toys he has and he plays with everything! Woohoo!
To start, we culled all of the toys that were missing parts, broken, or from fast food joints. Then everything else was sorted into groups. Thinking, Moving, and Pretending. Here are some examples of our toys in each of the groups:
Thinking Toys – Latch boards, wooden blocks, puzzles, mega blocks, shape sorters, and stacking toys.
Moving Toys – Ride-on toys, a slide, balls, musical instruments, and a tunnel.
Pretending Toys – Grilling set, train set, food toys, dress up clothes, a tool set, stuffed animals.
We have a few baskets we keep on a shelf in the corner of our living room that hold toys with multiple pieces and parts, as well as books, which we also rotate.
Then, the shelf is filled with other toys. I typically try to have 3 toys, from each of the groups listed above, out for him to play with.
As you can see, a lot of the moving type toys and dress up clothes won’t fit on the shelf, so we have those in another corner of the room. In addition to these, there are a few items that are always out and not rotated which include balls (you can see our DIY ball basket here,) a grill, a doll house and a chalkboard. We also have a few items that come out more sporadically, such as art supplies, play dough, a marble game, and a tent. The rest of the toys are stored away, out of sight, until it is their turn for rotation.
Using a toy rotation has been absolutely wonderful for us. EVERYTHING gets played with and we have found that all of the toys are used for longer periods of time. Plus, clean up is a breeze! And when you have a busy toddler, having something go smoothly is always welcome.
Do you implement a toy rotation or know someone who does? Are their methods similar to ours or do they do something entirely different? If you are struggling with a surplus of toys that don’t get played with, give the toy rotation a try and let us know how it works out for you!