What’s a Toy Rotation and Why You Need to be Doing It

How often have you purchased a cool toy, only for your little one to be bored with it in less than a week? It’s happened too many times to count in our household. If you’ve experienced this, you should probably start a toy rotation.

When we made our baby registry toys were absent from the list. My first-time-mom brain thought “Does a young child actually need toys? Aren’t they just naturally amazed by the simplicities of life?” 🙈 Fast-forward a few Christmases, birthdays, random impulse buys, and other gifts, and Camille could easily stock a small toy-store. At some point, I got sick of coming home, day-after-day, to toys scattered everywhere. After I read the gospel of Marie Kondo, I was ready to throw it ALL away. Before I could amass enough donation boxes for Cam’s toys, I came across the idea of a toy rotation. The skies parted and just like that, Cam’s toys were saved.  

Every few weeks, while Camille is asleep, Jo and I go through her stash and exchange her toys with some “new ones.” When Camille wakes up to a new set of toys she is super excited. We tried having Camille to help choose toys that she wanted in the rotation and it just felt like a battle where she just wanted to select everything. I don’t advise doing it this way.  

 

Why You Should Start a Toy Rotation 

There are many reasons why you should start a toy rotation.  Let’s get into it.

  • The one reason that sold me into having a toy rotation is that it results in fewer toys to manage. If your kid is anything like mine, in order for her to properly play with her toys, she has to dump it all out. Having access to fewer toys means less to manage and clean-up. If you still need convincing, read on.
  • Another really solid reason for having a toy rotation is that when kids have something that they don’t have access to all the time, there is a deeper engagement with the toy when they do have access to it. They tend to be more invested in stuff that’s not there all the time. It’s normal human behavior.
  • Finally, one more reason to have a toy rotation is that with less play, the longevity of the toys is extended. If you have kids who inherit toys from older siblings, there’s a better chance that the toys will be in better condition if they aren’t played with all the time.  

 

How to Get a Toy Rotation Going

In order to get a toy rotation going, you really just need two things – toys and a storage container. At any given time, our little one has access to about a fourth of all of her toys. She plays with these toys for a few weeks while the rest of the toys take a break in the storage container. It’s a super simple system.

 

We generally break the toys up into a few categories. 

  • Toys that encourage make-believe such as dolls, dress-up costumes, and a play kitchen
  • Toys that encourage movement such as balls, bikes, and balancing toys 
  • And toys that encourage cognitive development such as Montessori toys, STEM toys, and building toys.  

 

We try to keep an equal amount of these various types of toys in rotation. One thing that we’ve learned is that it’s totally okay to make exceptions. Camille has a pretend doctor set that she truly uses every day. She will come up with any and every pretend booboo just so she can play doctor, so this set stays in the toy rotation no matter what. 

We rotate Camille’s toys every 4-6 weeks, but you can do this as frequently as you’d like. However frequently you choose to rotate,  just try to keep the interval of rotating similar. Be sure to hide the toys that are not in the current rotation. We do the same thing with Camille’s books. She has quite the library so in order to keep it manageable we rotate her books. 

You can make your toy rotation as simple or complex as you like. My cousin has seasonal toy rotation boxes that she pulls out at particular times. If you are wondering what a seasonal bin is, think of a summer bin with water toys or outdoor toys.

Be sure to let me know how this idea pans out for you!  

 

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