It seems like toys just appear from thin air when you’ve got young kids. On top of that, everywhere you look there is another MUST HAVE toy for development so the pile keeps growing! The sheer volume can present overwhelming choices to your little one or lead to reduced motivation to work and move towards something because there is always something else to settle for. This is where the concept of toy rotation comes in. By dividing up your toys into small groups and rotating through these groups on a schedule, children can:
- Assess their options and make choices easier
- Are more motivated by the toys
- Are excited all over again when the “new” toys come out!
Now everyone has different methods for executing toy rotation but here is a general guide to instituting this practice in your home!
- Gather all of your toys in one place
- If appropriate – take this time to toss the toys that have missing pieces or are broken. Your pile is smaller already!
- Organize them into sections. How you decide to divide up these sections is entirely up to you.
- Some people will just make several small piles of toys and that’s it – they’re done with this list. They then just rotate through those piles on a schedule of their choice.
- Others may divide up the toys into piles of like with like and then make their rotating collections by taking 1 or 2 from each of these piles. Examples of like with like include:
- Games and puzzles
- Arts and crafts
- Building toys
- Pretend play
- Motor toys
- Still others will make piles of toys organized by area of development primarily supported (cognitive, fine motor, speech, gross motor, etc.) and then make their rotating collections by choosing 1 or 2 from each of these piles.
- Don’t be afraid to make exceptions. This is not meant to be a hard and fast system or rule. Any system is going to work best when it has the flexibility to be designed for what works for you and your family. If your child has an absolute favorite, must be present toy or two – leave those out through all of the rotations.
- Create your schedule. Again whatever works for you! You can make it a regular thing every couple of weeks or bi-monthly etc. or you can just keep an eye when your kids seem bored with the selection and rotate it then.
Your kids are never too young to start this process. Babies as young as a few months old will gravitate towards a toy that they hadn’t seen before! It keeps toys fresh for you and your little one and increases motivation! Good luck!