Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Toy Rotation

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On Becoming Preschoolwise says that one of the important factors in getting ready for kindergarten is developing focusing skills. One way to do this is to "Keep his toys developmentally stimulating and challenging" (page 121). The authors then go on to suggest toy rotation in order to accomplish this.

The basic idea of toy rotation is that you use some method to put toys out of reach for a few weeks or months. You then pull them out and put other toys away. This keeps toys new and fresh and interesting for the child. 

I am guessing some of  you are here hoping to see some amazing toy rotation system I have come up with. I am sorry to tell you I have not done so. What I do is so simple.

I am what you call a "macro" cleaner. This means my number one priority in cleaning is surfaces are clutter free. If I have to choose between a drawer being clean and the counter being clean, the counter wins every time. I do have great value for the drawer being clean, too, but counter trumps. 

This is also true in my childrens' rooms. I like toys to be cleaned up and put away. 

We have cupboards, drawers, and closets that hold toys. My husband is big into totes for organization, so we use a lot of totes to hold toys. So all of the Little People accessories are in one tote. All of the action figurines are in one tote. All of Kaitlyns My Little Ponies are in one tote. I also have one tote in each child's room that is for "random" toys that we don't have a lot of.

So our toys are pretty well out of sight unless you go looking for them (you know, other than the train table, kitchen, doll house, etc.)

Then the trick is for me to get out different toys every so often for them to play with. With the toddlers, I get out the toys for independent play, so I rotate what I get out. With older kids, I let them choose, but if I see a toy has been forgotten about, I will pull it out for a nice "suggestion" (aren't I such a mom?). 

We also have most of our toys in Brayden's room since he has the most storage. So I will pull toys from his room to put in the girls' rooms every so often and take toys out of the girls' rooms and put in his room. 

There are lots of ways you can do rotations. You can get totes and group toys in totes, put totes somewhere in storage, then only get out one tote at a time. You can do bins. You can do bags. You can do large buckets. 

Please share the toy rotation system you use, or the system you have found and would like to use! 

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10 comments:

Erika said...

I LOVE toy rotation. I rotate all toys: solo play, books, free play, kitchen, bath - everything, usually once a week for my 25 month old and have been doing this for about a year. I keep toys in bins in her closet and then every Thursday I rotate them. Thursdays is b/c I go to a play date with another BW mom and we do a toy swap as her daughter is 2 months older than mine. That is another awesome way to keep toys new and interesting; it also helps b/c if her daughter has a toy that mine loves, I don't have to run out and buy it - it will come around again in toy swap!

Erika said...

Oh, one more thing, I have been rotating my 7 month old's toys about every 2 weeks or so - I figure she doesn't get bored as quickly, just so long as the toy can be put in her mouth she is happy with it!

Melissa M said...

My twins will be two in July. Every few months, I sit down with all of their toys and divide them into three groups. I try to divide them so each group has a similar mix of toys -- e.g. gross motor skills, fine motor skills, alphabet toys, toys with wheels, dolls, animals, shape sorters, music makers, puzzles etc.

Each Sunday night (or sometimes I let two weeks go by if we're busy), I put out one group of toys in their play room (where they have independent play), one group is completely put away, and one group is half put-away and half out on the upstairs landing/loft (where they play first thing the morning while we're all getting up, last thing at night before bed, etc).

There are some toys -- their favorites that get lots of attention every day -- that I don't rotate, like their doll stroller, their ball pool, their little cars, and some of their stuffed animals. We also don't rotate books, because I don't feel like they get bored with them in the same way they do with their toys.

Mrs. Haid said...

This would be an excellent post for photos, too! :o)

Trevino Family said...

After reading your post, I felt inspired. I went out and bought three plastic baskets into which to sort my little girls' toys (she's 12 months old). I started by piling ALL of her toys into her play pen, rolling it to the dining room and placing the three baskets on the table. Then I spent the next half hour or so dividing the toys into thirds. For her books, I just divided them into two little containers: the ones she can play with by herself (i.e. ones of cardboard, fabric or plastic) or ones that need Mommy's supervision (i.e. "normal" paper paged books).

My plan is to leave one in the playpen for independent play time, one in the living room for daily use, and one put away in a cupboard. The books she can play with solo are in a basket on the floor of her room so she has "free" access to them. I think I'll rotate the toys every Saturday.

I'm still trying to figure out what rotation would work best: the toys that were in independent playtime come to daily use, then put away? Or independent playtime toys get put away to be replaced by the toys that were out for daily use? Any thoughts on what might be best (if it matters at all)?

And, yes, all her toys fit into three 12" x 18" plastic baskets! Yeah for living overseas and NOT having a lot of "fluff" :)

Rebecca said...

Great Idea! I should do this!

Plowmanators said...

Thanks everyone for your added great ideas!

I love the idea of the toy swap.

Plowmanators said...

Trevino Family,

I would move the toys that have been put away into her independent playtime toys. They will be very interesting to her. I think that is the best place to keep things very interesting :)

Rochelle said...

Val, Can you tell me more about your actual toy storage and what sort of "totes" you have. I'm trying to visualize. A picture would be awesome. :)

Plowmanators said...

Rochelle, click on the "organization" blog label and see the post " toy store". Let me know if that doesn't answer it.

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