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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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