Where did all of these toys come from? It's a question most parents ask ourselves as we navigate a floor littered with more toys than we can count. Each developmental stage and new interest comes with an influx of playthings. Birthdays and other holiday gifts add up, and before we know it, our toyboxes are overflowing, and playtime feels more chaotic than productive.
Don't worry; there’s a solution! Studies show that children's play quality is greatly improved when there are fewer toys at their disposal. It may seem counterproductive, but putting away half of the toy collection could be what sparks the most meaningful and creative play. Here are some of our top tips on incorporating a toy rotation in your home.
Starting a Toy Rotation
When you begin a toy rotation, your primary goal is to reduce clutter and the overwhelming number of choices available to your child. Consider your space and where you will store the toys that aren't in the rotation. A spare closet or totes under the bed are great places to tuck your extra toys away.
Displaying Your Toys
Remember the saying: out of sight, out of mind. When you're doing a toy rotation, you should place your selection on an open shelf. Doing so allows the children to see everything available and creates an invitation for their imaginations to take off. Since there are fewer options, it's not overwhelming and even easier to keep tidy. If children of varying ages share your play space, keep the youngest child’s toys on the lower, most accessible level.
Keep the Favorites
There are no rules to a toy rotation. After a few months of this method, you'll begin to see which items hold your child's attention the longest, what combinations encourage creative play and which toys never get old. Keep your tried and true favorites in play. If their dump truck is their go-to, don't rotate it out just for the sake of starting fresh. Instead, see how they incorporate it into play with the other materials you've chosen!
While it may seem like a lot of effort, the payoff is well worth it. Better, more engaged independent play will flourish under the right conditions. Toys that used to sit, ignored at the bottom of a bin, will be exciting again when they show up in a new toy rotation. It will also simplify the cleanup process. Everyone in the family can help keep your play space tidy by putting each item back in its designated spot on the shelf. Win, win!