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Our Top Tips for Starting a Toy Rotation

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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.

A playroom shelf after a toy rotation.

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.

Blocks and other wooden toys in the current toy rotation on a playroom shelf.
Take stock and categorize your toys. This step not only helps your storage stay organized but makes choosing a new set of toys easier. Keeping your child's developmental stage in mind, select an item from each category that engages their attention and imagination. Those might include building blocks, vehicles, house play, dolls, or art supplies.
Maple Landmark Train and Grimm's wooden rainbow on a toy shelf.
Allow your children to explore and play with this pared-down collection for a few weeks. Watch how they use the toys and adjust from there. Add or remove an item as needed. When boredom sets in, you can pull out an old favorite for the afternoon or curate a whole new toy selection.
Haba Shakin' Eggs in a jar on the toy shelf.

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.

Tender Leaf Toys Sunny Family on a toy shelf.

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!

Uncle Goose Blocks in a basket in a toy rotation.

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!


We hope these tips kick off a great season of meaningful play for your family. Which toys will you select for your next toy rotation? Share your toy shelf with us on social media by using the hashtag #OompaToys!

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