What is toy rotation?
Toy rotation is simply the act of swapping your child’s toys over on a regular basis, and has been shown to improve your child’s playtime experience, reduce their boredom, and make them use their imagination more. As a parent, the chances are you’ve questioned the number of toys your child has, or said some of the following things:
Our children have too many toys.
We have to get rid of some of these toys.
Our living room is a playroom!
I can’t keep cleaning this room all the time.
Why are you bored when you have so many toys to play with?
The last question is a key talking point and addressing this first will go a long way to fixing all the other gripes. Children who have too many toys out at once will get bored easily and be overstimulated. This is because they take everything out, play for a bit, and then they’re done after 10 minutes. It’s at this point that they generally ask for tv, or a tablet, or have a tantrum. There’s a simple reason for this, having too many toys stops them from using their own imagination! Here’s the thing though, the more they use their imagination, the more time they are likely to play for. So how can we help them do this? For us, a weekly toy rotation has been the answer, and this is what we do:
Weekly toy rotations help to keep your child stimulated
Most of my daughter’s toys are in a wooden toy box, or in our spare room. Every week I pick a number of toys for her to play with and I put them on her special toy shelves in our living room. Each shelf has a certain amount of toys, for example, the top shelf has puzzles and games, the middle shelf dressing up, and the bottom shelf has cars and trains. The following week I will put those toys back in the spare room and choose fresh toys; the top shelf Peppa Pig toys, the middle shelf will be for learning letters and numbers, and the bottom shelf for her Play-Doh. This generally happens once a week every week, but there might be adjustments here and there, such as on days when she is ill. On these occasions, I will take out a few more toys or change them twice a week since she is at home playing all day.
Won’t my child get bored with so few toys?
This is a common argument that I have heard so many times yet the opposite is actually true. With fewer toys to play with your child will spend more time using their imagination to create stories and games. Of course, you can expect there may be an adjustment period when you implement toy rotation, but trust me when I say it’s worth it! Every time I do a toy rotation my little girl will spend hours playing with toys she hasn’t seen for weeks. In fact, even without intentional toy rotation, you will no doubt have witnessed your child do just that many times in the past, suddenly find an old toy and end up playing with it for hours on end! It’s almost like they have a brand-new toy, or have bumped into a long-lost friend!
Try choosing a weekly theme for your child’s toy rotation
You can make things a bit more interesting by choosing a theme for each week’s toy rotation. For example, at Halloween, you might want to put out all Halloween-related toys and activities. Or how about Vehicles Week where you can display cars, trains, and airplanes? The choices are endless such as colour week, numbers week, Valentine’s Day week, cartoon week, and so on! There are plenty of crossover themes to be had too, so you can feel free to mix and match all the above to your heart’s content. The more creative you can be with toy selection, the more fun it can be for everyone!
Of course, some toys are always left out, such as the wooden kitchen, market stall, ride-on toys, slide, and books.
Involve your child in the process
Involving your child in the toy rotation can become a fun thing in itself. My daughter certainly looks forward to it, often asking when we can do a toy rotation, and then becoming excited when the time comes. Give your child options for the theme or toys they want to play with. Encourage them to play with their old toys but in different ways. For us, this is just another parent/child activity and bonding experience.
Here is the first rotation I did for my eldest when she was 1 year old.
Benefits of toy rotation
If the above hasn’t convinced you to give it a try, let us have a quick recap of the benefits of rotating your child’s toys on a regular basis.
- A cleaner and more organised home
- Your child will use their imagination more
- Avoids overstimulation
- Reduces boredom
- Keeps things new
- Saves parents money as the toys they haven’t seen for a long time become new!
- Clean-up is faster
Give it a try, and of course, we’d love to hear the results so feel free to drop us a line, or even better tag us on Instagram!