I feel like every mom talks about toy rotations. Either about how they have everything so perfectly organized and rotate toys every week with a sensory activity and all wooden toys, etc. Or, you get the mom who is so overwhelmed by toy rotations and feels like a failure of a mom for the lack there of. Well, I’m here today to meet you where you are at. I’m not perfect with toy rotations. I don’t have it all figured out. I don’t buy new toys super often for my kids, but I’m doing my best with what I have. And I’m proud of that. And you should be proud of yourself too.
So why are toy rotations even a thing?
If all your child’s toys are accessible to them at all times, they will easily get bored. Other things around the home will become their toys. Things will become more chaotic. In giving your child a couple toys each week (or 2 weeks) and then changing them out, they will really get the use out of those toys and forget about them until they’re back in rotation.
They might find a new way to explore and play with that toy that they wouldn’t have had the time to discover if they had all their toys out and just bounced between toys all day.
Now, it had been about 3 weeks since I had rotated the toys and I could tell my son was getting bored with a handful of the toys. He gravitated towards only 1 or 2 of the things laid out for him and so I knew we needed something fresh to keep his attention for longer.
It doesn’t have to be as complicated as it may sound. For me, I keep out all my son’s books at all times & I rotate the 4 toys on the top half of the shelf (see pics below).
I search through all his toys for just something new and engaging! Sometimes I make a theme out of his toys (like all music related) and other weeks it’s completely random, but it takes me no more than 15 minutes.
I have some baskets & trays accessible in his closet to help sort/lay out the toys if needed.
Also, 95% of my son’s toys are USED. You do not need to be a billionaire to have nice toys for your children. I do try to gravitate towards more sturdy/wooden toys, but that is not necessary.
Example of a Rotation
Here are some pictures of the overview of my son’s room and then I’ll explain each toy and the purpose of it.
Let’s start from the top left. Here I have a basket of instruments. My son is obsessed with instruments. From the time he was itty bitty he gravitated towards drum sets wherever we were. Here, he can be creative to hit the instruments however he likes and he may not use them in the way they were intended, but that’s okay!
The next toy in this week’s rotation is… well, not sure exactly what to call it. There are 4 wooden pegs and a hammer to get them to go down. And when one goes down, the one across from it comes up! This is great for hand-eye coordination and every boy loves to hit things haha.
The following toy is another basket but this basket is filled with various wooden blocks! Some have pictures, others have numbers or letters. He has learned how to make towers & of course, like any toddler, loves knocking them over and going, “OHHHHH!!”
The last toy on the shelf is this stack of rings. When I first introduced this toy to him about 2 months ago, I was shocked when he instantly knew how to stack the rings. We love saying, “yay!” after he does one and then he begins clapping for himself. He will spend 10 minutes or more just sitting there working at getting these on; I can tell he’s really focused. This is also teaching him patience and precision. I also love guiding him towards being independent and being able to play on his own.
These are the 4 spots I rotate toys constantly in his room, but there are also a couple spots in his room with “bigger” toys that I swap out occasionally as well. Here are the two bigger toys he has this week.
I have seen amazing progress with him and his bike. He received it as a gift for his first birthday and I could tell he wasn’t quite ready for it so we waited about 2 months and then we brought it out and put it together for him. He began by walking around with it but not on it. He didn’t understand how to steer it and if he tried to get on it, he always ended up toppled over on the floor. Now, at 16 months old, he steers and rides it all around the house. He’s learned to go backwards on it and goes for this toy often!
This is an example of how I do toy rotations in our house. I do keep smaller toys always accessible to him in our living room since that’s where we as a family hang out a lot, but these toys on his shelf rotate every 1-2 weeks. Seeing the joy on his face when he sees “new” toys makes my day.
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