My sons birthday falls within a month of Christmas which means that by the end of the year our house looked like a toy store had vomited all over it. There was stuff everywhere. So much stuff that my son just wasn’t playing with it as he was knocking it over, stacking it up and generally making a mess.
So I decided that he must be as overwhelmed by all these toys as I was. And that’s when I started a toy rotation. I looked up a few things on Pinterest about starting one mostly because I wanted to see if there was a way to soften the blow of all the missing toys that he wasn’t playing with.
Reasons for starting a toy rotation
- Your child isn’t playing with his toys instead they are just making a mess (dumping out toys, stacking them and knocking them down).
- There is not enough space in your play area.
- Your child seems overwhelmed.
And honestly all the stuff on Pinterest was a bit overwhelming to me. Organize toys by activity, by developmental stages, by motor skills and what not. And a lot of what I read involved me buying additional stuff like storage bins and the last thing I needed was more stuff.
One afternoon while Jack was napping I divided and conquered the toys. And when Jack woke up he barely noticed that stuff was missing. There were a few toys he missed but he only asked about them a couple times and after a day or two forgot they were gone. But the best part was that with less toys in the playroom he actually played with his toys more and for a longer amount of time.
Tips for Starting a Toy Rotation
- Find a time to do it when your child is not around. Nap time or bedtime is a great time to do it.
- Find a place to keep the toys out of sight. Out of sight really is out of mind. A couple of sites I read suggested putting them on a high shelf or covering with a sheet. While this might work with a younger kid, my son is 3 and would find the toys. So I put them in a closet in the basement.
- Don’t get rid of a favorite. Jack had asked for the Imaginext Monster’s University toy for Christmas and was deemed his favorite gift, so this toy stayed on for the first rotation.
- If it’s hard to move don’t move it. I wasn’t hauling the play kitchen or the train table down to the basement. To me those are like the furniture in the playroom, so they stay.
- One messy toy per rotation. The Lincoln logs and the large building blocks are regulated to the basement until either a long day when we need a new activity or till the next rotation. We kept the Lego’s out, I can only deal with so many toys that can be dumped.
- Do it with every toy in the room. I separated the books, the cars and puzzles so that every few weeks there is something new. I did leave all of his action figures because he plays with those every day.
- Don’t go overboard. You don’t want you kid waking up wondering where all the toys have gone.
Now that we have a toy rotation Jack plays with a wide variety of toys. Stuff that he would have just tossed on the floor now gets played with regularly. He also plays alone with the toys for a lot longer than he did when the all the toys were available.Yesterday we started a new rotation and while Jack did miss some of his favorites they were quickly forgotten when he saw that some old friends had returned.
Do you do a toy rotation? How do you manage all your toy related clutter?