One of the many first things learnt as a new mother is how quickly the house can become cluttered with toys. Toys, toys and more toys – scattered across floors, stored in every nook and cranny of storage spaces, in prams, in bassinets/cots, in car seats, in nappy bags, on benches, lounges and tables – you name it – there is a toy! And before you know it, what once was a tidy, organised home, has fast become nothing short of resembling a toy shop, and a messy one at that, which often leads to feelings of disorganisation and toy overwhelm.
Today I am going to share 7 EASY STEPS TO GET YOU STARTED ON CREATING A TOY ROTATION in your home.
1. CHOOSE A LOCATION
I recommend choosing one area to begin with and an area where your baby plays the most. Once you have an effective system you may decide to venture into creating a toy rotation system in other spaces within the home.
2. COLLECT ALL THE TOYS
Take a look at what toys you have and what toy you want to include in a toy rotation (toys you don’t mind seeing on the floor and are safe on the floor with your baby).
3. SORT THE TOYS
Categorise and declutter the toys as you sort. (I love using KonMari and the traditional keep, donate and toss piles). This link explains KonMari and the inspiration to begin your KonMari journey now. Deciding what toys to keep can sometimes be tricky. I prefer to use toys that are versatile, durable, fun and foster higher order thinking (problem solving, decision making and creative and critical thinking). Some toy examples are: blocks, Little People, rattles, vehicles, animals, puzzles, open/close and up/down toys, posting boxes, soft toys, handmade toys, musical instruments and books.
4. ORGANISE THE TOYS
There are lots of ways to organise toys (colour, size, shape, favourites, alphabetically, age appropriate) but our favourite way is thematic. Eg. Animals, transport, pretend, construction etc.
5. DECIDE ON STORAGE
There are a variety of ways to store toys. Remember “Create a storage system that fits your life” – one that will fit comfortably in the physical environment (nursery or common space), provide easy and safe access for your baby and a colour palette that invites your child to participate and enjoy the rotation. Our favourites are plastic tubs with lids (particularly the Sistema storage tubs with utility trays), colourful flexitubs, and cube storage with boxes/baskets (low line). For more inspiration on how to style a modern nursery be sure to check out The Nursery Collective “Nursery Décor” section.
We currently use three sets of cube storage (one in the common area and the other two in bedrooms) with boxes and labels that match the room decor. Here is the link to the Sistema range we love.
6. PLACE TOYS IN ALLOTTED SPOTS
Once you have finalised the storage of your choice, place toys in their allotted spot. You may choose to label for an extended learning opportunity and convenient packing away. Labels can be photos, words or a mix of both (whichever meets the needs of the users best-we like photos for babies).
7. CHOOSING A ROTATION SYSTEM
There are a few different ways to rotate toys – cyclic, direct swap/substitute, interest based or random. And the frequency could vary from daily, weekly, fortnightly or even monthly. I suggest trying one way and sticking with it if it works and changing it if necessary. What works for us at the moment is a cyclic mixed interest based rotation on a weekly basis. Our toys are rotated at the beginning of each week. Things to remember if you plan on trying a toy rotation: they take time, patience, trial and error to work smoothly. If at first, things aren’t going to plan, take some time to reflect, seek solutions and inspiration online and be persistent whilst recognising the limitations of the users to avoid toy rotation burn out. To read more about avoiding toy rotation burn out click here.
I hope these seven steps inspire you to create a toy rotation system and provide you with many opportunities to celebrate play with your little ones.
If you have an established toy rotation system in your home please share below as there is always something new for us to learn and it is nice to inspire a fellow Mum.