One of the many first things I learnt as a new mother was how quickly the house could 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 knew it, what was once a tidy, organised home, had 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. Have you felt this too, my friend?
7 STEPS to create a simple Toy Rotation
1. CHOOSE A LOCATION
I recommend choosing one area to begin with and an area where your learners 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 babies, toddlers and preschoolers).
3. SORT THE TOYS
Categorise and declutter the toys as you sort. (I love using the traditional keep, donate and toss pile system and Project 14). 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, rattles, wooden toys, vehicles, animal figurines, puzzles, posting boxes, soft 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, playroom or living area), provide easy and safe access for your little learners and a colour palette ( that invites your child to participate and enjoy the rotation. Our favourites are Trofast frames and tubs, colourful flexitubs and cube storage with boxes/baskets (low line).
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 system. Labels can be photos, words or a mix of both (whichever meets the needs of the users best).
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 and skills based rotation on a weekly basis. Our toys are rotated at the end of the week on a Friday. 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.
I hope these seven steps inspire you to create a toy rotation system and provide you with many opportunities to celebratePLAY with your little ones.
To learn more about Toy Rotation and be inspired by what other PLAYmates are doing, join our celebratePLAY Private FB group.