If you’ve EVER been a parent you know this problem.

Toys are everywhere; you have a messy house because of the toy clutter; it’s a daily battle. You can declutter as often as you like, but with each birthday gift or Christmas, there are more toys – to be honest, your baby is so adorable you can’t help but get them a cute toy.

Moms, if this sounds familiar, you’re not alone, and we have a solution to the problem – a toy rotation system.

A study published in the Infant Behavior and Development journal found that the number of toys influenced a toddler’s quality of play. In addition, the results showed that exposing toddlers to fewer toys improved their creativity; they were less distracted and enjoyed playing longer with their toys.

Rotating toys will solve both dilemmas; clutter will reduce, and your toddler will enjoy playing with their toys again. If you are thinking of implementing toy rotation, this article has plenty of ideas and methods to rotate toys.

What Is Toy Rotation And Why Is It Considered A Montessori Technique?

Too many choices can overwhelm your baby, toddler, preschooler, and older kids. The toy rotation method helps solve this problem. It’s simply putting most of the toys away and rotating toys regularly. By giving fewer options, children make toy choices easier, appreciate playthings more, and rediscover new ways to play with old toys.

Remember when you bought new clothes or books and couldn’t decide which to wear or read first because there were so many choices? It’s the same for your toddler and their playthings – fewer options make choosing more manageable.

Many toys today are technically not Montessori toys but Montessori-inspired; they aren’t necessarily the same set of Montessori toys and Montessori materials Dr. Maria Montessorri provided to her students. Likewise, rotating toys complement the Montessori-style home or school because it helps create organized, decluttered spaces. 

13 Reasons Why Rotating Toys Benefits Children And Parents

Benefits Of Toy Rotation For Children

  • Increased creativity when the child finds new ways to repurpose the same toy.
  • Toddlers appreciate their rotation toys more, and they develop a respect for personal things. 
  • Children are less overwhelmed by the smaller selection of toys, which reduces stress.
  •  Kids develop patience as they persevere by playing with the same toy.
  • It’s easier to teach a child to tidy up after play if there are fewer playthings to pack away.
  • Children learn to focus more because there aren’t too many toys and things to divert their attention. 
  • Toddlers become more independent when they learn to entertain themselves by repurposing the same toys. 

Benefits Of Toy Rotation System For Adults

  • Parents save money because they buy fewer gifts and toys.
  • Cleaning is quicker and easier, with fewer toys cluttering the home.
  • Creating and maintaining a minimalist environment is easier because you don’t have to clean up a mess of toys cluttered everywhere.
  • Reduces stress because the house is clean and children are engaged with playthings.
  • Toy rotation is actually an excellent opportunity to remove outgrown toys.
  • Your DIY storage technique doesn’t require spending money on toy storage containers that blend with the room decor. Instead, you can keep the toys in available plastic bins, baskets, boxes, and bags because the toys are stored out of reach and sight of your children.

Toy Rotation Ideas And DIY Strategies

At What Age Do You Start Toy Rotation?

You can start toy rotation as early as when your baby starts crawling; it’s also possible to start a toy rotation system with older kids at school. In addition, the concept of toy rotation works well for adult hobbies and their collection of toys. The primary consideration is when too many toys, books, art supplies, games, or hobby activities accumulate and overwhelm you or your babies.

When that happens, start rotating toys.

If your kids are bored with a room full of toys, it’s a good sign to start as soon as possible with toy rotation to remind them of the novelty of each toy.

Toy rotation is perfect for babies, 1-year-old, and toddler stages, but your child no longer needs effective toy rotation somewhere around six years old. Instead, their interests expand from toys to crafting, reading, and other hobbies. At this stage, you can probably stop toy rotation; it’s the perfect time to transition from toy rotation collections to start rotating books, games, a variety of activities, and hobbies.

How Many Toys Should You Rotate Per Child?

The rule of thumb is 10-12 toys per child, but how many toys also depends on the toy types, the toy’s purpose, the toy rotation frequency, and the number of toys available when you start doing toy rotations. For example, statistics show that a typical ten-year-old owns about 238 toys but has 12 favorites they play with daily.

This study of 3,000 parents showed that children select the same toys probably because too many toys overwhelm them, so they stick with familiar toys. The study also revealed that peer pressure, the latest trends, how complicated the toys are, and their purposes influence their appeal. For example, open-ended toys and timeless toys stay longer in circulation. However, some parents noticed that some toys, like construction kits, could be too complicated for toddlers to play independently.

How Often Should Parents Rotate Toys?

Rotating toys can be as frequent as daily, weekly, every other week, or monthly. It depends on your toddler, the seasons, and your lifestyle. A good indication is whenever your child is bored with their current toys. By keeping a close watch, you’ll soon find a routine that works for you and your kid.

Some common signs that may indicate it is time for rotating toys are when your toddler finds their toys boring, you notice screen time increasing again, or your kid loses interest quickly after they start playing with a specific toy. In addition, when ruling out emotions or sickness, clinging, following you around all the time, or playing with things they shouldn’t, could also be strong indicators to rotate toys. When this happens, before rotating toys, spend a few minutes with your child and their plaything so they can see how to use the toy. Sometimes that’s all they need: a little bit of inspiration or guidance.

Consider the reality of life, make it practical and workable, and if it means rotating less often than you intended, that is also good. Rather start doing toy rotation than give up because it’s another item on the to-do list you don’t have time for or forget to do.

For example, if both parents work, then daily toy rotation isn’t really feasible. Also, children spend more time outdoors during summer, which means less frequent toy rotation for indoor toys, books, stuffed toys, bath toys, and other playthings.

What About Favorite Toys Your Child Plays With Every Day?

If your toddler has a favorite toy they play with every day, don’t put them away; these types of toys are not rotated. Instead, you can add them to the rotation toys system when your child discovers a new interest and favorite toy. Likewise, when they enjoy a specific type of toy, for example, Legos, wooden blocks, or spinning toys, and play with them every day, it’s probably better not to rotate these toys.

Toddler Toy Rotation Categories For Easy Selection Of Toys

 When grouping a collection of toys into categories, selecting different toys on toy rotation day is easier. A simple toy rotation method is to organize and store toy categories in separate containers for toy rotation. Keeping toys in categories makes grabbing a toy from each cardboard storage container simple and quick.

Another way to use rotating toy categories is to make a rotation storage container for each toy rotating cycle. Then, add a toy from each category to the container, and on toy rotation day, replace one box of toys with the next one.

Toy Categories For Toy Rotation Ideas

Building Blocks Sets And Construction Toys

Stacking blocks, building blocks like Legos, bristle blocks, pattern blocks, Lincoln Logs, Megablocks, and nesting cups promote fine motor skills development.

Movement and Activity Toys

Balls, climbing toys, ride-on toys, tricycles, sports equipment, and swings encourage physical activity and exercise. In addition, these type of toys promotes the development of gross motor skills and muscle strength. 

Special Occasion Toy Collections

These rotation toys you separate from their other toys. They are there to take out for special occasions and events like a road trip, the zoo, or beach.

Critical Thinking Toys For Brian Development

Every toy that stimulates brain development is a toy for this rotation category. It includes games (card games and board games), all kinds of puzzles, STEM toys like shape sorters, and other STEM toys that also encourage problem-solving skills and creative thinking. 

Pretend-Play Toy Collections

These toys promote creative play and stimulate your child’s imagination, language skills, social skills, and emotional development. Playthings include stuffed animals, costumes and dress-up clothes, kitchen sets, vehicle sets, and city buildings like police or fire stations. 

Art Supplies and Craft Toys

Children use all kinds of art supplies and equipment for drawing, coloring, writing, and painting. These include pens, pencils, crayons, coloring books, stickers, and fun craft activities using play dough, play sand, or clay.

Musical Toy Collections

All types of musical instruments, from rattles to small pianos, fall into this toy rotation group. 

Rotating Book Collections

Different types of books can inspire a love for reading in a child from an early age. Baby toys often include material books, and then your child progresses to board books, picture books, and chapter books. You can also include activity books, coloring books if you didn’t add them to the art supplies category, puzzle books, and bedtime or napping story books.

DIY Activities For Messy Toy Days

Grouping all those science experiments, DIY activities, and kitchen baking fun in one category helps ensure that household items are always available. You can keep some of these household items in this box of activities or have a list of household supplies at hand.

Different Ways To Rotate Toys

Toy Rotation Day Display

Surprise your child and set up the playroom with the new toys, stuffed animals, and books the night before while they are asleep. Arrange the toys in fun ways as if caught in action. Save time and create toy sets to encourage creativity and imaginative play. For example, place dolls with a tea set or action figures with a similar theme.

This is a great way to engage your preschooler for a few hours in rediscovering toys and books and engaging with these toys. In addition, it gives moms time for cleaning the house, doing chores, or working on the laptop.

Rotating Toys With Friends

If other local moms also rotate toys and playthings, you could set up a toy rotation system to swap and share toys with friends. This way, your preschooler gets access to new toys friends own without parents having to spend money to buy the same toy; rotate them.

When sharing toy rotation with friends, selecting toys and books that won’t get lost with the rest of the child’s toys is best. For example, action figures could blend in easily, making it difficult to identify which toy belongs where but a toy musical instrument is easy to locate. You could also label the toys that are exchanged with neighbors.

Rotation Of Toys For Special Events And Seasons

With this type of toy rotation, it’s best to keep these toys separate from the rest of the toy rotation boxes. These practical toys are allocated for the day’s adventures, and specific toys are taken out before a special event, like going to the beach, the zoo, a road trip, and other fun family adventures. So when your toddler sees these toys, it prepares them for the fun day ahead.

You can use the same principle for holidays and seasonal toy rotation. For example, you might as well include a Christmas toy rotation box with the other Christmas decorations.

Emergency Toy Rotation Box

Sometimes you need your toddler to be quiet and engaged. An emergency toy rotation box is there to use when you need half an hour for a phone call and you need your toddler quiet and occupied. Take out the box and place it in front of your preschooler so, when opening the container, your child can explore the box content and discover toys – old toys become new toys.

Sample Rotation Toys

If your child loves a variety of different type of toys, a sample toy rotation kit could help you remember what categories and type of toys to rotate. Create a sample rotation toys box with an example of each kind of toy; that way, you don’t have to remember what and when to rotate toys.

An alternative to starting a sample rotation toy container is to keep a printable toy rotation kit. Then, instead of boxes of toys, you use a printable toy rotation chart when gathering toy rotation supplies for the next round.

A sample rotation toy box or kit will help tremendously in making up daily toy rotation boxes.

Rotating Toys Strategy – Step By Step Guide

If you don’t know how to go about rotating toys, or you’ve never tried it because you weren’t sure whether the effort is worthwhile, then here is a step-by-step toy rotation strategy guide to get you started. You’ll find it easier to start and maintain than you think if you don’t overcomplicate the process.

Start By Gathering All The Toys In One Place

The first step is the hardest because your frustration level may increase when you see how many toys are hiding in corners, flung on the car’s backseat, backyard, or kitchen. The solution is to remember this is important, and the time you spend gathering all the toys, books, and playthings will be worthwhile – the result will amaze you.

You can start doing toy rotation while toddlers or babies sleep, or you can choose to talk to your preschooler and explain what you plan on doing with the toys. You know your children, so you decide which will work best for them. If you don’t tell them, your child may not remember the toys packed away until they rediscover them, or their memory can nag you each day about where is this or that toy.

What You’ll Need For Starting Toy Rotation System

  • Cleaning supplies to clean shelves as you remove and gather all the toys, books, and bath toys.
  • Storage containers. Toy storage containers can be anything from cardboard boxes to large plastic bins, stackable containers, buckets, baskets, or even old suitcases and bags. Get about 6-10 boxes ready before you start.
  • Also, have tape and paper ready to close and label each toy container. When marked, it’s easier to remember what’s inside the boxes.

Declutter Opportunity, Get Rid Of Messy Toys

Now is the perfect opportunity to declutter and get rid of broken toys, donate, store, and recycle. During the decluttering process, sort toys and playthings into these groups.

Toys For Garbage Or Recycling

Separate toys for recycling and garbage junk. Have a trash bag ready for broken toys you want to throw away, including torn stuffed animals, puzzles with missing pieces, broken crayons, ripped books, books with missing pages, and mismatched toys. You might also want to toss the mismatched baby socks and torn and stained clothes.

Show Kindness And Donate Toys

Now is an excellent opportunity to involve your kids in learning about acts of kindness to others by donating some of their too many toys. Older kids can help choose which toys they want to donate. Use cardboard boxes to take toys your kids have outgrown or haven’t played with in a while to your favorite charity or local shelter. Tape the boxes to transport them safely; it’ll also prevent curious toddlers from opening the boxes.

Save For Later Toys

If you are pregnant or have younger kids, select the baby toys and baby clothes you want to keep for the new baby. Likewise, do the same with toddler toys, including bath toys. In addition, wooden blocks, Legos, construction kits, and timeless toys are perfect for keeping for the new baby girl or boy.

Rotation Toys And Favorite Toys

What is left are toys entering the toy rotation system and your child’s favorite toys they play with every day. Don’t include the latter in the toy rotation system; these toys are automatically on display for your child. So, finally, you are left with rotation toys to sort into categories.

Allocate Space To Play With Rotation Toys

Where are you going to set up the toys for play? It can be the current toy shelf in your child’s bedroom, playroom, or the allocated Montessori toys space, or you can make a new play space for your child. Clean and prepare the toy storage play area and put the favorite toys back where they belong.

Categorize Toys And Pack Away Toys

Use the storage containers to categorize and stash away all rotation toys, not in use. Without complicating things, pack away similar toys and leave one set out for the first rotation cycle. Do the same with stuffed animals and books. For example, if your child has dozens of dinosaurs, stacked building toys, or animal figures, by matching them, you can easily keep one or two for play and the rest stored for future experiences. And if parents are tired of ready the same book over and over at nap time, now is the time to change it for another book.

Storage Ideas For Toy Collections

When you stash the toys away, tape or close the toy storage containers and store them on a top shelf or attic. Put them away so that kids can’t see or reach the containers. You don’t want them to ask for toys because they remember those marked containers are full of their toys.

The amount of storage space will also determine how many rotation toy kits you want to stash. If you live in an apartment, the physical space for storing plastic containers with toys is limited. As a result, you may be donating more toys than initially anticipated. 

Have you used toy rotation before, and if so, what worked for you that you can share with the readers?

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