The surprising wonders of toy rotation

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s August 2017 issue. Never miss an issue, check out SFM’s digital editions, here article by Hannah Luedt photo by Jana Graham Photography Toy rotation is a fabulous tool to combat boredom, increase novelty, and help keep your child’s massive amount of toys and play items well organized. By implementing toy rotation, you can help encourage stimulation of your child’s mind and initiation of learning experiences through play with toys they currently have. Here are some helpful steps to get you started:

Step 1 - Preoccupy the kids.

Full disclosure, this is the hardest step. For the next 30 minutes, you will appreciate no interruptions.

Step 2 - Make a mess.

Find every toy and pile them up in the middle of the room. (Your mantra during this process is: It's gotta get worse before it can get better.) Make sure you check under beds and sofas, inside closets, and search high and low.

Step 3 - The purge.

In case you were unsure why your children couldn’t be around to help, this step explains why. Broken toys are out and toys that are not age-appropriate get their own pile to be thrown out, stored for a younger sibling, donated, or marked for a garage sale. There may even be toys you don’t appreciate. You know, the ones that eat batteries or are extremely noisy. Now is your chance to gather those into their own pile to be brought out occasionally or disposed of altogether.

Step 4 – Ready, set, sort.

Start with four storage tubs and the toys remaining after the purge. Here’s a tip: don’t just grab toys and start filling the tubs; the toys need to be classified. For example, if you gather all the action figures into their own pile and then divide evenly into the four tubs, it ensures each tub has a good variety of toys. Toy rotation won’t be nearly as successful if all of the toys are the same in one tub or missing some favorites.

Step 5 - Store the tubs.

Your best option here is to place the tubs of toys where the children cannot get into them. If your child does find them two things can likely happen; they will either open all the tubs and your hard work will be undone, or you will have to hear about how their favorite toy (the one they just have to have before they can even think about taking a bath) is in that tub in your closet.

Step 6 - Toy rotation.

There will be four tubs, one for each week of the month. If switching them once a week is too frequent, you can certainly adjust the timeline to fit your schedule. Each time you switch out the tubs, throw away any broken toys and add in any new toys the child may have obtained during that time. For bigger occasions, such as birthdays and Christmas where several toys are acquired at once, divide the new toys into all four tubs so that all the newer items do not end up in one tub. Don’t worry about your child not getting to immediately play with some of the toys before you place them in a tub. That will be a great surprise when it’s time to bring out the next tub. Bonus Step - During Step 4, prepare three, one-gallon sized bags with a variety of smaller toys. These are perfect for keeping in the car to play with, and for waiting at doctor’s offices or restaurants. Every few weeks, swap out the bags. about the author...Hannah and her husband, Derik, are new parents to a happy and talkative son Cole. As a family of three, they intend on keeping the adventures coming along with their dogs Toby and Sam.