Are the toys taking over? Do you feel like it's a daily battle of cleaning up toys, most of which your child doesn't even play with?
If so, decluttering is the most obvious choice of finding freedom amongst the sea of plastic junk, but toy rotation is the key to keeping playtime at a manageable level within your home. So, what is it?
It is a strategy of dividing your toys into separate groups and only allowing access to one group at a time. Sounds simple, right?
It actually is, and the benefits of toy rotation are endless. It saves money, reduces clean up time, allows for more meaningful play, broadens their creativity, and sparks their imagination.
What’s not to love about it?
If you are thinking of setting up this system in your home, here’s what you need to know:
- It couldn't be easier. Gather ALL of their toys into one room. It may seem overwhelming initially, but you need to see first hand what you are dealing with and chances are, it's a lot.
- When they are in bed (for obvious reasons), go through the toys one by one and see what's broken or missing pieces, and chuck it all out. Be ruthless. Say goodbye to the tatty Happy Meals toys and the likes that serve no purpose in your home.
- Now you need to pair the toys into different groups from games and puzzles, building toys like Lego and blocks, books, social play toys such as dolls, motor skill toys, and so on. It sounds endless, but I promise you, the end result will be worth it.
- Next, you need to look at the different categories and think hard about what your child plays with. If they have twenty teddies, do they really play with them all? Attack the toys again, and put aside what you know they no longer have interest in.
- Box up those toys and find another home for them by selling them or giving them to your local charity shop or community Freecycle group on social media. As they say, one man's junk is another man's treasure.
- This is the easy bit. Now you need to create your toy rotation boxes using three or four large plastic containers. Pick a select few toys from each of the above categories and spread them across the different boxes and make sure it is a good variation.
- Next up, you need to put the in-rotation toys on display instead of storing them away in toy baskets and bins. Keep them in full view, so they know what is available to play with at all times.
- Finally, create a rotation schedule. Decide whether you want to swap the boxes fortnightly, monthly or somewhere in between. Alternatively, you can do the wait and see approach, and pull out a box when your child shows signs of boredom.
It's that simple, and it works. Also, it will save you an absolute fortune long term. Just think about the number of times they ask or beg for a new toy. Now you can rotate their toys, and it will feel like Christmas every few weeks.