Oh the post Christmas toy room disaster! You know what I'm talking about. You've unwrapped all the toys and now your child's play space is an overcrowded mess. What's worse, it may seem that your child doesn't really seem to be playing with anything in the room. "You have soooo many toys, why aren't you playing?" you ask. The truth is, less is more when it comes to encouraging play. Offering a handful of toys allows your child to take their time to explore each toy.
Imagine opening your closet door and finding only 4 possible shirts to wear. You will likely be able to select one very quickly versus having 20 different shirt options.
The Montessori method encourages fewer toy options with space in between the objects versus a crowded space overfull of play options.
Rotating the toys you have keeps them fun and fresh for both your kiddos and for you. You'd be surprised how exciting a toy can be if you put it away for a couple of weeks and bring it back out.
Our Guide to Toy Rotation
Toy rotation is simply the practice of bringing toys in and out of the playroom in an attempt to create variety in your children’s playspace. You separate the toys into smaller groups, and have only a portion of them out at a time. When your kids are bored, you switch out the “old” ones and re-introduce the other “new” group, which creates excitement for children similar to opening a new toy.
Toy rotation helps improve focus and concentration and makes the play last longer as kids have less distraction of too many toys. This also allows kids to be more creative in their play, finding new ways to play with the toy.
How Many Toys Should I Have Out?
The Montessori method suggests having 8-10 toys or activities available to a child at any given time. Toys should be facing a child on a low shelf so they are easily accessible to your child and spaced apart, allowing your child to focus on each toy without seeing a lot of clutter.
How Often Should I Rotate Toys?
This will depend on your child. Ideally, you should rotate toys every one to two weeks. Watching how your child is interacting with the toys will give you clues that you should rotate them. If your child is starting to look disinterested or bored with the toys after 5 days, swap them out. Sometimes you may just swap a couple of toys and other times you might want to do a complete refresh.
What Do I Do With All the Toys We Aren't Playing With?
Grab some storage totes or cardboard boxes and store them in a garage, basement or closet. I personally like to theme my toys so I have a bin of Farm toys, Animal Toys, Trucks & Cars, Puzzles, etc.
What About Books?
Books are another great item to rotate. You might want to keep all of your books on your bookshelf so they are at the ready if your child requests a specific book but have only a couple of boosk featured in their play area. Keeping books fresh and new is a great way for your child to practice new vocabulary.