Today and over the coming days; we are going to start organising toys.
As a parent, you know that toys have the ability to grow seemingly out of nowhere. Unlike Kate at An Everyday Story, I do not have my toys culled and organised. I have a loose system but I haven’t got on top of it since the end of last year. So, I’m doing this with you!
With our list from last week, we know which toys are best to keep out at this rotation. Let’s move onto the others.
What to look for in a toy
Chances are, several of your child’s favourite play things are not toys at all. Untoys, like bags, containers, loose parts, kitchen items, etc. are brilliant and should be factored into play spaces.
The best play materials (toys) are open-ended and are only limited to your child’s imagination. This includes blocks, legos, play silks, loose parts, and other untoys. The play that is created from open-ended toys is creative, beautiful and meaningful.
Why rotate toys?
- Clean up is easier – both for the children, and yourself
- Less toys = less clutter. Less clutter means increased meaningful, involved and creative play and discovery.
- Increases interest. Children will view toys with renewed interest when the next toy rotation occurs. Aside from novelty, new play ideas and refreshed interest leads to better creative play.
- Overstimulation is easier to avoid. Lots of toys can often lead to too much stimulation and consequently to disruptive play or no play at all. You can avoid this with a rotation system.
- More engagement. Being more mindful and observant of which toys and how many toys are displayed will make a huge difference on the length of time your children will play with their toys.
- Increased lifespan of toys. Both in terms of wear & tear and focused play. Therefore, you can buy less toys and less often.
You won’t rotate all of your toys. Some, like the open-ended toys described above, can be kept out while other toys are rotated depending on your child’s interests. Because of this, it’s great to keep toys stored according to themes.
There’s no hard and fast rule on how many toys to keep out. It depends on the age of your kids, the space you have and your family.
Similarly, there is no toy rotation storage system that is one-size-fits-all. This is entirely dependent on your family – how many children you have, their ages, their interests and your spaces.
Some ideas include storing items by their use (i.e. fine motor toys), by theme (i.e. animals) or by their function (i.e. light table toys). This will depend on how your child plays and will require you to think and test what works for you.
- Sort through all the toys and identify which toys are going to be kept, donated or trashed.
- Trash all broken toys and any of those cheap plastic toys that somehow make their way into the mix.
- Put aside sentimental toys and chose the toys to donate: include toys that have been outgrown and those which haven’t been played with for some time.
- Organise plastic containers (clear so you can view what’s inside) and sort all the toys that won’t be out in this rotation.
- Put these containers out of site and set a date for next rotation.
Remember to continue observing your children’s play in between rotations so that you have an idea of what to bring out and put away.
This is going to be a BIG job here at the Racheous household. I know it may be for you too. But I’m here, holding your hand and guiding you through it. We know why and how, so let’s do this!
I will be!
Best of luck!