Have you heard of Toy Rotation? Ever considered giving it a go? We think it is a great way to help you and your family Make Time Together!
What is Toy Rotation?
Put simply, Toy Rotation is when you replace your kids' toys on a scheduled plan. For example, you may choose to switch out the toys every two weeks. To some this may seem a little bizarre. Trust us, there's a method to the madness!
How can Toy Rotation save your sanity?
Can swapping toys out really make that much difference? It certainly can! As parents, we all know how incredibly frustrating it is to constantly be spending our time tidying up after our kids. If you think about it, the more toys that kids have access to, the more toys there will be to tidy up. When kids are faced with ten choices they will likely feel overwhelmed and flitter between items. Give them just two or three choices, and they will be more focused and less likely to just pick up and drop the toys without actually playing with them.
Narrowing down the choice will also affect how your kids play. By limiting the toys on display, your children will be more likely to carefully select what they want to play with, and actually play with it purposefully. When children are challenged to be creative you will be amazed at what they produce. Toy Rotation is healthy for their development, as well as their imagination.
Due to the fact that you are spending less time tidying up, and your kids are engaged in more purposeful play, you are likely to find that you as a family have better play experiences. The quality of time spent will be more beneficial to all family members, and there will be no need to leave ten minutes for clearing up at the end.
How do I include Toy Rotation in our home?
Are you still reading and thinking 'yup, this is for us!?' Here are five simple steps to make this a reality in your home:
1. Sort - possibly the most daunting stage, but also the most important. Gather all of your kids' toys and do an initial sweep to discard of toys that are incomplete or no-longer played with. You may also like to make a small pile of toys that you want to always be left out for play- e.g. LEGO, puzzles, Magnatiles, etc. This stage is important in that it should help you to weed out the toys which simply just don't get played with.
2. Group - group your toys into categories. We'd recommend categories along the lines of 'Thinking Toys' (e.g. puzzles, board games, workbooks etc.), 'Moving Toys' (toy vehicles, indoor sports equipment, physical games etc.), and 'Role Play Toys' (eg. action figures, LEGO, dolls, play food etc.). Don't stress too much about these categories, just go with your gut.
3. Prepare - now from these three categories, prepare your weekly toy baskets. Place a few toys from each category into each basket. You can use anything really to store the toys in for each week, but we do recommend keeping things organized in order to help make the Toy Rotation successful. You may choose to make four baskets and rotate them every two weeks. Or maybe it will suit your kids better to have six baskets that are rotated on a weekly basis. Make sure you store the baskets not being used out of sight and reach of your kids.
4. Monitor - as you embark on your new play journey, it will be important for you to monitor how the Toy Rotation is working out. Are the kids playing purposefully with all of the toys in each basket? Do you need more of certain types of toys? Are your kids getting bored of the baskets too quickly? These are all reasonable questions to ask, so make sure you are aware of how the Toy Rotation is affecting your kids' play. Although less is more when it comes to creative play, it is important not to go to the extreme where your kids end up under-stimulated.
5. Adjust - don't simply rely on sticking to the same rotation plan for the next year. Display the toys in a fresh and exciting way for each rotation. Or add a new material to the mix that works well with the toys in that weekly basket. Maybe one week add some books that are relevant to the toys in the basket, or engage in a relevant art project. Just try to keep things as inviting as possible.
Sounds pretty simple right? Well it is! Sure it takes a bit of time to set up but once the initial sorting is done, you'll be amazed at how much easier it is to manage your kids' toys! Even more importantly, you'll be so impressed with the quality of play that your child is engaging in. Best of all, you'll spend less time cleaning up, and more quality time together.
Creative QT designs quality + innovative toys that declutter homes and inspire creative play. Founded by parents of five, Adam and Dana Sue Hinkle, Creative QT’s vision is to empower parents and encourage a culture of families that Make Time Together. All products are designed to enrich families’ lives through active, creative play and play based learning. Creative QT products are laboratory tested for compliance with CPSC requirements and are free of lead, cadmium and phthalates so you can play with confidence. So, go ahead … today is the day: be your kid’s hero.
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