I’m a huge fan of unstructured play for kiddos: play that involves lots of imagination and little adult direction. And since too many choices paralyze kids (and adults), we rotate our daughter’s toys so her imagination isn’t stunted by too much stuff.
It’s not that our kiddo has so many toys we can’t fit them in our house. We are very judicious about what and how much we buy her. Even so, the toys pile up.
So every month or so, usually during nap time, I take her current toys and swap them out with other toys we keep in the garage. Here are some benefits we’ve noticed with rotating toys:
- It’s like Christmas every month. When the new toys come out, her face lights up at seeing toys she hasn’t played with in a while.
- She’s more content. When too many toys creep into the house, our kiddo runs from option to option, not knowing what to focus on. She may even decide that nothing is worth playing with. When there are fewer toys, she takes the time to sit down and contentedly play with what’s before her.
- She uses her imagination more. Duplo blocks become towers and boats and swimming pools. A towel becomes a dress or a hat or a place to dance.
- There are always “fresh” toys for special occasions such as traveling.
Interested in rotating toys in your home? Here are some tips:
- Keep a few specially treasured items always available. Don’t rotate out your son’s favorite stuffed animal or your daughter’s must-have puzzle. If your child is asking for it on a regular basis, it’s probably something to keep out all the time.
- Find a length of time that works for you. Perhaps it’d be easier to swap out toys once a week or every two weeks. Whatever helps your family the most. We do about once a month or whenever mom is going crazy and thinks swapping out toys might give her a break. But I digress.
- If you’re concerned about your child’s reaction to this concept, rotate toys in and out during nap time and don’t let her know where your you keep the extra toys.
- Vary the type of toys you have out. With each rotation I try to keep out one toy that has little pieces, a toy that encourages lots of movement (like her music box she dances to), etc.
Do you rotate your child’s toys? Any benefits or tips to add?