Toy rotations seem to be the popular thing for maintaining your kids’ rooms but what exactly is a toy rotation, why is it so popular, and if it’s right for you, how do you do it? Here is my take on toy rotations and a few tips I use to make it easier!

What is Toy Rotation?

Toy rotation is a method of managing your kid’s toys by regularly swapping out some toys for others. Basically, you give your child a few different categories of toys, for example; cars, legos, and Nerf guns, and after a set time frame, maybe a week or whenever your child seems to have lost interest, you tuck those toys away and bring out different toys, perhaps the train set, dinosaurs, and kinetic sand.

Not only does this limit the number of toys in your child’s room, making it easier to clean each day, but it also gives the perception that your child is getting new toys regularly and will make them more interested in those toys. There are few worse things that happen in your child’s room than toys being forgotten and unplayed with in a corner or under the bed.

What are the Benefits of Toy Rotation?
  1. Rotating out your kid’s toys keeps things fresh and exciting for them and the toys hold their attention longer.
  2. It helps a child develop a greater appreciation for their toys by allowing them to rediscover old toys time and time again.
  3. Toy rotation manages clutter by keeping toys that aren’t in the rotation tucked away.
  4. It can help reduce sibling conflicts by giving each child a chance to play with specific toys that they may not want to share.
How to Manage a Toy Rotation

I recommend starting with a great purge! You never know what little bits of junk your kid has collected until you deep-dive into the crevasses of their room. Be ruthless, Mama. Throw away the birthday swag bag junk and the broken crayons and even the set that is missing pieces. Chances are, your kid won’t miss it.

Once you’ve purged and thrown out the unnecessary clutter and junk, choose a storage system and start to organize toys into sets. We love these plastic shoe boxes because they are clear, they are a manageable size, and they are stackable. We organize by type – cars, airplanes, blocks, Legos, dinos, animals, Star Wars, superheroes, etc. We then group those sets into categories – building would include blocks and Legos, vehicles would be cars and planes, creatures would be animals and dinosaurs, etc.

When all the toys are sorted into their boxes, decide on a variety of toys to keep in their room. I like to keep some from each different category. If we keep out the cars, we put the trains away. We leave out dinosaurs but not the zoo animals. The Legos will stay but the Erector set will go. Never keep more than the child can manage to clean in one evening.

Don’t forget to rotate the stuffies too!

As for the toys that are going away, decide on a place out of sight and out of the way to keep them. I stack the boxes high in the closet or put bigger loose toys in a larger container in the closet.

When to Rotate Toys

You can choose to rotate toys on a schedule such as every Monday or every two weeks. Alternatively, you can watch and see which toys your kid plays with often and which ones don’t get as much love. Swap the ones they don’t play with for something different in the same category. You can also involve your child if they are old enough. When they are bored with their train, they can ask to swap the train for something new. One set of toys comes in, one goes out.

If you notice that after three trips to your kid’s room, a particular toy is not being given much attention, it’s a sign your child has outgrown that toy. Put it away for a younger sibling or donate it to a local daycare.

If you notice that a child has not asked for or played with a toy in months, it’s time for that toy to go. Don’t make a scene, just make the toy disappear entirely. It’s easier that way. If they ask about it later down the line, be honest. Say something like, “You didn’t play with it anymore so I gave it to a kid who really loves it!”

When to Start a Toy Rotation

Toy rotations are not just for older kids. Babies like the fresh variety too! I recommend starting on day one with a toy rotation. Keep one teether, one rattle, one puzzle, and one stuffy. Switch them out as your baby grows and learns new things.

If your child already has a room full of toys and you want to jump into a toy rotation, it’s best to do so before a big gifting season like Christmas or birthdays! You can choose to do the purge and sort while your child is at school or grandma’s house. They’ll love the feeling of walking into a clean and organized room. Everything will feel brand new to them!

Happy rotating, Mama!

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