Do you ever look around at your home and just marvel (or shudder) at how the smallest member of your family seems to accumulate the most stuff?! No, just me?
(Feel free to stop here if you've never had that feeling!)
Up until recently, it seemed like everywhere I would turn there were toy cars and animals and Duplos and books and baby dolls and... it was overwhelming, to say the least!
Perhaps even more baffling was how my little one could TOTALLY ignore the floor covered in objects designed for her amusement and instead find great interest in chewing on paper or throwing my picture frames on the floor, or literally ANYTHING but engage with the sea of toys she had just dumped out.
I had been overwhelmed by the "toy takeover" for some time, so in an effort to minimize the clutter AND to keep M more engaged in the toys she has, we have started practicing a daily toy rotation! (*cue angels singing*)
Before I go into the details of how I set ours up, let me just touch on some of the benefits that rotating your kiddo's toys can have for both you AND her...
Now, I am all about play-based learning, so why in the world would I want to reduce the number of toys offered at any given time??
Here are my top 5 reasons:
By reducing the number of toy choices your child has to make, you are...
- ultimately helping reduce her stress.
Did you know that too many choices can lead to overwhelm, stress, and difficulties making decision? This is why your kiddo will sometimes dump EVERYTHING out and then not play with any of it. They're overwhelmed!
- helping your child foster a genuine appreciation for the toys she already has.
We don't notice or value what we see every day as much as those things we only see periodically. Since we've started practicing this, Maddie is EXCITED about her toys again. It's like Christmas each morning.
- creating an environment conducive to sustained attention instead of one where you're child feels the need to be constantly jumping from one thing to the next. SQUIRREL!
No more of that.
- reducing the number of objects to be picked-up at the end of play time each day, AND you're making it easy to clearly see where those toys belong so that your kiddo is better able to help with the clean-up.
- dramatically decreasing the visual clutter in your home.
Visual clutter is a huge source of stress so steps you take to reduce the chaos you see when you walk through the door of your child's room/playroom, the living room, and everywhere else toys tend to end up will help you feel like a calmer and more relaxed parent.
BONUS REASON: A daily toy rotation feels so much easier! #momwin
I set it up ONCE and it's keeping my kiddo's interest.
Also, the vast majority of the toys we own are distributed in 6 boxes so when the daily box (5 for weekdays and 1 for the weekend since we are rarely home anyways) is packed up at night and returned to the storage bench in M's room - our house no longer resembles a toy store.
In fact, it almost looks clean!
Are there still toys out in our house?
Oh absolutely. Our primary play spaces are the living room/kitchen, OUTSIDE, and M's room.
I've kept a few "permanent toys" in each space that she always has access to.
downstairs- her kitchen with dishes and pretend foods, her Duplos, magnadoodle, and a few books all stay out (but tidy in their spaces when not in play)
her room- tent, doll crib and baby doll, unicorn rocker, and a few books on lower shelves are out
For now, this toy rotation is working wonderfully.
Here is how I set it up, in case you'd like to try it too:
- Dumped every single toy my girl owns onto the living room floor (while she was sleeping) and then categorized them. Most of her toys fell into one of these categories...
-water creatures (mostly Dory, Nemo, and Moana)
I also took this as an opportunity to weed out anything that was broken or missing parts.
- Went to Target and spent all the money! Just kidding. Kinda.
I got 6 of the square bins you see in the pics (pink & teal). They were $5 each and they fit perfectly in M's window seat benches. I just distributed the toys by category among them, so each bin has roughly 5-10 toys/books.
- Each morning, after M has eaten breakfast (...because PRIORITIES.), we head upstairs to wash our hands/face, brush our teeth, and get dressed.
Then, we grab our bin for the day and take it down to play. She always gets super excited about this!!
*She just gets the daily bin and the "permanent toys" that I listed above for the day. Nothing else comes out! Like I said... easy clean-up, less clutter.
- After dinner, we do a clean up time, fill the bin back up, and then thebin of the day goes back upstairs with M when she goes up for bedtime routine. Easy peasy!
Being the way I am (some call it crazy, I'm going with "creative"😉), I also themed each day...
For example, today was Music Monday! M got to play with all of her musical toys, instruments, and books. We also have Wild Wednesdays with her Fisher-Price Noah's Ark Play Set and Lift-the-Flap book, plus various other zoo/safari animal books and toys, and Farm Friend Fridays with her Fisher Price Animal Friends Farm , puzzles, books, etc...
Do you rotate toys? Or how do you maintain the interest and control the clutter??