Many parents are surprised to learn that the amount of toys children have access to at one time can impact behavior, independent play, and so much more. Today you’ll learn about the benefits of toy rotation and decide if it’s right for your family.
Looking for a solution to escape the mess, overwhelm and expense of your children’s toys?
In today’s post I am sharing a strategy that has worked miracles in our household.
Can fewer toys benefit your family?
When our oldest was a toddler I started to notice that she avoided independent play.
We provided her with an adorable and inviting bedroom with tons of toys, but she would never stay in there for too long.
I would get her set up with a few things to play with and allow her to get settled.
But a few minutes after I left the room I would typically start to hear her fuss, or she would come find me.
When I would sit with her she would easily become distracted or frustrated and then start her search for something new to do.
This was no bueno for a mama with an infant who had an entire household to manage, and worked from home!
All I needed was a few 20-30 minute chunks of time where she could entertain herself, so I could pay bills, pop a load of laundry in the wash and shove some food in my face.
But that wasn’t happening!
Desperate for some much needed downtime; I began to do some research and stumbled upon the book “Simplicity Parenting” by Dr. Kim John Payne.
The book ended up completely changing our way of life and led to our focus on simplifying and minimizing in order to increase the health and happiness of our family.
How Toy Rotation Benefits Kids
1) Toy Rotation Reduces Clutter
As parents, we all want the best for our kiddos. We want them to play, laugh, learn and grow.
In the beginning it seems that toys are a great way to provide these experiences for our children.
But if you’re not careful; the toys will quickly take over.
The accumulation seems to happen almost instantly, and starts as early as the baby shower.
Suddenly, there are toys everywhere. And you are left searching for organization and storage ideas, as if you didn’t already have enough to do as busy mom running a household.
2) Toy Rotation Can Improve Behavior
From all of this, I have discovered that the impact of too many toys is more than just a messy house.
The clutter and the expense is just the tip of the iceberg.
Having too many toys has been linked to
- Difficulty focusing on one task
- Behavioral problems
- Language delay
- Less meaningful play experiences
If you think your family might benefit from starting a toy rotation, I think you’re right.
3) Clean up takes less time
When there are fewer toys out at a time, clean up and organization is quick and easy.
4) Toy Rotation Fosters Creativity
Having fewer toys available allows your child’s imagination to come to life. You will be amazed when you watch one toy suddenly start to be used in multiple different ways.
5) Saves Money
If your child starts to ask for new toys, it’s time to bring another bin out of storage!
Your child will be excited to see their toys that have been MIA and you will save yourself a trip to the store to buy something new.
6) Decreased Frustration and Overwhelm
One of the most amazing benefits of toy rotation is the impact it can have on behavior.
When your child is no longer overwhelmed by too many choices become able to fully engage with the toys they have without feeling frustrated and overstimulated.
7) Decreased Stress and Anxiety
This one is for you mom!
If a cluttered and messy house stresses you out, you are not alone.
Kid clutter was a huge part of my experience with postnatal anxiety and one of the motivating factors that got our family started with minimalism and simple living.
When your home is neat and tidy you will be able to relax and stop feeling like you always have to clean.
8) New Experiences = Learning
This is a very simplified version of how children learn:
When they have a new experience a new connection is created in their brain.
When children play with the same toys day after day, they stop having new experiences.
Toy rotation allows you to intentionally create learning opportunities as you re-introduce toys.
9) Increased Independent Play
When you start a toy rotation it creates the ideal environment for sustained attention.
This allows your child to become engaged in their own play and creativity.
The result is that they learn to keep themselves occupied for longer chunks of time.(PS – this is when you can focus on a little stress-relief or take care of other business)
10) Creates More Space for Play
Maria Montessori suggests that a home “be kept orderly to enable kids to maximize use of their play spaces.
When you start a toy rotation it allows you to create minimalist playroom which is supportive of how children play.
Children like to crawl, throw, build and roll around.
They need space for all of these activities, and if their bedroom or playroom is full of toys it will actually prohibit them from what they need to do to develop as a whole child.
There you have it mama! 10 important reasons why you need to start a toy rotation.
Toy Rotation FAQ’s:
What is a good age to start a toy rotation?
As soon as you start collecting toys for your child, I would suggest implementing a toy rotation system.
If you organize and present toys in this method from the start your child will always have a fresh supply of new toys to provide new experiences and will avoid the clutter and distraction caused by having too many toys available at once.
If your child is older and you already have a large collection of toys, it’s never too late to set up a rotation. I’ve worked with families from infancies through tweens.
What categories should I use for setting up a toy rotation?
Well, you actually have a few different options depending on what makes the most sense for your family and the types of toys your children have.
In this post where I explain how to set up a toy rotation you can see the most common and most popular categories that I suggest.
You may also want to consider using Montessori’s Five Areas of Learning to create your toy categories. They are:
- Practical Life
- and Cultural
Which ever method you choose you can decide to change to best meet the needs of your family over time.