Every parent I know is overwhelmed to some extent by toys. They creep in from every possible event and well-meaning loved one . . . birthdays, holidays, doting grandparents, you name it. We start out preparing for parenthood with dreams of aesthetic, Pinterest-worthy toy rooms, and next thing we know, we’re drowning in dirty stuffies and mismatched puzzle pieces.
Why You Should Try Toy Rotation
Toy rotation is a great strategy for dealing with toy overwhelm because:
- It doesn’t require you to actually get rid of any toys if you (or your kids) are not ready to part with them
- It keeps your children interested in engaged in their toys by regularly presenting them with new options
- It can effectively reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning up toys because there are simply less available to be strewn around
- And, research shows that quality of play is reduced when there are tons of toys; with less toys, it can help toddlers to be more creative and more focused while playing
How To Get Started With It
So how to even get started? Follow this five step process and watch the magic of play happen!
- Bring ALL your toys into one space and sort them by type (vehicles, dolls, stuffies, building, pretend play, etc.).
- Discard any broken toys or toys that are missing pieces.
- Take a toy (or two) from each category and put them into piles. The number of piles you end up with will depend on how many total toys you have.
- Set out one pile of toys to be the “currently available” toys. Box up the rest into separate boxes. Dollar stores are great places if you want matching storage bins, but old Amazon boxes work just as well!
- After a week (or a month or whenever you sense that your kids could use some fresh inspiration), box up the currently available toys and set out the toys from a new box.
This process can be a lot of work upfront. But it pays huge dividends in the end by improving the quality of your children’s play, improving the ease of clean-up, and decreasing everyone’s overstimulation from toy clutter.
Will My Kids Like It??
One common concern is that kids will object to some of their toys being put away. Since you’re just storing the toys and not asking your child to get rid of them, it’s an easier pill to swallow. If your child really does put up a fight though, try involving them in the process. Allow them to choose which toys are out or how many are out at a time. Tell them they can always trade one toy for another one that’s in storage if they want to as well.
Or, ask your child to try having fewer toys out for just one week. If they don’t like it you can always go back to the way it was before. But chances are, they won’t ask to go back!
Try Toy Rental
If you want to take this a step further (or outsource your rotating), there are toy rental companies that you can explore. Simply pay a membership fee and they’ll send you a fresh batch of toys when you’re ready, while you get to send back the old ones. No storage space necessary!
We use Tiny Earth Toys in our house and have had a great experience with them, but check out all of these companies and see which is best if you’re interested in the rental idea.
No matter how you go about it, trust me when I tell you that once you try rotating your children’s toys, you’ll never turn back. Are you overwhelmed by toys? Have you tried a toy rotation system? Comment below with how it worked for your family!