A Guide to Rotating Toys for Free Play [with Infographic]
At the start of every week, set aside time to curate your child’s play area so that not all toys are displayed or available for them to play with. Why?
The novelty of reintroduced toys keeps them engaged.
Lesser toys mean your child is less overwhelmed, and they can focus more on the toys that are available to them.
Your toys can be classified into the following categories: blocks/construction toys, animal toys/dolls, found materials, musical toys, manipulative toys/puzzles. How?
Sort all of your child’s toys according to these categories
Each week, choose one toy from each category. These will be the toys that your child will be exclusively playing with.
You may use your own judgment based on the observations you have made on your child’s play on what kind of toy your child should play with for the following week. Children usually stick to the familiar or to their favorites, but it is also good to challenge your child to try something new each week 🙂 Here are some questions that you can ask yourself before rotating your child’s toys:
Does my child still enjoy playing with this toy? If not, maybe it’s time to switch it up with another toy from the same category.
Has my child been playing with this toy noticeably a lot more than the other toys that are laid out for them? If so, perhaps it’s time to set aside this favorite to give room for a new toy or one that they haven’t played with in a while.
Keep in mind when rotating toys:
When taking out or (re)introducing a new toy to our child it is important that our judgment comes from the child’s observed behaviors over time. Figuring out what kind of toy to take out and/or take away requires observation and critical judgment.
Perks of toy rotation:
The purpose of rotating toys is for your child to gain focus and control over their play. Having too many toys present can become overwhelming for your child, so rotating toys can give them a sense of control over their play.
Toy rotation is economical! Reintroducing toys to your child gives them a sense of excitement and anticipation over its novelty. Through toy rotation, your child will grow tired of their toys for a longer period of time. (There wouldn’t be a need for you to keep buying new toys!)
Toy rotation keeps your child’s play space and your home clutter free!
McGee, G. G., Daly, T., Izeman, S. G., Mann, L. H., & Risley, T. R. (1991). Use of Classroom Materials to Promote Preschool Engagement. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 23(4), 44–47. doi:10.1177/004005999102300410
Kreps, S. (2020). The art of toy rotation: Cycle them in and out for fresh fun. Green Child Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.greenchildmagazine.com/rotating-toys/
Photo by Shirota Yuri on Unsplash