I have been seeing pins about toy rotations, and at first didn't think it would work for us, but desperate times... you know: Big mess, whiny kids, fighting kids, missing pieces to just about every toy.
After doing some more pinterest research I came up with several categories for their toys:
- Pretend Play (play sets): things like the Little People Animal Sounds Zoo, Airport, Barn, Vtech garage and the Imaginext Batcave. I will put out one of these at a time.
- Pretend Play (role play): various tool kits, doctor kit, conductor hat and train whistle. Again, these will be available one at a time. We also have a bin of masks and hats and dress up stuff, that won't be included in a rotation but it is in a closet for whenever the mood strikes.
- Trains: we have collected quite a few metal die cast Thomas Take and Play trains as well as wooden trains and tracks, so I've decided he really only needs one type of train at a time.
- Large Trucks: small trucks and cars will stay out for him, but the larger construction trucks, farm vehicles and firetrucks will be available only a few at a time (not so many that it defeats the purpose, but enough so there's no fighting over them).
- Thinking Toys: things like shape sorters, the wood puzzle train, stacking rings, etc. etc. that promote problem solving and fine motor skill work. I will choose a few of these with each toy change.
- Musical Toys: there is no real need for the boys to have every single drum, bell, shaker, stick, etc that we have come to own. A few at a time is plenty for making beautiful music, and rotating allows for them to discover different sounds and combinations of sounds as "new" instruments come out.
- Moving Toys: this category is for their balls, collapsable tunnel, giant bowling set, ball poppers, etc. that get them up and moving. Depending on the amount of movement for each one, I will put out one or two at a time.
- Alway-Out Toys: as I mentioned before, cars will be out permanently since these boys love them. We also have a kitchen set up and food toys that will stay out.
Money is tight in a one income household, and priorities are priorities, so I tried to use as many cardboard boxes and storage containers that were around the house already. I plan on investing in nicer storage bins little by little. I also didn't want to start buying until I knew better how I would pull this off and what I would need.
I was pretty overwhelmed. It is about 90% done, but since our playroom is in the basement and it's been pretty cold here (and also, I haven't gotten a complete handle on the toys that came in for Christmas), our upstairs had been pretty invaded by toys that still need to be brought down and sorted. I also have to go through the stuffed animals and random toys, and all the younger baby toys.
Changing the toys weekly seems like its too often, but monthly seems like too long to wait... so right now I'm thinking every other week will be a new set up of toys. But I think I will let the boys' level of interest be my guide.
Here's what things looked like during the sort:
While I'm at it with the play room makeover, I decided to separate the room into two sides: play side and school side. School side is still being organized, but...
... here is play side, with it's currently available toys:
And this is the current state of my closet toy storage: