Rotating Toys, My Rotation

Over the weekend we realized it had been too long since we had done our rotation. So, we decided it was a great time to get in one rotation before we had to sort and tend to the gifts from the holidays.

Here’s how it looked.

This is the “before” shelf where most of the toys are kept.

When you dump out all of the toys from the shelf, this is what you get (marked with a T for thinking, M for moving, or P for pretending toy):

  1. Banana basket from Halloween costume – P
  2. Tutu – P
  3. Busy box – T
  4. Musical instruments – M
  5. Random stuff accumulated from bathtub or toys not in rotation – P
  6. Finger puppets – P
  7. Stacking Cups – T
  8. Ball – M
  9. Figurines – P
  10. School Bus – M & P
  11. Feeding, Sleeping, & Toothbrushing Tools – P
  12. Dolls & stuffed animals (Yes. Too many pretending. There’s seven!) – P

Plus, too many books. Fifteen!

In addition to the toy & book shelf we had out her dollhouse (yet another pretending toy)…

her ride-on/push toys (finally, some more moving toys!)…

…and we don’t leave this out and accessible all of the time, but we do have a coloring, drawing, bubbles, sticker, playdough basket that we pull out most days, which is considered a thinking toy.

So, in total we had 15 toys or sets of toys (not counting the art basket), with way too many pretending toys, and too many books.

NOW…for the “after” or the NEW ROTATION. Here’s what we did.

For thinking toys, we put out large nesting and stacking blocks, a puzzle, and small stacking blocks.

For moving toys, we put out her bumble bee pull-toy, rocking horse and a large ball.

For pretending toys, we left out her dollhouse, and put out a purse and phone set, and pared down baby feeding and pretending set.

We put away the old books and picked just 8 new ones.

Then put it away all pretty.

And she LOVED it the next morning.

If you like reading about rotating toys, make sure you read Toy Rotation, The Real Deal for a super speed rotation.

  1. rachel says:

    That toy shelf makes me want to play!

    • Kim says:

      Yay! I think Sidda felt the same way. She couldn’t wait to dig in. It’s kinda like when I worked at the Gap outlet in college. People either loved to rifle through a freshly folded and neatly stacked pile of sweaters or a really messy bin of who-knows-whats. Either one suggests there must be something good! I prefer the freshly folded pile though for organized play.

  2. Shanna says:

    Wow!! You would be disappointed in our toy bins! And we rotate every other week but I guess there are lots more to rotate and rummage through. Maybe I’ll return the presents for Christmas!!! Ha

  3. Melissa says:

    I like the idea of choosing a selected number of books. That way, your child can read and re-read those, getting access to repetition of the rhythm and language structures in those books until the next rotation. With too many choices, you may lose that opportunity for repetition which is such a powerful learning tool.

    • Kim says:

      Yes! I know many moms and dads are going to be upset with limiting books, and some older kids may not need it, but for the younger ones we are going for depth over breadth.

  4. I love how thoughtful your toy selection was. Such a great assortment of toys!

    • Kim says:

      Thank you, Jill! I love, love your blog and I’m so happy to see you here. Selecting toys this way feels like a lot of work (and thinking) at first, but it does become second nature after a few rotations. Do you rotate your toys? If so, how do you do it?

  5. I’ve just found your blog via Childhood 101′s Facebook page and I have to say, I think it’s brilliant. You give such a clear, easy to follow explanation of how to support children’s language development that I need to share this with my parents! I find the above post really interesting. As an early years educator in the UK, I am encouraged to make all my resources available to the children so they can choose what they want to play with, but I am finding that this results in chaos and unfocused children who flit from activity to activity and toy to toy (I currently work with under 2′s in my own home). There is a lot of sense in what you say and it reminds me of more of what I used to do. I just have one question, would you use the technique of rotating toys for all children under 5?

  6. Kim says:

    Hi, Cathy! Thanks for stopping by Little Stories. I love your blog and so glad Childhood 101 introduced us!

    I think rotating toys is great for children of all ages. Older children are obviously able to be more organized in their play than the younger ones and may be able to handle a broader scope of toys. I would follow the children’s lead though and I may start with fewer toys and rotate more often. The KEY is to have the right variety of toys so that you are targeting all areas of development, which I explain here in this post…

    I look forward to chatting with you more and reading more of your posts!
    Kim recently posted..How To Pretend