Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pinterest Idea: Toy Rotation

My last post was a confession of sorts: there really is a bit of shame in admitting that such a simple project took me [by "me" I mean, "mostly other people"] so long to finish and looked so terrible.

So today I'll review a Pin that has been a resounding success. A success! For me!

Toy rotation, pinned courtesy of Playful Learning, is not a new idea. I know my mom didn't leave ALL of our toys out, ALL of the time. But I wasn't sure how to give each toy equal time in the spotlight, and I worried that if I took toys away, Will would get bored more quickly. Therefore, up until a few months ago, most of his toys were out on the floor, separated into different rooms of the house. I wanted to buy a big structure to organize them all, but I figured I'd try the rotation idea first.

SO glad I did not buy a big toy structure. Way glad.

I had pinned this blog post long before I actually attempted it, and I wish I hadn't waited so long. The post is very instructive. Basically, you separate all of the toys into three groups, then take a COUPLE toys from each group and box them up. Every two weeks, switch out the boxes.

It took me one naptime to sort and box all of William's toys. I ended up with six boxes. I labeled each box with a number (#1-#6) and a list of the toys inside. All but Box #1 went upstairs to the attic. Downstairs, I spruced up his toy corner with some leftover bins and artwork. It looked SO minimal. I was a bit worried.

It took him a few minutes to "discover" his new toy corner. The result was cool! He began playing with toys he hadn't really shown interest in before. As a bonus, the living room looked much neater (along with the other rooms, which were now de-toyed).

As of this post, we are almost through all six boxes - so we've been at this for about 12 weeks. I LOVE this system. He plays with toys for extended periods of time that he barely touched before. Every two weeks he gets "new" toys, and it's so fun to hear him exclaiming, "Look at that!" when he rediscovers them. It's easier to play with the toys, since they're out in the open (instead of in closed containers like they were before) and it's easier to put them away, too.

So here's a little tour of our toys display.

The bulk of his rotation toys go here in this corner. I switch out the baskets and artwork each time to make it look fresh. You can see the basket of balls to the left - that stays out all the time as in the past it's gotten constant use. I am probably going to put the balls into a rotation system soon, though, as lately he seems to be losing interest in them while at the same time going nuts for any new ball he sees.

His basket of musical instruments, which you can see in the background, stays out all the time. This square basket holds mostly library books (which of course get switched up every several weeks, depending on how much he likes a certain set and how often we renew them) and current favorites from the books we own.

This is one of my favorite things about the system - only one "building" toy is out at a time. Therefore it's in an open bin that is way inviting to a toddler (rather than  in a bin with a hard-to-open lid). Right now we've got Lincoln Logs in there. 

I keep puzzles in their own area and every week I try to put out a new one for him. I've noticed that having one chunky puzzle out for several days makes him work harder to "solve" it. He also shows more interest in the puzzles he previously ignored. I also keep a small bag of toys (ones that that didn't really "fit" any of the boxes) to grab from when we head to the doctor's office or somewhere like that, and I want something "new" to entertain him. 

I know I already said it, but I LOVE this system. I LOVE IT! It seems like now that the organization is done, it runs itself. New toys that he got for his birthday went into boxes that were a bit "lacking". I also realized how much he really already has, and it's made me more aware of things he might need rather than just "more toys". If you are considering this, DO IT. 

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