Monday, September 8, 2014

Toy Rotation Anniversary

To be honest, it has been more than one year since we started with our toy rotation.  We actually started on June 18th (feel free to check my post about it).  But as we returned home, I realized it is such an important part of our family dynamics.  We were at my friends house for a bit over a week, and they don't have a toy rotation! We had 4 children playing together, and all I can say is: I missed ours!
At home, as soon as we had a chance, I changed the toys. I wanted the kids to enjoy their things, without making the house into a disaster zone.
Here is the space after I cleaned up the previous rotation.  The kids always have the two roll up blankets in the middle.  They build forts, have picnic tables, make beds...etc.  They are easy to put away, hence they are always out.  I use the same number of bins to separate the toys.  I add small pictures of each toy to each bin to help the kids know where to put them away.

Here is the rotation for this week ready to be organized. We follow the bins in order, but once in a while the kids ask for an specific one, and we put it out. Note: this doesn't happen often since they are happy to see the toys they haven't seen in 6 or more weeks.

Here is the toy rotation for this week ready for the kids to play. To make the image-label, I took a picture of the toy, and printed in a 1/9  scale.  Then, I laminated them.  I place all the image-labels in each rotation bin to keep them ready.  I also use blue painters tape in the back of the pictures to stick them to the bins. (hint: leave the painter's tape on the bins, and just change the image). 

When it comes to storing all the rotation bins, we use the under the stairs closet. It is where we keep the cleaning supplies: vacuum, and steam mop, and recycling bin.  I took the recycling bin to take this picture. This is not the original locations.  We moved them to be  closer.
As you can see we have 6 bins for all our rotations, and one box of legos that doesn't fit anymore.  If you look closely, the bin closest to you on the top is semi empty.  That is the rotation that is currently out.  Only the empty box of Lincoln logs is in it. We also have a fold-able circus that doesn't fit on top of a bin in the middle rack. This closet is right next to where their toys are.  

They toy rotation has kept the kids interested in their toys, my house organized, and even added a way to help me save money.  Since my rule is "if it doesn't fit, we just can't have it," the toy rotation has helped me avoid impulse shopping.  We only look for new toys when another one gets out and there is room for it.  It doesn't happen often.  

One more important note: As for the frequency in changing the toy rotation, I think it is up to you and your kids.  I started changing them every week.  But recently the kids and I have moved to changing them every other week, or every two weeks.  It depends on how engaged they are with the toys. 

I hope this post will encourage you to give toy rotations a try.  After over a year of using this system, I cannot recommend it enough!

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Thank you for sharing!