Thursday, January 15, 2015

How to Rotate Toys in 5 Simple Steps

Today I am so excited to be writing for the blog series Happy New Year, Healthy Kids hosted by the lovely ladies at The Inspired Treehouse. This month, 20 expert bloggers are sharing their tips for raising happy, healthy kids and I am honored to be a part of this group of talented bloggers!

With the holidays behind us, do you find your house overflowing with new toys? Or worse, is your house overflowing with new toys, but your kids are not interested in playing with them? Are you already hearing, "I'm boooored" coming from your kids? If so, it might be time to try out a toy rotation! I promise, it's easier than it sounds.

Photo credit: Wendy Copley via Flickr; text added

As an occupational therapist, I strongly believe in the benefits of play for children to develop and grow. So let's do our best this year to help our children thrive in their play! Toy rotation is one way to keep play fresh and fun. Here are five simple steps to implement a toy rotation with your kids:

Step 1: Clear out the clutter. Get rid of broken toys or toys that are missing parts or pieces.

Step 2: Get rid of toys that are not developmentally appropriate. If your child is a toddler or preschooler and you still have baby toys out, it's time to get rid of those baby toys!

Step 3: Sort toys into categories:
  • Moving toys - These are the toys that get kids moving and use gross motor skills, like balls, push toys, and ride-on toys.
  • Fine motor toys - These are the toys that get kids using their hands (and their brains!). Puzzles, Lego blocks, Mr. Potato Head, board games, and lacing beads, to name a few!
  • Pretend play toys - These are the toys that encourage use of imagination and help develop social-emotional skills, such as dress-up clothes, dolls or stuffed animals, kitchen sets, cars.
  • Timeless or favorite toys - These are the toys that your kids never get bored of, or you want them to be available at all times. These might include, books, crayons and paper, doll house or play kitchen.

Step 4: Create sets of toys. Now you're going to choose 2-4 toys from each category (moving, fine motor, pretend play), for a total of approximately 10 toys. If that doesn't seem like much, don't worry! Kids can get overwhelmed with choices and will do better with fewer options.

Step 5: Put out one set of toys at a time. This is where the fun comes in! Put out one set of toys for your kids at a time. Place all of the other sets in the garage, basement, closet, etc. Somewhere out of sight! Rotate in a new set of toys every 2-3 weeks and your kids will have a renewed interest in their toys they've had all along!

Photo Credit: Kim Love via Flickr

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