Toy Rotation

14 month old girl sitting in front of two toys bins which are basket from Africa as part of her toy rotation collection

I’ve always rotated Morris’s (and more recently Rose’s) toys around the house. It wasn’t until my lovely friend Ranit (also an OT) said I should do a blog post about it that I stopped to think about what I was doing. Now that we are redoing the basement playroom I’m going to use a more organized approach to toy rotation.

Why Rotate Toys?

“I don’t know why we bother to buy toys, the kids barely play with them”, “my kid plays with (insert random non-toy item here i.e. tampons, toilet paper roll, tissue paper, ikea bag, cardboard box) instead of his/her toys”, “my kid only plays with toys when we go to a friend’s house”. Sound familiar? toy rotation

Children learn best from new experiences/items. When they see the same toys, in the same place over time they loose interest and stop playing with them. Rotating toys makes them new again and children will learn to play with them in new ways. It also decreases the daily toy mess as only a portion of the toys will be accessible at any given time.

My Plan for Toy Rotation

Where the Toys will be toy rotation

For the basement playroom I bought an Ikea Kallax shelf unit with 4 boxes, 2 for Morris and 2 for Rose. On the main level of our house Morris and Rose will each have one basket for toys.  There is a larger Kallax shelf unit (with 16 boxes) in the laundry room in which we will store the toys that are out of rotation. Each of the kids have a few toys in their own bedrooms too. (Morris’ bedroom Rose’s bedroom)

Organizing the Toys

I’ll bring all of the toys into one room and lay them out on the floor. I will then organize the toys, as best I can, into categories. toy rotation

Active Play– things to push, ride, jump on, spin, roll or climb on.

Arts/Crafts– play-dough and accessories, paint, paper, scissors, glue, tape, easle, other craft supplies.

Building/Making toys– blocks, lego/duplo, magformers/magnatiles.

Pretend Play– dress-up, kitchen, construction table, babies, trains, airport, doll house, farm.etc.

Manipulatives– collection of small, similar items that can be “fiddled with for fine motor and/or logical thinking.

Literacy– Books, letters, kid laptop.

Music– piano, shakers, instruments, clappers.


Vehicles– trucks, cars, motorcycles all shapes and sizes.

Socio-emotional– stuffed animals, dolls and action figures.

I will make up probably 5 boxes each (more if I’m able). 2 boxes per kid will go in the basement playroom, 1 each on the main floor of the house and the rest will be stored, ready for rotation.

How I will Rotate the Toys

I’ve read that you should rotate toys weekly/bi-weekly. My plan is to just see what happens. If I notice that Morris or Rose seem to be losing interest after a few days, I will rotate. If they’re playing with the toys for weeks on end, I will leave well enough alone. I’ll (maybe) make notes to see if any toys are still not being played with and can be donated.

Thats it! Let me know if you try this!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *