Does your house have too many toys? If so, you’re not alone. One study of parents with kids ages 2-12 showed the average household had 71 toys. Kids receive approximately $6500 worth of toys before they reach their teens.
Part of modern parenting, it seems, is having bins, baskets, and shelves full of puzzles, trucks, blocks, and dolls. Aside from making a mess, too many toys can overwhelm kids and keep them from focusing and playing deeply with any of them.
One solution to cut down on clutter and inspire kids to play creatively is rotating toys. Rotating toys has many benefits for both kids and parents.
My family has been rotating toys for about two years now. With three kids under five, we can be buried under toys quickly. This is especially true after birthdays and Christmas. I’ve seen the benefits of rotating toys first hand, and I think it’s a tool that many families can benefit from.
Hey there, I’m Kelly Marie, a wife and mom to three busy toddlers. My home is crazy, loud, and fun. I love sharing ways I try, and mostly succeed, to create a happy home.
What is toy rotation?
Rotating toys is regularly switching toys so that only a portion are out at one time. The rest of the toys are stored away where the kids can’t get to them, like a basement or attic.
After a set amount of time, or when the kids get bored, parents bring out stored toys to switch them out.
Benefits of Rotating Toys for Kids
There are many benefits of rotating toys for kids, so let’s get into them.
More focused play
Having fewer toys out at one time allows kids to better focus on playing with those toys. When a lot of toys are available to play with, kids are often overwhelmed by choices and hop from toy to toy without deeply playing with any of them. One study showed that when toddlers were given four toys to play with for 30 minutes, they played more creatively than toddlers that were given 16 toys. The toddlers with four toys also played with each toy for twice as long.
More useful space
Limiting the number of toys out at one time also creates more useful space in the home. More space means more room for playing games, projects, arts and crafts, relaxing, and letting kids be kids.
Kids are more resourceful when they have fewer toys to play with. They find ways to play with less. Anyone that has seen kids play with cardboard boxes, mom’s jewelry, and pots and pans knows that kids don’t even necessarily need toys to play. Having less gives them opportunity to make the best of what they have and develop the skill of resourcefulness.
More imaginative play
Fewer toys lets kids rely on their imaginations. With fewer toys available, kids have the opportunity to use the same toy in many different ways.
“New” toys bring excitement
When toys are pulled out of storage, kids are excited to see “new” toys. Often kids have short memories and forget about toys that are in storage. They enjoy toys more after being separated from them.
Benefits of Rotating Toys for Parents
The benefits of rotating toys for parents are possibly even more convincing than those for kids!
Less time and energy is spent cleaning up toys. With fewer toys out at one time, there are fewer toys to clean up. When cleaning is simplified, I’ve also found that kids are more willing to contribute.
With fewer toys everywhere, there isn’t a mad rush to clean them up when company is coming over.
Spending less time cleaning and organizing gives parents more time to do what they love, like playing with their kids. In my experience, what kids want even more than toys is our attention. Without having to organize toys so often, we can get down on the floor and build, create, read and talk to our kids.
Limiting the number of toys out at one time, reduces clutter and can create a more relaxing environment. Clutter can cause stress and negatively impact mental health. One study showed that clutter can increase cortisol, a stress hormone, in women.
Creates a balanced home environment
Fewer toys keeps your home from looking like a toy store. I believe that there’s no reason every inch of our homes needs to be overrun by kid things. Yes, kids live there, but so do adults. Limiting toys can create more balance in the house and an environment that everyone wants to be in.
Rotating toys can allow parents to spend less money on toys. When there are always “new” toys to be pulled out of storage, parents don’t feel pressure to buy more toys when their kids are bored. In my experience, watching my kids thrive with fewer toys takes away the motivation to buy more.
I don’t know about you, but anything that saves me money, time, stress, and makes my home a happier place to live is worth giving a try. Let’s get into how to get started rotating toys.
How to Start Rotating Toys in 4 Simple Steps
You can start rotating toys today! There is a little bit of a time investment at first, but once a system is in place, it is minimal work for parents.
With the time you save from cleaning up mountains of toys every day, it will actually save you time in the long run.
- First, get all your kids’ toys in one place. Pull them all out of the bins, baskets, under the beds, etc. and really take a look at what you have.
- After gathering all the toys, purge what’s broken and give away or donate what your kids’ have outgrown. If there are duplicates of toys, like that pile of naked baby dolls we all seem to have, this is a good time to pick a few favorites and give the rest away.
- Sort the toys that are left into at least three groups. These are the groups that you’ll be regularly rotating. It’s best to put a little variety in each group, like putting a building toy, a doll, pretend toys, etc. in each group. Don’t get too hung up on having the perfect groupings of toys. You can always change them later. The number of toys in each group will depend on how much space you have, how many kids you have, and how many toys you think your kids need at one time. Super special toys can be left out all the time.
- Store away the toys that are out of rotation. Big clear plastic tubs are probably best, but cardboard boxes or laundry baskets can get you started with minimal cost. Put them in a place your kids can’t see them or get to them.
You’re all set!
Great work! Now all you have to do is regularly rotate the toys. You can switch them out after a set amount of time or just when the kids get bored with what’s out, whichever you prefer. I hope you enjoy this system and experience how rotating toys benefits both kids and parents .
How do you organize kids’ toys?
I’d love to hear how you organize toys in your house! Do you rotate toys? Do you periodically purge toys as they are broken, outgrown, or go unused? Leave a comment below.
Disclaimer: This post is for informational and entertainment purposes only. I am not an expert or professional and none of this information should be taken as advice. Please do your own research before making changes.