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great tips for setting up a toy rotation system

There are Only Two Types of Toys

Did you guys know that along with her expertise in communication and play, our new contributor Kim also has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to toy organization?  Today she’s sharing some of her know-how with a quick and easy 3 step plan to corral your deluge of toys.  I can’t wait to put this system into place in our house! 


I write a lot about play, toys, and rotating toys.  It seems as much as we all want to harness our inner minimalist and have beautifully simple and organized play spaces for our children (AND ourselves), we just seem to have difficulty kicking the habit of too many toys.


Here we are going to break it down, make it super simple, and leave it impossible for you not to be inspired to go into your child’s room and start sorting.  So simple, in fact, that when you start sorting there will only be two piles for just the two types of toys.


Toy Type 1: Loved & Lasting
These are the toys that your child comes to over and over, enjoys endlessly, and is excited to see each time he gets home.  They are the train tracks your child falls asleep with, the doll missing chunks of hair, the go-to board game, the stuffed dog dragged through the dirt by it’s “leash”, or the art pad. These toys usually are not so age specific and grow with your child and his imagination.  They are loved and lasting.


Warning: If you aren’t sure if your child has these toys it may be because she’s never been able to find these treasures in all the toy madness at your house.  Try selecting these toys based on my Good Toy Rules or try rotating your child’s toys first to slim down your child’s options and see what he gravitates towards.


Toy Type 2: Shiny & Passing
These toys are super exciting and completely wow your child each time he sees them – for about three minutes. These toys usually do too much on their own.  They leave your child feeling short in the imagination department and quickly bored once they figure out, or remember, how to make them work.  These are the push button, too many parts, light up, noisy, works on letters, pop up, drop down, and fancy toys.  Yes, they are shiny, but they are also passing.


Now, you’ve got two piles – what do you do?  Click through for the steps.

Step 1: Keep the Loved & Lasting toys out and available.

If you still have a ton of those you may decide to rotate them but, for now, steps 1 and 2 should help you feel a major difference in your child’s play space and play.


Step 2: Get the Shiny & Passing toys out of everyday.

The one thing I know for sure is that too many toys equals less organized play.  Keeping the Shiny & Passing toys from distracting your child will allow her to focus on deeper experiences while engaging in real and effective play.  So, there really is no room for Shiny & Passing toys in everyday play anymore.  Get them out.


Step 3: Give the Shiny & Passing toys new life.

Shiny & Passing toys can be great for moments when you need them to give your child that wow factor and keep him engaged.  We keep a basket of the quieter Shiny & Passing toys up in the closet.  When I need to make a quick “Busy Bag”, I grab a bag and go to this basket to choose some toys for a long car trip, a doctor’s appointment, or a long meal out.  Because your child doesn’t see them everyday, these Shiny & Passing toys are exciting enough to get you through those tricky moments.


Shiny & Passing toys can also be fun to re-purpose if they have missing parts.  I love how The Imagination Tree uses parts to create Invitations to Play.  You can also get great inspiration from Childhood 101 and Happy Hooligans.


What do you think?  Could all of your child’s toys be sorted into just two piles?  Are you ready to simplify?


Similar Stuff: More from Kim.


This post is part of MPMK’s “Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life”.  You can read all about it here, check out all of projects here, and join thousands of POYEL facebook group members here.



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