It may seem ironic and contradictory, but children get bored when they have too many toys at their disposal because they feel overstimulated and do not know what to play. We suggest you organize a toy rotation in your son or daughter’s room or playroom. This will excite you and promote your stimulation. We give you some tips to put children’s toys in order before storing them to rotate them from time to time. Organize the rotation of children’s toys so they don’t get bored.
- Rotating toys when kids have too many
- Excess toys overstimulate and bored children
- What is and how to do the toy rotation step by step
- More considerations for organizing and ordering toys
- The benefits of rotating toys for your children
- Rotating toys when kids have too many
That play is essential for the integral development of children today is a reality known to all. Play is the best tool that children have to have fun, to develop their creativity and imagination, to learn about the world and the relationships between objects, to reproduce behaviors and social uses, and, ultimately, to enhance their cognitive and social skills.
Children, by their nature, are predisposed to play, and they are capable of developing it in almost any context and with any material they find within their reach. So, first of all, we shouldn’t be overwhelmed or obsessed with stuffing the child with toys. There are many materials in the environment (leaves, stones, flowers, water, sticks …) and in our house (kitchen utensils, basins, cushions, old sheets, disused clothes …) that have served our whole life to play and are excellent for developing the imagination.
On the other hand, toys, especially the so-called educational ones, are excellent companions for our little ones in this game-learning process, so they are also obviously necessary. But it’s not so much about quantity as it is about quality.
Excess toys overstimulate and bored children
Throughout their lives, our boys and girls generally receive a good number of toys that accumulate. Except for the breakage or deterioration of one that is removed, which also occurs, as the months and years go by, the number of toys is enormous.
If our sons and daughters have all the toys at their fingertips in their bedroom, in the playroom, or wherever, it is very possible that we often find that our little ones do not entertain themselves with anything, they do not know what to attend to or with what to play and that we see the room in which are all mixed up and full of toys everywhere. This occurs due to the overstimulation to which they are exposed.
When the child has an excess of toys around him, it usually happens that he becomes blocked, he becomes unable to pay a minimum of attention to any of them in particular, going from one place to another, without focusing a prudent time on any of them, perhaps requesting our attention and coming to tell us that he is bored. You may have observed your children engaging in this type of behavior in their regular playroom.
In conclusion, both the lack of stimuli and the excess of them cause very similar consequences in minors: inactivity (or non-productive activity) and cognitive blockage. To combat this, I encourage you to use a simple method for the use of materials and toys with which you will also contribute to frequently stimulate your sons and daughters without saturating them. It’s all about rotating toys.
What is and how to do the toy rotation step by step
Toy rotation is an organizational technique for children’s toys that aims to get the most out of playtime. It is a valid method until approximately 5 or 6 years old, although it will depend on the minor. But it is around that age when the little one has already been able to learn to keep his material in order and above all to organize and prioritize his interests, so he can self-regulate his play time.
Here are some keys to make a successful toy rotation:
- Throw away games and toys in poor condition
In the first place, although it may seem like a truism, it is worth remembering that we must get rid of all those toys that are broken, deteriorated, missing parts, or that our little one no longer uses. The latter, if they are in good condition, we can take the opportunity to donate them. There will always be someone who will come great!
If the boy or girl has inherited toys from a relative, an older brother or they have been given toys for ages older than their own and they still cannot or are not interested in using them, we must store them in a safe place for later.
- Sort all the toys in the room
The next thing you should do is classify all the toys, games and materials by categories. Here I give you some examples, but really all kinds of categories can be made, the choice is of course open:
- Puzzles, brain teasers and logic games
- Plastic toys: insert rings, stackable cubes, nuts and bolts to screw, etc.
- Wooden toys: nesting puzzles, trains … They can also be the same or similar to those in the previous section (rings, cubes …) but made of this material
- Soft toys: stuffed animals, rag dolls, soft balls, etc.
- Tales to manipulate
- Fabrics and costumes
- Musical instruments or toys
- Electronic toys with keys and sounds
- Symbolic game: little gadgets, food, dolls, clothes and accessories, cars, animals, etc.
- Heuristic game objects or treasure baskets: spoons, wooden ladles, flan dishes, pots, mortars, wool, combs, toothbrushes, rings, etc.
- Crafts: colored pencils, finger paint, stickers, pompoms, colored papers, rollers, brushes..
As I have mentioned before, you can use all kinds of groupings, modify and add the categories you want. I have chosen not to classify by development areas, firstly because we are not talking about the organization of a classroom and, secondly, because this way makes more sense when ordering the elements of a nursery.
But if you prefer, you can group the material in that way: logic-mathematical games, fine motor skills, etc. It must also be taken into account that the age of the minor will influence the groups and the toys within them.
- Store in boxes and store them out of the reach of children.
Next, we must store the toys by categories in boxes, bags or another container (for example, a wicker basket in the case of the treasure basket would be ideal). It is possible that in some categories we have a lot of material while others are very scarce. In these cases, we can put together several categories in the same box, attending to common sense. For example, if we only have a wooden xylophone as a musical instrument, we can put it in the wooden toy box.
- What toys to leave out in this rotation?
It is time to decide which pair of boxes we will leave within the child’s reach to play with that week and we will remove the rest. If the room where we store the toys is different from the playroom, this procedure will be somewhat easier. If the room is the same, we must place the remaining boxes so that the minor does not have access to them.
- Now is the time to rotate the toys
Finally, we will rotate the boxes periodically: every week, every fortnight, or every four! Depending on the interaction that your son or daughter has with the toys. Everything will be based on what we observe and common sense. After this time, we will keep the two boxes that we had outside and we will choose another two for the child to play during the following weeks.
More considerations for organizing and ordering toys
In the games room there can (and should) be other toys that due to their characteristics we will never remove, or because of their size (kitchenette, slide, curved table, ball pool …), or because they are the favorites and most used by the minor. These toys will become part of what we call ‘base toys’ and will always be present, regardless of the rotation of boxes.
We will let the little one play freely throughout the space, pick up and use the toys he wants, both from the two boxes and the basic toys, and play the type of game he wants. The best thing is that we do not intervene and be mere spectators, unless the child requires us for something. When the minor is of an age where it is not potentially dangerous for him to be alone, we will let him play in his room without our presence in it.
We must not be rigid. We have to take into account the tastes and interests of the child, their requests and their needs. If one day we see that the toys they have are not working, we must observe what happens to the child and contemplate the possibility of making an immediate change.
The benefits of rotating toys for your children
Once we know how to rotate toys for our children, we are going to list some of the main benefits of applying this organization strategy in our home.
Keeps the child entertained playing for longer, as it reduces the likelihood of feeling overwhelmed and boredom. Be careful, being bored is very healthy and is necessary to develop imagination and creativity. In addition, as explained in the guide ‘Families Together’ (from Purdue University), boredom in children is also an opportunity to offer them other very useful learning for their current and future life, for example, it is an opportunity to teach them to solve problems (my problem is that I am bored, I will find the solution by being creative and looking for something to entertain myself).
In order not to deprive children of the opportunity to get bored from time to time, we do not change the boxes every day or several times a day. It is positive that there are moments of natural boredom, not due to excessive stimulation.
– The game possibilities are multiplying. Many of the boxes have materials that work on different skills, and even if they don’t, we do this by combining two boxes at a time. Also, the box combinations are almost endless.
- Contributes to the development of their imagination and creativity.
- Teaches the values of order and organization.
- Facilitates the collection of toys at the end of the day.
- It favors the feeling of illusion, having as an ally the surprise factor, since the little ones find new toys, with which they have not played for a long time, from time to time.
- Reduces the chances of accidents and breakage of toys, since with too many toys in the middle it is difficult to move through space without tripping, falling, stepping on something…
- Helps parents to know which toys are the most entertaining and most liked by the child and which are those that no longer interest him and can be removed or replaced by others.