Okay, okay hear me out. I hope you give me a chance to explain why you should add this to your long list of things to do this spring! You are probably already in the mood to tackle Spring Cleaning and donate or discard old clothes and toys. Why not add this simple step to your agenda? I promise it will be worth it!
Before we jump in to the HOW and create an attainable plan of attack, here are just a few of the benefits of toy and book rotation.
1. Encourages Creative Play
2. Prevents Overstimulation ( for kids and adults 😅)
3. Reduces Clutter
4. Increased Attention & Engagement
5. Prevents Boredom
All the Books
As a teacher, toy and book rotation came naturally. I would pull out certain books for my students based on the theme or unit we were working on. Helping them to narrow their focus and expand their knowledge across environments.
As a MOM, however… I have somehow managed to collect and hang on to every single book I loved as a teacher, loved just for fun, was gifted to us, or my kids have begged for at the store. Old books, new books, books barely hanging on by the spine.
I’m aiming to meet in the middle this spring as I’ve got the incredible urge to declutter the whole house! (You know you can relate!) I know my kids have been pulling out the same books to read over and over whether there are 5 choices or 20. I decided to create a book rotation system to set us all up for success. This will enable my kids to expand their choices while I am able to keep the options better organized.
Easy ways to start a book rotation-
Let’s talk about some realistic and attainable ways you can separate books or rotate them.
1. Sort books into categories. Have your kids help! Seasons, themes, characters, bedtime, favorites, etc. If it seems overwhelming, one easy way to start is by putting away all the winter, Halloween, and fall, books right now. Aiming to rotate even by season is a small step in the right direction!
2. Keep out anywhere from 10-15 books out at a time. I have a bedroom set of books and a play room set available. Remember the idea is a smaller selection no matter where they are located.
3. Find a storage bin that can be labeled and tucked away for books not currently in use.
4. Donate books no longer read to a local school, daycare, or shelter.
Tips for Successful Toy Organization
I have three small children under age 4. We have a small toy organizer in our living room for storage so it is vital that we stay organized. Here are some steps that work for me.
1. If a toy does not fit in the toy bin, it gets put in the rotation bin.
2. If they haven’t touched it in the last month, it gets put in the rotation bin.
3. Toys with a million little pieces (read dollhouse, cars, animals) only get a handful in the designated bin at one time. I usually sort them by theme, such as barn animals for a month, dinosaurs the next, etc.
4. As I am cleaning out and sorting, if the toy is missing pieces or broken in any way, it makes a trip to the garbage can.
5. If it is something that my kids have outgrown, or a phase they no longer are in (certain tv characters, etc.) it either goes on FB Marketplace or is donated.
5. My biggest tip for this process is to do it during nap time or while the kids are at school!
The process of rotating books and toys is very similar. I tend to struggle more with toys than books, especially with preschoolers who instantly want to keep everything the moment they realize I am tucking it away (remember that tip about doing it during nap time).
Mark your calendar or set a reminder on your phone to swap out the books or toys. When it’s time for rotation, the toys you pull out are suddenly “new” and exciting without having to purchase new ones!
This may seem overwhelming, but I promise you, minimizing the number of items they have access to at one time has many benefits and will be worth it in the end! Am I going to be changing out every single book in my house 1 time a week? Probably not. Maybe not even once a month. The goal is to make a plan and get started!
Your kids may grumble a little at first because it’s DIFFERENT. But you’ll find they’ll play more, read more and say “I’m bored” a whole lot less! ☺️
Do you rotate toys? I would love to hear how you manage the books and toy situation in your home! Share with me in the comments your best methods!
Be Silly. Be Honest. Be Kind. 💜