During the summer, over Christmas break and virtually every Saturday, I am baffled by the fact that my children have a million toys, but are bored and do not play with them.
Last Christmas break, I had one of those lightbulb moments and I realized what I was doing wrong.
Think about a preschool or kindergarten classroom for a minute. Most kindergarten classes have “center time.” Although “center time” is more structured than free play, the kids don’t seem to notice a difference. They see games, pretend play, and blocks as toys and they eagerly play with them!
But a kindergarten teacher would never put out ALL of the center activities for the year at once. Instead, the teacher rotates activities. There are many reasons for doing so, but one of those reasons is to keep the kids excited and interested in whatever is coming next.
It works the same way at home. Packing away some toys makes them that much more exciting when you get them out again! And, limiting choices keeps kids from feeling too overwhelmed when they see an ocean of toys spread all over the floor.
I started rotating toys in December and have kept up on it fairly well since then. There are many different systems for toy rotation, so I encourage you to figure out one that works for your family. We have 6 large tubs that hold different sets of toys. Each tub has one type of blocks, one type of dramatic play, and maybe some other toys. For example, the tub that is out now has Thomas trains, wooden blocks, and tools. Every week (or when the kids get antsy) we pack up those toys and get out a different tub.
By limiting our choices, keeping like items together, and rotating toys for excitement, my boys’ play time has increased (and the mess in my house has decreased!)
For other bloggers’ tips on rotating toys, check out my pinterest board, Rotate Toys.
(This post is part of a Secrets from a Teacher to Make You a Better Parent, a part of the write31days.com challenge. The best way to keep up with this series is to subscribe via email here.)