It’s been a week we simply couldn’t of imagined, hasn’t it?
I don’t know about you, but mustering the courage to sit and document this time, either on a blog or via a social media platform, has been quite challenging. The coronavirus / COVID-19 crisis is now affecting us all, and it’s turned each and every one of lives on its head.
But, to keep my anxiety for both my loved ones health and the future of my business at bay, I’m trying to look at things in a more positive light.
I’m fortunate enough to enjoy the sunlight and fresh air in our own space, without venturing further afield. I get to spend precious time with my boys, watching Ace grow and blossom into a bright and confident little boy. The downtime from work, which will inevitably follow, may allow me the mindset to grow our business in a new or more adventurous way. Yes, financially and socially we are all going to struggle, but I cannot even imagine how those on the front line (including all those we often forget about, such as, prison workers, rubbish collectors and supermarket staff) are coping right now.
So all in all, I’m counting myself as extremely lucky in the current circumstances.
But that’s not to say staying home with a toddler for the first time in my life is going to be a walk in the park. Let’s be honest here, I’m going to consume more wine, watch more Peppa and scrutinise my stress induced wrinkles and grey hair more than ever. But, I’m hoping documenting our plans on here might just keep me going. You all know how I love an online mind dump!!
So, this week has been the perfect time to implement our toy rotation!
What’s a toy rotation?
Well, it’s basically a fancy term for changing the toys around to keep a child engaged. I’d never heard of the term until the mighty world of Instagram threw the phrase my way, and with that some wonderful inspiration. (get following Amys Hearty Home and Mothercould immediately)
It’s a simple system to keep your little one interested and minimise the number of toys that get left behind at playtime. We all know what happens when a piece of clothing is sat at the back of the wardrobe, you don’t appreciate it’s beauty until someone else brings it to the forefront. It’s exactly the same here.
Why would you do a toy rotation?
Considering we have spent minimal money investing in toys, Ace has them in an abundance. From family hand me downs, generous birthday gifts and those items he’s selected in a supermarket and point blank will not leave without, his playroom often resembles a toy store.
But this means he creates chaos every time he plays, and the usual suspects come out on a daily basis.
We’ve also started to notice an increase in overwhelming behaviour. Throwing things, becoming frustrated and showcasing a very short attention span. The theory, is that having less choice helps them to focus and enjoy a deeper level of play for longer periods of time. They become more creative and take their time to play.
If it means less temper tantrums- Bring. It. On.
How I’ve set up our toy rotation
You’ve probably noticed that most people use the Kallax system from Ikea to display and store their toys, and I’m going to be a sheep and follow suit. If it ain’t broke, don’t change it. But all you really need is a way to make toys accessible for them to play.
Until IKEA reopens, I’m using a similar style unit that was left to us when we moved in. Win win.
This unit is in his playroom, and I’m keeping the toys out of rotation in our spare room, organised into types of toy. I’ll be displaying a toy in each of the top boxes and storing another toy in these cute bags from H&M, in the boxes below.
What toys go into a rotation?
There’s really no rules.
I’ve decided to allocate my rotation into themes or product type to make it a little easier. For example, I have a box of puzzles, family games such as skittles and musical instruments.
I plan to always have out-
- A puzzle or jigsaw
- A shape sorter
- A real life toy- such as his tea set or tool kit
- An animal themed item
- A vehicle
- A pull along ‘pet’
- Something with balls (he’s obsessed with throwing balls and playing catch with his dad)
Plus he’ll also have a few cuddly toys and a range of books to choose from.
His train set, flash cards and car will always be out however, as will his kitchen when we finally get round to doing that!
I’ve also decided to rotate his Duplo sets and Megablocks to avoid any confusion there.
This is all based on the toys Ace likes to play with and what he already has plenty of, I certainly wouldn’t be buying anything unnecessarily.
I’ve also organised items into ‘themes’ for special play activities for say Easter, or to create a trip to the farm on his tuff tray.
How often should you rotate the toys?
At this moment in time, I’m not too sure. Most bloggers I follow tend to do either fortnightly, monthly or 6 weekly. Most don’t fully remove and rotate toys either, just gently introduce new ones, one by one.
In the current situation we all find ourselves in, I’m going to try a full rotation weekly.
Ace has never spent this amount of time solely at home or with us, so I don’t want to restrict his access to different toys too. I’m sure once life returns to some sort of normal the time frequency will lessen and it’ll become a monthly thing.
Verdict- Has it worked?
So, we are a few days into our first rotation, and so far so good! We’ve watched much less telly (thanks to the sunshine too!!) , had less tantrums and it’s kept us both more engaged and eager to play.
His reaction when we walked into the playroom was priceless, and that alone should spur me on when the time for change comes!
Will you be trying toy rotations? I’d fully recommend reading the following blogs The Hearty Home and Amy jane and Baby and watching the following IGTV video from Mothercould. I’ve found them all super helpful!
I’d love to hear how you get on, so please drop me a message on Instagram if you take the plunge!
Thinking of trying it out? Save the above image as a reminder!