Children can become overwhelmed when given too many choices, including having many toys available at one time. After a long winter spent indoors, you may find your children complaining of being bored, despite a room full of toys. Rotating the toys you make accessible to your children with a fresh set every few weeks can help them regain their interest and sustain their attention when playing.
Here are five tips to help you sort and rotate your child’s toys.
1. Clear out the clutter. Get rid of any broken toys or toys with missing parts.
2. Pack away for good. Pack away any toys that are no longer developmentally appropriate for your child. For example, if your child is three years old and you still have baby toys that are designed for grabbing and teething, you can pack those toys away.
3. Sort the remaining toys. Use the following categories as guidelines when sorting your toys:
- Gross motor — Toys that promote whole body movement, such as balls, tunnels, push toys, and ride on toys.
- Fine motor — Toys that encourage kids to use their hands, such as puzzles, board games, lacing beads, and blocks.
- Pretend play — Toys that encourage kids to use their imagination, such as dress-up clothes, cars, dolls, or stuffed animals.
- Timeless or favorite toys — These are the toys that your children never get tired of playing with or that you want available at all times. This might include books, crayons, Legos, a play kitchen, or a train set.
4. Create toy sets. Choose two or three toys from each category for a total of approximately ten toys. Remember, kids become overwhelmed with too many choices, so the goal is to reduce the number of toys available and increase your child’s attention to the toys available.
5. Provide your child with one set of toys at a time. Every two to three weeks, switch the toys out for a new set. Seeing “fresh” toys renews interest your kids had all along. Keep the unused toys out of sight in a closet, basement or garage. Out of sight, out of mind!