Tips for Parents

How To Rotate Toys – Toy Minimalism

I was 12 years old when my oldest sister had my first nephew and 15 when she had my second nephew. She still lived at home with us during this time.

They got so many toys for Christmas one year that some had to be stored on the side porch. When the following Christmas rolled around, I remember thinking she could probably wrap up the toys on the side porch and they wouldn’t even know they got them last year and would be just as excited.

That is the moment I became a toy minimalist. I never bought any child a toy, until I had my own. I was notorious for buying my nieces and nephews clothes as gifts.

Toys are so important for a child’s development, but too many is over sensory. Also, too many toys can limit a child’s imagination and improvisational skills.

My boss loved to have me hang posters and informational announcements. She wanted to help as many people as possible. The problem is that when there is too much to look at, they won’t look at anything. Back to their phones they go. We had to be strategic about what we hung up and where we hung it.

That same concept applies to toys. If kids have too many toys then they will choose one and leave the rest. You have to be strategic about what toys they have available to them.



Toy Rotation

In our home we practice a toy rotation. We fill their toy bin with a few things and in a couple weeks or months, when we notice they are not really playing with the toys anymore, we put them away and put their other toys out. In a couple more weeks or months, we swap them back out with the first set of toys.

Toy Organization

young girl in front of lego wall

We do not use a bottomless pit toy bin. You know what I mean. A plastic storage bin from Target. You just throw everything in there and close the lid. Out of sight out of mind, until the next day when they take them all out again.

We actually use our diaper organizer, for now, that came with our pack-n-play. It is perfect for organizing their toys and is the perfect size for our two 1 year olds. It has two small compartments on each side and one large compartment in the middle.

In two of the smaller compartments we put stuffed animals and baby dolls. In one small compartment we put books in and in the other we put electronic toys. When it is time to rotate, these toys get swapped with others of their kind.

The larger compartment holds various toys. Currently, it holds a small assortment of balls, a shape sorter bucket, and 2 teething toys. Before the swap, it held a toy piggy bank, a shape work bench with hammer, and teething toys.

Toys Not To Swap

 toy dinosaurs against yellow background with the word fun

Not all toys should get swapped, but these are toys they have very few of and are very beneficial at this age.

Our teething toys stay. At this stage, they are always teething and always in need of teething toys, especially since they still put everything in their mouth.

Two other toys that are always available to our girls are their V-tech walker and their Fisher Price ride-on puppy. These toys are the only we have of their kind and offer a lot of developmental benefits.

Toy Clean Up

We all know getting kids to clean up their toys at the end of the day is a task that involves moaning and groaning. Toy minimalism makes this a short task with less moaning and groaning.

Let us know your experience with toys in the comments below. Are you a toy minimalist?

Follow me on social media

6 thoughts on “How To Rotate Toys – Toy Minimalism

  1. This is so true, over the Christmas period as you can imagine my news feed on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram was full of videos my friends children unwrapping their Christmas presents, I watched them amazed that because the children had such a mountain of presents they were just unwrapping one and without even really looking at what the toy was their concentration went straight to the next thing that was wrapped up. 

    I totally agree if there are less toys they will actually get so much more from them and then when the rotation happens the cycle begins again! 

    1. Thanks for your comment Holly. As I was reading it, you had me thinking that maybe spacing out gifts over the holiday would be a good day. Give them an opportunity to really appreciate what they’ve received. I don’t understand the mountain of gifts thing. It does look pretty under the tree though. 

  2. These are some great ideas to get out of that toy clutter that we all seem to battle with. Unfortunately, children don’t play with all their toys and tend to have their favorites that they use over and over. 

    I did the toy box thing, but most of the toys at the bottom never got touched, and when it was unpacked, it was always a problem to get them to put everything back.

    I think I am going to go with your toy rotation idea, as in that way I can hide most out of sight and just have them focus on a few at a time for a month or so before swapping them with the next lot.

    Thanks for all the wonderful idea’s here and I am sure that many parents are going to find these really helpful.

    1. My mom also has a huge toy box for our girls when they’re at her house. They don’t even have the capability to dig to the bottom. I think it just makes her feel good that she has options for them. Truth is they would probably play a lot longer if they had a few options to choose from. 

      I’m glad you like the idea of toy rotation. I hope it works out for you Michel.

  3. I must say that this article is very informative and in some case, educational. I have a cousin who is 6 years old and he enjoys toys. My brother-in-law is a toy minimalist but I really like to buy it for my little champion. I must agree that you are definitely right, when a kid has so many toys, he only chooses one favorite and that’s it, in some case it is not bad to be toy minimalist.

    1. Thanks Daniel. We all love to buy kids toys but it’s a disappointment when we realize they don’t like our toy anymore. There are so many other things we could do with that money that could benefit them. My friends like to buy their kids experiences now. I love that. Exposure to different things really gets their minds wandering all the things they could achieve. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *