Pretend Play

How ‘Toy Rotation’ has kept me from burning all the toys in my House!


Or for a less dramatic title, how to organize toys (and get more use out of them) to foster independent play among toddlers and preschoolers.

The toy monsters been visiting our house a bit too much for my liking lately so I started reorganizing the Playroom, and realized this would make a useful post for anyone else going through the never ending clutter of toys in the house.

Straight way, let me just say, yes, the answer IS OWNING LESS!

Preschoolers and toddlers have a ridiculously short attention span, so when they have a room full of toys, they get overwhelmed. Personally for us, this usually means, either Sophia doesn’t play alone with anything or she takes everything out at once and is bored when she runs out of things pull.


I would really like her to learn to play by herself. Independent play is said to do wonderful things to our little ones’ brains’;

  • It encourages creativity and imaginative play

  • Heightens problem solving skills,  one of the most important tools (transferable skill) for success in the class room

  • It allows children to just ‘Play’! instead of every single activity turning into a teachable moment.


See, when I am in there with her all the time, showing her how to do something, trying to get her to play with what I think is the most beneficial toy for her advancement or as is my case most of the time, trying to make things perfect for an Instagram photo, I am stripping my child of the joy and wonder that is pure, unadulterated play.


Obviously, this is not to say I don’t ever sit down and play with her, personally sitting with my daughter in the playroom or in the park the whole day is my dream come true. Just tying to aim for a good balance here folks!

Slimey cooking for the dollies while Mommy makes Dinner


We make Independant play work for us with a daily hour long session, while I make dinner. I go in there with water and cuddles every so often, but for the most part she is left to her own devices. and she is so proud of it.

So, exactly how does one organize the ever growing mountain of toys?

Well after a great deal of research, I’ve decided the best way to go about it is to burn the whole thing down. (I am only half kidding!)

It’s as simple as TOY ROTATION.


toy rack

And this is how I did it, I took everything out of its current home and separated them into the following three Categories:


Next, I separated each category of toys into four piles. The number of piles obviously depends on the number of toys. Since we are trying hard to be more mindful of the things we own, I tried to limit the number of ‘piles’ to 4 and I store them in clear labelled containers.

These are the labels I made for the containers, and you can download them for free by clicking on the link below.

Toy Rotation Labels 1                                  Toy Rotation Labels 2


I take a set of tubs out every other Sunday, let Sophia open it and find her ‘New’ toys herself. Most of the time they are toys she hasn’t seen in about 2 months, which in the world of a pre-schooler is brand new!


This is what one set of toys usually looks like for us, and we try to use only these toys for 2 weeks.

week 2 toy pile
             Moving Toys                               Thinking Toys                                 Pretend Toys                                                                

The thing to remember is, Toy Rotation is ideal for toys that don’t get used very often, after the novelty wears off.

So, I make sure the cult favorites are always out. For my creative bee these are Playdough, Reading and Dress-up.

playdough tray

Toy Rotation does takes a little bit more time and effort on my part, especially in the beginning, but it pays off come cleaning time.

I hope it helps you as much as it has helped us, if you would like more information about Toy Rotation please leave a comment below and I shall try my best to help you.

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