So often I get asked about our toy rotation. This is something I started a few years ago to eliminate an overwhelming amount of stuff around my kids to get bored with. Each time we rest their toy rotation, it’s like Christmas – they get so excited to see things that they haven’t in a while. Plus, it challenges their creativity when it comes to finding new ways to play with things that they have loved in the past. As a mom, it makes it easier to organize and store things, too. I’m going to break it down into ages for you to see what we have loved most at different ages.
I also want to mention that I do both a soft rotation and a full rotation. Even though my kids are responsible for cleaning up their playroom most of the time, a soft rotation allows me to do a quick mom clean and put toys in a new spot. I also remove any random pieces that ended up finding their way to the playroom. Sometimes I’ll even switch easy furniture pieces like the Nugget and the rocking chair, or switch books from a large bookshelf to a small basket.
A full rotation takes about 15 minutes and is still an easy habit to keep up with if you have a good system. In a full rotation, I’m clearing everything out, wiping all surfaces (including those cubby corners), putting away old toys, and grabbing new toys for the playroom. A good rule of thumb is 6-8 toys a week per age group!
Anything that doesn’t get reached for after 1-2 rotations gets donated!
- Stacking Rings: This is really great for starting to work on those fine motor skills as the baby is starting to sit up and reach.
- Play Mat: This has been a favorite of ours! It’s a great tummy time option. I love the different shapes and colors for sensory stimulation.
- Play Tunnel: This is a great option for babies beginning to crawl!
- Balls: Add these to a bin or even a felt ball pit for hours of endless fun.
- Musical Instruments: For babies starting to reach, these are great for cause/effect. Plus, it’s just cute to see them making music.
- Boat Stacking Toy: Another favorite of ours for fine motor skills! These can even go in the bath.
- Tissue box pulling toy: We all know babies love the simplest things, but this actually helps with the pincher grasp! Ari loves doing this, it helps weird that pincher grasp.
1 Years Old
- Gathre Arcs – As your babies start to explore and climb, these arcs make for a soft climbing course that even your oldest kids can enjoy! I also love the color combos!
- Matching Egg Set – This is so cute!! My kids loved matching the shapes in the eggs. More durable than Easter eggs (which all kids love opening and closing so much) and actually encourages learning!
- Simple Puzzle: For a younger 1-year-old a full puzzle can be challenging so these single puzzle pieces are perfect to help your child build confidence and practice for full puzzles.
- Farm Animals Puzzle – This puzzle has chunky knobs, perfect for little hands just learning fine motor skills!
- Wooden Stacking Blocks – I love having these as an introduction to building blocks; they also include the alphabet!
- Soft Dolls – This age is when they start to become more aware of others around them. Introduce dolls in a soft way with this set of 6.
2 Years Old
For both this age and the older 3-4-year-olds, I always allow access to books, crafts, our dollhouse, and cars/trucks. These don’t always stay in the playroom; oftentimes the kids get creative where they like to play with them.
- Pikler Set – This is a great age to introduce the Pikler set! It’s so much fun to climb, crawl under, rock on – the possibilities are endless!
- Barn Set – This structured activity challenges their creative thinking. You can swap the animals in and out (we love the pigs and horses) and even include a play ride-on horse to keep it thematic.
- Wooden Tea Set – Another structured activity and a fun addition to the play kitchen!
- Trucks & Airplanes: I always like to add an open-ended basket for the kids to decide what they want to do with it, but often times it is trucks and airplanes. Sometimes it’s silks or normal blocks!
- Shapes Puzzle – Perfect for introducing shapes!
- School bus: I really don’t know what it is about this school bus but both kids love it and play for 10+ minutes. Alethea sings with it, Ari places the little people in and out and it keeps them busy so I’m happy.
- Peg Toy: Amazing for practicing fine motor placement! This is a big one for ages 2-3 especially.
- Sensory Bin – This one is perfect for both 2-3-year-olds! You can add other sensory items like dry rice, sand, or even beans!
- Kitchen Tower – Not a toy, but we use it so much I had to include it! All ages love this thing, but they really start getting comfortable with it around the age of 2.
3 Years Old
- Wooden Blocks: Blocks are age-appropriate for both the 2-3 year-olds and the 4-5-year-olds.
- Colored Peg People: My kids didn’t love these, but they are great for imaginative play on the blocks.
- Plastic Animals: These look very real and the kids do everything with them! From lining them up to making them coffee! A great open-ended option. I linked my favorite ones because they have both the mom & baby!
- Magnatiles – These are so much fun and the possibilities are endless!
- Geometric Colored Blocks: I’m not sure if you can see it from the photo, but these blocks have the middle cut out with see-through colored plastic so when you hold them up to the light it looks almost neon and bright! Super cute and endless possibilities on what your kids can do with them.
- Puzzle Toy: This puzzle is honestly very challenging- you have to twist and move the pieces to make them fit, and each piece has a specific spot. I’ve had to sit with Alethea and work through the frustration with encouragement and breathing.
- Flash Cards with Reading Blocks – Kick off reading with these matching cards and letter sets!
- Pretend Play Activities – I like to rotate between things like the builder’s set and the cleaning set. My kids love having “jobs” in their pretend play.
- Dinosaur Costume – This is on repeat when it’s in the rotation. My son loves wearing it and pretending to be a dino!
4-5 Years Old
In this age group, I always include blocks of some sort, trains/people/cars, and dress-up. The play kitchen is always out as well. I’ll change out some of the food or accessories that go with it, but it’s available for longer than the smaller toys.
- Art Coloring Pad: This is perfect for your little painters! It’s mess-free for paints, markers, and more. Super easy to clean! Don’t forget the smocks, too.
- Dino Kit: This was a gift that Ari got and the kids really enjoy it. It has all the dinosaurs & THE NAMES!!! I don’t know about you, but I don’t have all the dinosaur’s names memorized and Alethea frequently asks so I have to ask Google and it’s a whole process- these make my life so much easier because I just need to read it.
- Faces: These pegs have different faces and I’ll sit down with the kids and explain what each face is and we’ll make the faces back at each other! It’s super cute.
- Next up is the doctor’s kit!! It’s all wooden pieces that have everything from X-ray charts to a stethoscope and teeth-cleaning tools. Add some dolls or animals for endless fun.
- These cylinder blocks have different depths and sizes so it’s a challenge to figure out what goes where.
- Wooden double-sided magnetic board: Often I put half farm animals and half dinosaurs so the kids have to categorize them, but you can also use alphabet letters or numbers for an extra challenge.
- Picnic Activity: I love having a structured activity that challenges their pretend play. It’s amazing to see what they come up with!
- Double-Sided Drawing Board: Not only perfect for practicing their writing skills but getting their artsy whims in!
- Colored Blocks: A little more challenging than the wooden blocks, these are able to connect and it requires them to use both problem-solving skills and creativity.