Rotating Toys- Young children, even babies, sometimes get bored of great toys. That does not necessarily mean that you should get rid of your Montessori blocks or farm animal toys immediately! There is a belief that if you rotate your child’s toys that they will become interested in the individual toys again at a later time. Bringing out 1,3,5 or 10 toys at a time for a month and changing them periodically can keep your child stimulated, creative, learning and more. Let’s dive into toy rotation and why this may work in your home.

Why do parents rotate toys

When your child stops playing with a toy, you should give it away, right? Not necessarily! Your baby or child might just need a change of scene. Rotating toys is a strategy that many parents use to enhance their child’s play experience and development. There are several reasons why parents may choose to rotate toys:

Maintaining Interest:

Children can quickly lose interest in toys that they play with regularly. By rotating toys, parents can bring out “new” items periodically, sparking renewed interest and curiosity in the child.

Novelty Factor:

Introducing new toys or bringing back ones that haven’t been played with for a while adds a sense of novelty. Children are often excited by new things, and this can stimulate their imagination and creativity.

Skill Development:

Different toys cater to different developmental skills. By rotating toys, parents can ensure that children have access to a variety of toys that promote various aspects of their development, such as fine motor skills, cognitive abilities, and social interaction.

Reducing Clutter:

Children can easily become overwhelmed by too many toys. Rotating toys allows parents to keep the play area organized and clutter-free while still providing a variety of play options.

Extended Lifespan of Toys:

Rotating toys can extend the lifespan of toys by reducing wear and tear. By limiting the time each toy spends in active circulation, parents can help ensure that toys remain in good condition for longer periods.

Learning Opportunities:

Introducing toys in a strategic manner allows parents to create learning opportunities. For example, a set of toys focused on building or problem-solving skills can be introduced at the right developmental stage.

Parental Involvement:

Rotating toys provides an opportunity for parents to be actively involved in their child’s play. Parents can use the rotation process to assess their child’s interests, preferences, and developmental needs.

Appreciation for Possessions:

By not having all toys available at once, children may develop a greater appreciation for the toys they have. They learn to engage more deeply with each toy, exploring its features and possibilities.

Overall, rotating toys is a practical and effective way for parents to manage their child’s play environment while promoting diverse aspects of development and fostering a positive relationship with toys.

When should you start rotating toys

The timing for starting to rotate toys can depend on the individual child’s developmental stage and interests. However, many parents begin implementing toy rotation strategies when their child is around 6 months to 1 year old. Here are some general guidelines:

Around 6 Months:

At this age, infants start to explore and interact with toys. While they may not play with a wide variety of toys, parents can begin introducing the concept of rotation by occasionally swapping out the toys in the play area.

1 Year and Above:

As a child approaches the age of 1, their play becomes more intentional and they develop preferences for certain toys. This is a good time to establish a more structured toy rotation system. Parents can observe which types of toys their child is drawn to and rotate accordingly.

Toddler Stage (1-3 Years):

Toddlers are often more active in their play and may benefit from a more frequent rotation of toys to keep things interesting. Rotating toys every week or two can be a good starting point.

Preschoolers (3-5 Years):

Children in the preschool years are likely to have a broader range of interests and can engage in more complex play. Toy rotation can continue to be beneficial at this stage, with adjustments made based on the child’s evolving preferences and developmental needs.

Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and it’s essential to pay attention to your child’s cues and adapt the rotation schedule accordingly. If you notice that your child is consistently engaged with certain toys, you might extend the time those toys are available before rotating them. On the other hand, if your child seems to lose interest quickly, more frequent rotations may be beneficial.

Ultimately, the goal is to provide a stimulating and varied play environment that supports your child’s development while avoiding overwhelming them with too many options at once.

What is this 10 toy rule?

The “10 toy rule” is a concept popularized by Simplicity Parenting, a book written by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross. The idea behind the rule is to simplify a child’s play environment by limiting the number of toys available at any given time. The specific number 10 is not rigid; it serves as a general guideline. The key is to keep the number of toys manageable and avoid overwhelming children with too many choices.

Here are the basic principles of the 10 toy rule:

  1. Limit Choices: By keeping the number of toys to a minimum, children are not faced with an overwhelming array of options. This can help them focus, engage more deeply with the toys they have, and foster creativity.
  2. Reduce Clutter: Having fewer toys helps create a more organized and clutter-free play space. It can make it easier for children to find and enjoy their toys without being distracted by a chaotic environment.
  3. Encourage Imagination: A smaller selection of toys encourages children to use their imagination and creativity. They may find new ways to play with familiar toys and explore different aspects of their environment.
  4. Promote Quality Over Quantity: The emphasis is on the quality of play rather than the quantity of toys. Parents can carefully choose toys that are versatile, open-ended, and conducive to various types of play.
  5. Easier Cleanup: With fewer toys, cleanup becomes more manageable for both children and parents. It can teach children responsibility for their belongings and contribute to a sense of order.
  6. Avoid Consumerism: Limiting the number of toys helps counter the culture of consumerism that can lead to an excess of material possessions. Children learn to appreciate and value what they have.

It’s important to note that the 10 toy rule is a guideline, and parents can adapt it to suit their child’s needs and preferences. The goal is not to enforce a strict limit but rather to foster a thoughtful and intentional approach to toy selection and management. Parents can periodically rotate toys to keep the play environment fresh and engaging while still adhering to the principles of simplicity and mindful parenting.T

Toy Rotation Categories for One-Year-Olds

When implementing toy rotation for one-year-olds, it’s helpful to consider a variety of categories to ensure a well-rounded play experience that supports their development. Here are some suggested toy rotation categories for one-year-olds:

Sensory Toys:

  • Soft textured toys
  • Squeeze toys
  • Textured balls
  • Fabric books

Fine Motor Skills:

  • Stacking cups
  • Nesting toys
  • Large building blocks
  • Shape sorters

Cause and Effect:

  • Simple puzzles
  • Push-and-pull toys
  • Toys with buttons and switches
  • Musical toys

Imagination and Pretend Play:

  • Soft dolls or stuffed animals
  • Play kitchen utensils
  • Toy phone or keys
  • Dress-up items (e.g., hats, scarves)

Large Motor Skills:

  • Ride-on toys
  • Push or pull toys
  • Tunnel for crawling through
  • Soft play mats

Creativity and Art:

  • Large, washable crayons
  • Finger paints (under supervision)
  • Playdough and simple molds
  • Crayons and coloring books

Exploration and Discovery:

  • Child-safe mirrors
  • Simple musical instruments (e.g., shakers)
  • Discovery bottles with interesting items inside
  • Magnifying glass for observing objects

Soft Plush Toys:

  • Soft, cuddly stuffed animals
  • Plush toys with different textures
  • Comfort items like a soft blanket or lovey


  • Board books with large, colorful pictures
  • Interactive books with textures or flaps
  • Rhyming or repetitive books

Outdoor Play:

  • Bucket and shovel for sand play
  • Small slide or climbing structure
  • Soft balls for rolling and throwing
  • Outdoor-safe ride-on toys

Remember to observe your child’s preferences and developmental stage when selecting toys for each category. Rotate the toys regularly to maintain their interest and keep the play environment dynamic. Additionally, always prioritize safety by choosing age-appropriate toys and supervising playtime.

10 Steps For Rotating Toys For A Young Child or a Baby

Rotating toys can be a straightforward and organized process with a few simple steps. Here’s a guide on how to rotate toys easily:


  • Begin by assessing your child’s current interests, developmental stage, and any emerging skills. Take note of their favorite toys and activities.

Sort and Categorize:

  • Group the existing toys into categories based on their type or developmental focus. Common categories include sensory toys, fine motor skills toys, imaginative play items, etc.

Select Rotation Sets:

  • Choose a set of toys from each category to create the initial rotation. The number of toys in each set can depend on your preference and the available storage space. The idea is to have a manageable number that can be easily stored and brought out.


  • Invest in storage containers or bins to organize and store the toys not currently in use. Label the containers with the category or type of toys inside to make it easy to identify and rotate later.

Establish a Schedule:

  • Decide on a rotation schedule that works for you and your child. Common schedules include weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly rotations. The frequency depends on your child’s engagement level and your own preferences.

Rotate Toys:

  • At the scheduled time, swap the current set of toys with the ones in storage. This can be done all at once or gradually over a day or two, depending on your child’s routine.

Observe and Adjust:

  • Pay attention to how your child reacts to the newly introduced toys. If they show particular interest in a category, you might consider keeping those toys out a bit longer. Likewise, if a set of toys seems less engaging, be open to adjusting the rotation.

Maintain a Clutter-Free Play Area:

  • Keep the play area organized by putting away toys that are not part of the current rotation. This helps reduce clutter and makes it easier for your child to focus on the available toys.

Introduce New Additions:

  • As your child grows and develops new skills or interests, introduce new toys to the rotation sets. This ensures that the play environment evolves to meet their changing needs.

Enjoy the Process:

  • Remember that the goal is to enhance your child’s play experience and development. Enjoy the process of selecting, rotating, and observing your child’s reactions to different toys.

By following these steps and adapting the process to suit your child’s preferences, you can easily implement a toy rotation system that keeps playtime engaging and supports your child’s development.