We are all looking for mom hacks to make life just a little bit easier and let me tell you the very best one in my books is free play toy rotations! It takes the tiniest bit of work upfront to move the toys around. Then just watch the magic as old toys become new! Also by having less out to play with you may just find that not only are they playing with their toys longer, but the mess is so much less than when they had access to everything!
These are the toys that she has full access to all day long. I am lucky enough to stay at home with my daughter. That means that she has access to these toys from when she wakes up all the way to bedtime. I have found that by having a wide range of toys but a limited number it sparks more play. This is why we do free play toy rotations.
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Free play toy rotations happen in the living room
We have a set of black bookshelves and the bottom two shelves are all hers. This allows easy access as they are right at her height, but it also provides a place to put things away when she is done. We are still working on teaching her to put things away, and if you have any tips I am all ears!
We also have her pickler triangle and wobble board in the living room. These are GREAT gross motor open-ended free play toys and I can not recommend them enough!
She likes to have her Pikler along the window so she can use the window sill for more play and so she can see outside.
We Keep a small table for her puzzles in the living room as well.
This week we have out the heads to tail jigsaw puzzles. I decided to stay on theme and pulled three African animals for her to do. She really likes this puzzle but has a hard time with it on her own. So we work on one and a time, but she often isn’t satisfied with just one so I have the extra pieces nearby if she wants to do them too.
Free Play Toy Rotations include small world setups as well
We always have a stacker and some animals out but I don’t have small worlds set up every week, but when we do I use her play table.
This week we have an African savannah set up with our homemade sun stacker. If you want to know more about that beauty check out my post on it. I am super proud of it!
We just watched the Lion King (the animated original) last week and I thought it might be fun to add to that by pulling some of the matching animals out! So we have the elephant and calf, the giraffe and baby, the cheetah and cub, the zebra, a baboon, the lion, and a flamingo!
A small world set up just isn’t right without some rocks. We picked out some of the larger ones to boarder the watering hole as well as a big rock for a makeshift pride rock. The watering hole as well as the grass and mud our just felt sheets I cut into kidney bean shapes. I added a couple of aquarium plants for a little bit of foliage. I really want to find some other types of plants I feel like I am always resorting to these. As a grassland base for the whole set up, I used the gold play silk
The Main Event : Our Play Shelves
Play Silks – I feel like such a broken record but our play silks are one of our most used toys. For her birthday we added three new colors, gold, red, and purple
Musical Instruments – we are currently working on figuring out how a harmonica works. These don’t get a lot of consistent play but she will get them out if we are having a dance party.
Green Toys Bus – She has just learned the Wheels on the Bus song so I thought this might be fun to get out. Her favorite verses are the wheels and the horn.
Magnatiles – These are definitely a family favorite. She is still figuring out how to independently build with them but she loves to help me and zak build and of course, she loves to knock them all down. Her currernt favorite are the mirrored tiles. She got those for her birthday and that was the day I learned that she knew the word mirror…lol
Toolset – This is another birthday present and she has the nails figured out. She’s a little confused by the nuts and bolts. If you have any tips on how to teach that fine motor skill I would love some insight. We have had nuts and bolts for a long time and she just isn’t getting it…
Thimbles – These are from our DIY loose parts set. I wanted to invite her thread these so I provided a couple of pipe cleaners and she did it once and has touched them since. So I don’t know if that means it’s just too easy or if she would just rather play with something else.
Horses – Bitty is currently obsessed with horses. Her main birthday present from her dad and I is a horse and doll figure. I did toy rotations on Monday but her actual birthday wasn’t until Wednesday and I wanted to leave space to put out the new horse so I thought why not just have a tray of horses?! She loved it and she also LOVES her new Spirit horse.
The Big Baskets
We also have two large baskets. One is for all her baby doll stuff and she is into this basket multiple times a day. Babies are her number one toy I think.
The other basket has her building blocks. Right now we have some vintage wooden blocks that we actually found at a flea market!
Toddler Free play toy rotations
Do you do free play toy rotations with your toddlers or do they have access to everything? I shudder to think of the mess I would end up with if she had it all at once!
If you do rotate how often do you rotate? I am thinking of changing to just once a month with maybe a little change here or there if she isn’t playing with something. Let me know what your system is!
if you want to know about toy rotations and see her playing with any of it make sure and follow me on Instagram I usually do a quick tour the day of rotation as well as daily life over there!