I have had an idea rolling around in the back of my brain for a while. I wanted to try and do a rainbow toy rotation and boy it didn’t disappoint! I love all the bright colors so much!
Rainbow Toy Rotation for Two
Bitty is 3.5 and Bean is 13 months, but she has been walking for three months. It still feels wrong to call her a toddler but that’s what she does. She toddles all over the place…
It has been an interesting challenge as Bean has aged and become more interested in the toys that are out on the shelf. While there are always items specifically for her, more often than not they both end up playing with everything unless it’s something that Bean is absolutely not allowed to use.
Our Livingroom Pulls Double Duty as the Playroom
Our playroom is our main living room and the heart of the main floor. It is quickly becoming more and more playroom, but I am trying to keep at least a little of my own aesthetic in the space.
We have the toy shelves and play kitchen along one wall of the room. I keep larger baskets for building blocks and baby dolls on the floor in the corners.
I have a large mirror mounted on the hearth that Miss Bean loves to look at herself in, it also serves the same purpose for the 3-year-old who loves to watch herself dance, and on either side of that, we have the play silks and the book shelf.
Our gross motor toys just sorta move around the room as they see fit. They do tend to stay more on the far side of the room to allow for more floor space in front of the toy shelves.
Keeping the playroom in the main portion of the house instead of shoved into a bedroom or hidden away in the basement helps keep the mess under control. I can’t forget about the mess or just close the door, it right there every time I walk into the kitchen. It also means it’s more convenient with little ones in the house. You can leave them to play in the living room and go let the dog out or pop something in the microwave without being too far from the action.
I will say that other than the fact that I am “living” in our living room for a major part of the day it doesn’t much resemble a traditional living room anymore. One whole wall is dedicated to toys and books, we have gross motor toys scattered around the floor, and there is no TV in the room. The mantel, general decor, and furniture are the only things that are really “adult”
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What Playroom Toy Rotation would be Complete without Some Gross Motor Options?!
As I said above Bean started walking at 10 months, so gross motor is a big deal around here right now.
Currently, we have the push wagon which incidentally didn’t get used a whole lot before she was stable enough to walk without it…but I foresee it getting plenty of use in the future. I think she will love pushing it around outside this summer! I tried flipping our wobble board (not this exact brand as I can’t find ours, but very similar) so that Bean could experience the wobbling and she seems to find it fun! She walks over it and goes “woah”
Without a doubt, one of the toys that gets used every day is our nugget couch. Their current favorite setup is a long tunnel set up with the Pikler Triangle in the middle. Nugget couches are still on backorder but I think they are shipping out in April so if you are still waiting to pull the trigger now might be a great time to do so!
We love this thing and will undoubtedly be getting another at some point. The girls are on it every day in some way. They are not currently rearranging it much on their own, but Bitty will ask for her favorite setups and I have found a few good ideas on Pinterest for when I need inspiration for set-ups!
Playroom Toy Rotation system for a three-and-a-half-year-old and a one-year-old
I custom rotate the girl’s toys every two weeks. I have about 16 things out at a time, not including the gross motor toys, stuffed animals, and books.
Things that rarely rotate out are…
Building toys – they rotate every other month or so between magnatiles, wooden blocks, and Lego Duplos
Babydolls – occasionally I will put a particular doll on display with a specific accessory like a baby doll feeding set or diaper changing set, but on average the baby dolls are just around and they toated around all the time.
Play kitchen – I do like to seasonally decorate or set up thematic play using the play kitchen but the basic pans, coffee pot, and food are always there. For our rainbow toy rotation, I tried to add a few rainbow touches and had I been more prepared a rainbow mural backsplash would have been SUPER cute but I just didn’t have myself pulled together enough for that!
Play Silks – These are stored on a coat rack now and I am still not sold on it…super convenient but not very organized or pretty to look at.
It’s good to have goals in Toy Rotations
For our free play toy rotations, I try to always include a fine motor toy, some kind of musical instrument, a puzzle, and a loose parts invitation of some kind. Then we almost always have some small world play and some dramatic play as well.
Bean has 2 or 3 toys that are specifically there for her as well as her discovery basket. I have lots of examples of different discovery baskets that I make for Bean on my Instagram if you want to see more ideas!
From there I will fill in with just some random toys that haven’t been used in a while. If I have extra space on the shelf I try and include a sit-down game and some kind of art/creativity toy.
Finding the right shelf can be a lot of work!
When you start thinking about toy rotations one of the first things you have to consider is the shelf that you will display your toys on. Sure you can use just about any shelf as a toy shelf, but if you want something more interesting than a cube shelf you are going to either be waiting ages for the right piece to show up on the marketplace, or you’ll be paying bank for brand new shelves. Especially if you need more than one.
We ended up DIYing our shelves because I wanted something that would accommodate taller toys, as well as feeling open and I will be honest I don’t LOVE them. I would like the shelves to be deeper as most of our trays hang over the edge. I also feel like they are just missing a little personality… but I can’t quite figure out what I want to do to them.
We ALWAYS have books on hand
We did also build a smaller matching shelf for books in the living room. We keep a selection of our board books, some of our large format books, and then our library books on this shelf. I also tend to display a book of the week on the top. Usually, something seasonal or topical based on what we are learning in homeschool. For our rainbow toy rotation, I opted for Colorful Creatures, it seemed like the perfect rainbowy colorful book! Bitty enjoys naming all the different types of animals and miss Bean loves looking at all the real pictures!
How I present our toys on our shelves for our rainbow toy rotation
The real star of the show for my rainbow toy rotation isn’t even really the toys… it’s these beautiful rainbow rope baskets! I fell in LOVE with Maple and Lark Promise rope baskets that are just the perfect size for playroom toy rotations and come in so many beautiful colors! They are currently awaiting a huge shipment of baskets for a big restock and debut of some new colors and I am not very patiently waiting for the restock to add more to my rainbow!
I am an affiliate of Maple and Lark so if you are interested in some baskets of your own I would greatly appreciate it if you would use my link and help out my basket addiction! They also have a great selection of toys from brands you already love, acrylic storage jars, and a line of exclusive toys as well!
Take a detailed look at our rainbow toy rotation for a three-and-a-half-year-old and a one-year-old
Wooden Ball Run – A beauty to look at and to hear! I love the way the wooden balls sound when they roll down this ball run! My Dad built ours, so I obviously can’t link this one, but I will find a couple of other options that we were considering before we received ours. A large one and a smaller one
Plan Toys Doctor Kit – Such a sweet little kit for the little doctor in your house. It’s great for role play and you can add a few real-life additions to add to the fun!
Australian Animals – This is one of our animal habitats that I feel is lacking a little bit. They have such unique animals over there and I want to have a diverse selection but I just don’t know what to include. If you’re from Australia or have spent some time over there, what do I need to add? We have a kangaroo, a quokka, koala bear, dingo, platypus, and a frilled lizard.
Mini Construction Trucks – This little set of trucks gets a surprising amount of play in our house. Neither girl is particularly interested in any kind of vehicle, but these always get played with
Baby Toys – I have a couple of classic baby toys here with the Lovevery tissue box and the rolling cylinder rattle. Bean adores the tissue box and immediately pulls every cloth out like it’s her mission in life. 10/10 recommend you have some kind of tissue box for your tiny toddler to play with. The rolling cylinder rattle has never been much of a hit for Bean. I think it’s beautiful and this was sort of its last hurrah to see if she would play with it. Sadly I think it’s heading into storage.
Green Discovery Basket – I have been loving creating discovery baskets for Bean! I’ve themed seasonal ones, book-based ones, and we are about halfway through our color-themed ones!
Coin box – a classic Montessori baby toy! I was surprised by how quickly Bean figured this out, and she fell in love with it! That said she does get a little frustrated by the drawer right now so I think I will present it without the drawer for a little while. the box can with a few coins but I thought it would be fun to add our DIY coins and rings of all the blue tones for a loose parts invitation and Bean has loved toting around the rings!
Rainbow Roll-Up Piano – This is a great way to incorporate a piano in a home that just doesn’t have space for a normal piano! Both girls enjoy pushing buttons on it and Bitty especially loves the music mode so she can dance.
Space Polly Pocket – Do you remember Polly Pocket? I know I had quite the little collection as a kid and I really enjoyed them so I am thrilled that they are making a comeback. Polly got a little bigger and now has flexible legs but she is still super fun and the compacts are still so cute! Bitty is all about space and actually says she wants to be an astronaut when she gets bigger!
HABA Pallet of Pegs – This a great posting activity for Bean! As she grows I will present this with the rings for color matching and stacking but right now we are happy with just the pegs. That said we have already lost one of the orange pieces…
Grimms Conical Tower – I am linking the circular tower, but you can still find the triangle one at small shops! This is a toy that in all actuality is more decore than toy. I purchased this before Bitty was born knowing that I wanted that beautiful toy on display. We get it down occasionally and this week was the first time I introduced it to Bean. She loved pulling all the pieces off and we had fun stacking the rights from the blue basket on the dowel. She’s not ready to actually stack the triangles yet but I was presently surprised how quickly she figured out the rings!
Beanbags – Bean received these homemade beanbags from her aunt for Christmas and when you start adding them up it’s a really nice weight in the basket and perfect for some maximum effort work for her. She is also figuring out how to throw things and these are a real good size and weight for that!
Rainbow Toy Rotation Loose Parts Invitations
I pulled out our DIY wooden loose parts that I recently finished painting (post coming soon) displayed in our Maple and Lark acrylic jars for our rainbow toy rotation. These jars are great! Thick acrylic with a screw top, that Bitty can do but Bean cant. It looks pretty and it’s functional organization. There are few things that speak to my heart more than that. <3
I really want to start encouraging more loose parts play. It speaks to my heart so much! Bitty still doesn’t reach for them very often so I am having to invite her to use them for various games and activities. It’s my hope that one day she will just get them down on her own and start arranging them or cooking with them or anything really. That’s the beauty of open-ended toys!
One invitation that we did in our rainbow toy rotation was using our DIY loose parts to do some color-matching with our DIY spinning color wheel. Bitty is super interested in color matching right now and oddly enough I have a loose part that matches each part of the color wheel!
What Playroom Toy Rotation would be complete without a play kitchen?!
Bean discovered the Play kitchen a few months ago and she LOVES being up there.
We LOVE Learning Resources play-food. It’s realistic, durable, and plastic. So that means it is easy to clean, can get dropped, and won’t break or hurt when it gets swung in a baby fist at your face! Our coffee pot and mugs are our most used kitchen toys for sure. But the picnic set and ice cream cones are tied for a close second!
Tiny Toddler Specifics for our Rainbow Toy Rotation
It goes without saying that Bean is in the mouthing stage, so our playroom toy rotations lean slightly younger than Bitty would ideally like.
Most of the items I put out have been altered to make them safer or I have contained the smaller pieces in a Maple and Lark Jar. (Currently, they are out of stock, but they will receive a large order this spring so check back on the jars in April/May.) This allows for us to have them out and with supervision, Bean can play with them too. The rest of the time I won’t have to worry about them disappearing in her mouth.
I Love a Good Discovery Basket and So Does Bean
Bean has a discovery basket that I rotate every couple of weeks. This is simply a small basket or tray that has a collection of a few items free for the baby or young toddler to explore. They are usually based around a theme of some kind like bathroom items, items all the same color, or items all from nature. Really anything that your baby might find interesting.
We are about halfway through color-themed baskets. The colors are really more for me than her, I know at her age she likely isn’t really grasping the concept that all the toys are the same color but I have fun theming them so that’s enough for me! This has been super fun to see what items really spark her interest and it’s a fun challenge for me to round up the contents. Green was super simple to round up! If you don’t want to miss any of the baskets make sure to follow me on Instagram where I always make sure to share them!
Green discovery Basket contents
- Sensory ball
- Fisher-price Surprise Inside circle
- Mardi gras necklace – she LOVES these necklaces
- Dimple Wobble
- Wooden Rattle
- Grimms Green nesting bowls
- Avacado Rattle
- Green Glittery bow
All stored in our lime Maple and Lark Promise basket
Our Living Room Playroom will Never be Complete
When it comes to your playroom toy rotations, don’t be afraid to rotate and rearrange the furniture too! A fresh layout in the room always brings a little life into the room, especially if you have a bit of cabin fever from being stuck at home all the time!
In our house, there is also the fact that Miss Bean is growing into a busy tiny toddler and constantly changing her needs so we have to accommodate for that as well!
One other thing you may have noticed is that I am leaving the top shelf of one of the toy shelves mostly empty. If Bitty has something that she knows Bean can’t play with, like puzzles, or she simply doesn’t want Bean to wreck her lego build will slide the wobble board over and stand there to play. It’s up out of Bean’s reach and allows her somewhere to play with toys that otherwise would have to stay put away.
What would your rainbow playroom toy rotations look like?
I think this would be a fun challenge in any playroom. Toys are so colorful and I bet if you looked hard enough you could build the rainbow in your playroom too! I would love to see if you do a rainbow toy rotation! Tag me on Instagram so we can chat about playrooms and toy rotations!