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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Rotating Toys

       I love my giant classroom. Last year I decided to rotate the toys in my classroom every month.  The only toys that stayed in our room all year were wooden blocks and art supplies (not really toys but something the kids can use during free play).  I simply couldn't ever part with either of those two things:)
       An essential element of my rotating toy program was that I had far fewer toys in my classroom at any one time.  In the past I always had to deal with kids dumping the bins that had small toys as well as feeling that kids weren't playing with toys I knew they would enjoy because they were stuck always doing the same thing.  Both those concerns were so diminished by having "new" things to play with each month.


       I first decided which "big" items I would have in my class for the month.  Examples of big items would be the  kitchen set, store set, puppet theater, dolls and doll furniture, lego table, dress up clothes, big cardboard blocks.  Our giant cardboard castle would also qualify I guess.  Each month I would set up 2 or 3 of these items on one side of our classroom.  I would then add other toys to be played with on the tables and rugs around the room (such as cars, trains, play dough, doll houses, games, puzzles, etc.) I was careful that I always had different types of toys... toys for imaginative play, toys for building, toys that required small motor coordination and others that required gross motor skills. I also made sure that some toys were appropriate for quiet play or could be played alone while other toys encouraged playing together.

The toys that were out also reflected what unit  we were working on that month.

Lots of retelling materials were out during our Fairy Tale unit.
 We had LOTS of toy dinosaurs to play with during our dinosaur unit.
       I loved the kids excitement regarding the "new" toys each month and their willingness to try new things (and actually play with different kids depending upon what toys were out).  The kids knew that if I had removed a favorite toy it would return in a month or two.

Finally, during the last month, the children got to vote for the toys they wanted in our room.

       I am very lucky that our school has lots of toys (many of which weren't being used before I started rotating toys) and an extra storage room.  However, a lot of the rotating involved sharing toys with other classrooms and that could be done with fewer toys and less extra storage.  This summer, we are trying to work on better organizing our school's toys so that it is even easier for everyone to rotate toys throughout the year.  

       I really recommend that you try both rotating toys and having less toys in the room.  I certainly plan to do it again this year!


  1. What a great idea, Lyn! Sharing toys with other teachers would give everyone more variety.

  2. Hi Connie, I was surprised by how thrilled the kids were to come in at the beginning of each month to see how the classroom had changed.

  3. That's a cool idea. I can see why your kids were so excited :) It's like Christmas once a month!
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