And here it is, the much worked upon, much debated upon, TOY ROTATION! Super exciting, right? Well, if you are in charge of a million pieces that go with a hundred toys, a toy rotation is exactly what you need. Running the school means we need toys, of course– because they help build kiddos skills.
Isn’t more toys better, you may ask?? Lately I’ve been working on simplifying my life and belongings…children need the same simplification– it provides them with an opportunity to focus when they play. When the brain is focused it can better master the learning tasks at hand.
Plus you get the added benefit of forgotten toys popping up as a new and novel play item.
This is not only for preschools, as a parent you also need a toy rotation. Kids get sick of seeing the same thing- as you are also sick of cleaning up the same thing- day after day. How boring! Let’s liven it up!
I divided our toys into the areas of the Indoor Environment
- Manipulative/Fine Motor
- Dramatic Play
- blocks (duh)
- stringing beads
- And the always present Pink Tower
I have four rotations of BLOCKS.
My ART area is still being created, I’m waiting on a baby gate so the kiddos can go in and explore freely. I plan on changing out the materials daily. These include:
- drawing material (paper, crayons, markers)
- paints (finger, water colors, and accessories like brushes and sponges)
- 3D materials (play dough, clay, glue, etc)
- collage materials (feathers, buttons, yarn, etc)
- random tools (safety scissors, tape, staplers)
DRAMATIC PLAY is one area that I plan on beefing up once Halloween supplies go on sale at the end of the month. Within this area I have:
- play BBQ
- dress up
- IKEA farm
- food play (plastic and fabric fruits and veggies, pots, pans, utensils)
- play kitchen
I have two rotations for this area…
The NATURE/SCIENCE area is my personal favorite because of my science background. We have an aquarium with simple fish that we feed everyday. The kiddos love the algae-eater the most as he is exciting and slightly scary looking. Also in this area are:
- sensory bottles
- play animals
- living things (flowers, plants, etc.)
- nature matching cards
- basket of found items (seashells, rocks, wood, etc.)
It is always changing, but I have two rotations for this area of steadfast items.
The “tent” over top makes it super cozy.
The READING nook is the second favorite area for kiddos to hang out. I don’t leave out many books, only about 20. It is changed weekly so they are always getting new surprises.
It consists of:
- 20 books at time (10 board, 10 paper)
SO wonderful to see little, little ones interested in books. How cute is she?!?!
I have at least four rotations, sometimes five.
Near the BLOCKS area I have a MANIPULATIVES/FINE MOTOR area. Within it are:
- accessories (cars, animals, people, etc.)
- stacking/nesting toys
- shape sorting
- bead rollercoaster
- pounding toys
We have two rotations for this area
In the MUSIC area I have a wide variety of musical noise makers, some store bought, others homemade. We have two rotations of these. And then there is a iPod and speakers for kiddo music.
We also have HEAPS of stuffed animals, two rotations of these.
My final rotation schedule looks like this
Blocks and beads
Fine Motor project (this is usually something made up like matching clothes pins to colors, sorting beans, destroying tissue paper…)
Any toys that don’t fit into these categories I have in the TOY LIBRARY where kiddos can pick a toy but everyday (if they want) but must change it out for another if they want something else.
Another, minor but important category that we rotate are the large vehicles for developing GROSS MOTOR skills: bikes, cars, dump trucks, etc. I always keep at least two at the school, and one at home for Darwin.