Once you have the organisation part done (the sorting and the storing) and then the planning using our free Toy Rotation Checklist, you are free to start thinking about HOW your children are playing and you can start to fine tune your rotation.
As I began to put out the new toys for this rotation my mind immediately started thinking about creating invitations to play to encourage how my children were going to play with their rotation toys. In the Waldorf approach I have learnt that arranging the toys that are put out for children to play with can determine to a large extent whether they are going to be played with.
In this arrangement I have included a green play cloth and some wooden blocks along with the horses.
It is fun to arrange the toys into ‘scenes’ and it has the added benefit of sparking the imagination for the three year old and above. It is even more wonderful to take it a step further and create these scenes WITH your child at the end of the day during clean-up time. I KNOW there is a time factor involved here…but it is worth trying sometimes! One morning organising the train set into a little scene gained me half-an-hour more time in bed! Win!
In my post Our Toy Rotation System I discussed the importance of ‘static’ toys that are able to be combined with toys in the rotation, allowing play scenes to be created. Taking it one step further would be to combine toys with found natural objects and creating a play scene outside.
In this arrangement I have placed the animals into the sandpit with tree bark, branch off-cuts and straw.
For children under the age of three organising the toys in boxes and baskets is important in helping the child feel a sense of order in their environment. Imagination is not as important as movement for this age group. When it is pack-up time have your baby alongside, soon enough they will be copying what you do. Children in this age group love to imitate and join in, before long you’ll have your baby putting things into boxes and baskets, only to dump them out again. They are experiencing sheer joy out of the movement!