I looked at Frida’s toy shelves critically a few days ago, and I was pretty unhappy with what I saw. Not with the content – all of her toys are lovely, engaging, and open-ended, mostly beautifully made and wooden. No, what bothered me is that there were simply too many. I’m a firm believer in toy rotation, but because her toys and materials are so lovely I had fallen into the trap of leaving too many of them out.
The result? Shelves crowded with toys, which looked simply overwhelming. Something had to change, so I spent some time putting a lot of them away, ready to rotate in the future. Already I think it’s made a positive difference, and her shelves look much more inviting.
Frida has another set of low shelving in her room which I tend to put Montessori-inspired work trays, puzzles, and other activities and toys on. At the moment these are bug themed, and you can see what’s on them in this post.
So, what’s on Frida’s toy shelves at 19 months?
On these shelves Frida has:
Wooden bird tree with birds
This is a Holztiger bird tree, with some birds on it. Frida loved this when we bought it, then I used it as a decoration on her autumn shelf. Now we’ve swapped to a winter shelf, I thought I would leave this out.
“A squash and a squeeze” story telling set
Inspired by the “story sack” idea, I thought I would gather together a little story telling basket with toys we already have. I must admit I don’t think this book is very good at all, but Frida loves it when we act it out with the figures and Holztiger animals.
I’ve some got more ideas for future story telling baskets with books we prefer…
Shleich farm animals
Used every day, multiple times a day. The sheep family is her favourite. I’ve noticed she doesn’t use some of them as much so I might take some out to rotate further!
Selection of wooden animals
Frida has a LOT of Holztiger wooden animals. Farm animals, wild animals, woodland animals, sea creatures…
I previously had stored them all in three baskets – taking up a whole shelf – and I noticed them weren’t being used very much, probably because each basket was full and they were overwhelming! I’ve put most of them away and left out a few woodland animals. I’m going to be much better and rotating these from now on.
Simple doll family
These were really cheap from Lidl (!), but Plan Toys do very similar dolls which look lovely and come in different styles and skin tones.
I had put this away as Frida wasn’t showing much interest in it. The joy of toy rotation is that she’s now choosing to use it again – in fact, she saw it in the cupboard and wanted it out. The board is from Melissa and Doug.
The other side of her toy shelves currently looks like this:
On these shelves Frida has:
Another Lidl find. Frida adores this! It’s not the best quality, but she really enjoys playing with it at the moment.
Grimm’s seven rainbow friends
Another favourite which still gets used every single day. Frida has taken to calling the people her “Elsies” after one of her friends.
Frida’s Grimms toys are so beautiful that it felt a bit strange to put some of them away into her cupboard, but I really do think there’s merit in rotating all of her toys and materials – even the very aesthetically pleasing ones!
These are from Sarah’s Silks. A fantastic, open ended toy. In our home they are currently used as: landscapes, scarves, doll slings, block house rooves, tails, capes, backdrops, hiding, and much more.
These are currently used every day, especially the glittery bouncy one. The cat enjoys them too!
Glockenspiel and tambourine
I noticed most of Frida’s instruments weren’t getting much use, so I’ll be looking to see if rotation makes a difference. The glockenspiel does get used a lot.
Grimms 1001 nights building set
Pictured here “in action” as a house for the Shleich sheep family. I can’t see this being out of rotation, it’s just such a wonderful material for imaginative play.
So that’s it! Writing everything down, I feel like that’s actually a lot of toys to have out (especially with her other shelf and her soft toys, doll, and books). I’m feeling a bit guilty for not doing a proper toy rotation sooner, and am definitely going to be more on top of it!
What are your children playing with at the moment? Do you find you toy rotation helpful?