Breathing new life into old toysPosted: 04/08/2014
I read a lot about the benefits of toy rotation and, while I think it makes sense, I am probably a bit too disorganised to put a good system into place! However, I definitely notice ToddlerGirl’s attention span with a toy will increase if she hasn’t seen it for a while. The novelty factor of reintroducing an old favourite can keep her focused and playing for maybe double the amount of time, which should really be a good incentive for me to do it properly!
This was certainly the case the other morning. Dressing up is a much-loved occupation at the moment, so when I was looking for a simple activity to keep her busy between breakfast and heading out for the day, I dug out her Melissa and Doug Maggie dress up doll. She hasn’t played with this for at least a couple of months and it was interesting to see how eagerly she pounced on it.
The novelty factor of reintroducing the toy bought me enough time to do a leisurely morning clear up and pack our bag for the day – something which, some mornings, feels like a huge juggling act, racing against the clock and a wiggly toddler.
Later in the afternoon, I got the set out again. To extend the activity further, I thought I’d make some friends for the Maggie doll. I got a large piece of paper and drew three (very rough) body outlines, adding face and hair details. I am no artist but the approximation was all ToddlerGirl needed! With a casual suggestion that she could ‘dress’ the friends as well, I left her to it. She loved this extension, dressing and re-dressing the main doll and the picture dolls for ages, chatting away to them and turning it into a whole pretend play session, which was lovely to listen to as I prepared dinner. I basked in the moment of feeling like a completely calm and in control mum, which I can assure you doesn’t happen very often!
The success of this simple activity has made me determined to try even a vague toy rotation system to breathe new life into items that she’s maybe got too used to seeing on her toy shelf every day.
It’s also made me realise how much more play value you get out of something when it aligns so well with a current obsession. ToddlerGirl ‘s love of dressing up obviously doesn’t stop at decorating herself, so I am now thinking of all the ‘spin off’ activities I could set up along this vein!
Do you rotate your toddler’s toys? I’d love to hear your tips for keeping things fresh…