Toy Rotation Shelf & Weekly Themes
Thanks to Sofia from 1thousandays who came over to our home, organised the toys into different learning categories, rearranged the room to fit in harmony with my toddlers learning and gave me the tools & mindset I needed for playful learning & easy toy rotation. (Yes she really has made it easy for me! With her help, I now have all the boxes labelled & organised for activities and weekly toy rotation.
1thousandays are offering complimentary video consultations during isolation so if you are interested, please contact her here. www.1thousandays.com
*Please note that I am not getting paid or receiving commission to promote Sofia at 1 thousand days. It’s just that I love her company and I think every parent needs to know about her. She is so passionate with her work and she’s incredibly knowledgeable with children’s educational activities. She is a Montessori teacher & sends you a full EYFS pdf personalised with your child’s development stage and areas of learning through play that will help you encourage their learning.*
One advice that I remember from Sofia is ‘Remember less is more. Toddlers get frustrated if they are given overwhelming options to play with. They act better if they have less options to choose from.’
Following her suggestions, I try not to put too many toys out at once. Since I have been doing this, I have noticed my toddler playing much better and is even engaged with her toys for longer periods.
Below, take a look at some of our rotation themes and ideas. Make sure to check back regularly for updated themes. I update this blog post every few weeks.
1thousand days shelf
This is the first rotation shelf that Sofia designed for us when she came to visit.
1 Books, ABC book (recommended by Sofia)
2 Cars and slider
3 Tool box
4 Bears with a bear flash card, wooden loose papers, green sensory fabric, and green pom poms
5 Magnifying glass for bears and for loose parts
6 Tray of loose parts and a wooden bowl
7 Butterfly moving puzzle, shape puzzle and triangle stick
8 Dress with bear wooden game
9 Barn bag with farm animals, farm boom, and farm animal flash cards
This is our Montessori inspired spring shelf. I have added a specific shelf for music where my toddler can choose her own song to sign from ‘5 little ducks’ and ‘peter rabbit.’ We have scissors, tong, and pompom transferring, rice scooping, counting the Beatrix potter, a matching game, lots of Easter theme books to read and a wonderful imaginative play made from a cardboard box we painted together.
What we used:
The love theme was used for valentine’s week, but it can be used anytime. Here, I added the book ABC love, I love my mummy and I love my daddy. First I added some card, safety toddler scissors, stickers, and coloring pencils for my toddler to make her own valentines card.
I also added a wooden baking set, some food and wooden till for her to mix and bake her own pretend cakes. The tills gave her an opportunity to play shops and sell the cakes she has baked, allowing some math integration in her play.
The third item of her love theme was a set of red blocks. She built various objects from the blocks including a tower and a table for her bakery shop.
The fourth time was a picnic basket and some sushi for a date. She also integrated this into her till.
Lastly, I added some wooden beads and a string to make different jewellery that was not only fun but also enhanced her fine motor skills. Some musical instruments to play and sing songs. I also arranged a small dining table with her tea set, plates laid out and wooden cupcakes.
What we had fun with:
I was telling Sofia from 1thousand days that my toddler is now showing interest in dinosaurs. She suggested that I get some dinosaurs for the shelf too. So I added to her shelf a few dinosaur themes.
1 Basket (I removed her bears from the basket and added dinosaurs and a tree along with a bowl with green pompoms and tweezers.
2 Magnetic dinosaur board with lots of magnetic dinosaurs (the other side is a chalk board and is available in different themes on Amazon.)
3 Dinosaur book with dinosaur and tree.
What we used:
On a lovely sunny day, I moved the farm theme outside in our garden for a few days so we could get some fresh air and Vitamin D while we played.
The books I added included the Lullaby farm, what the ladybird did next, and the rhyming rabbit.
Tray 1: Build a fence for the sheep.
Tray 2: Match the animal to the flash card.
Tray 3: Match the animal/object to the color. This was the first tray my daughter went to. She put the tray onto the farm play mat and matched each one to its color. She then went to get the Cat and the cat flash card from the Tray 2 and fed the cat food from the color tray.
Tray 4: Counting the Animals. This tray has flash cards 1 – 3 with 1 lamb, 2 pigs, and 3 cows for her to match the number of animals to the flash card. We also role played voices for different animals and took turns questioning each other about them.
Tray 5: Paper and crayons. For this she needed some guidance. I placed some animals on a paper and allowed the sunlight to cause shadows of the animals. I showed her how to trace the animal shadows and she followed.
Tray 6: This was a simple tray with lots of farm animals for her to play with on the farm mat or however she chooses. I added our rabbit hutch, hen house, milk the cow cardboard box to this too. She also took the animals from tray 5 and role played in the houses.
The farm place mat used in this activity was from le toy van. They have a great collection of mats including car themed and fairy. Check them out here.
Horses’ Stable cardboard box
Once she discovered she can open and close the stable door herself, by threading the pipe cleaner through the hole - she loved this and it became the centre of attention. She would put the horse in its stable and close the door – then open it again and bring the horse out. She even put me in the stable, locked the door, and went trotting with her horses.
For this theme I used:
I am teaching my toddler about the weather and different seasons. For this week’s rotation shelf, I added several books about the weather. I was feeling in a bit of an isolation/lockdown rut and actually emailed Sofia from 1thousandays for any tips on my weather theme. She emailed me some wonderful ideas, most of this theme came from the wonderful Sofia. It’s so refreshing to have a fresh pair of eyes and mind sometimes, my toddler loved this set up.
Tray 1: Yellow pegs, circle flash card, number 1 flash card, yellow circle (that we painted and cut out). The game was to clip the pegs around the circle for the sun rays.
Tray 2: Antarctic theme with cotton wool, snow globe, Antarctic figures (from Amazon), and Antarctic flash cards.
Tray 3: Blocks in green and autumn leaf colors to make a tree and leaves.
Tray 4: Printable tree photo, autumn leaves (from Amazon here), and a glue stick for the child to stick the leaves onto the tree and ground.
Tray 5: This tray included a doll with sun cream, nappy, milk and changing bag. The game was to teach children about protecting the skin from sun rays (with the sun they made). Encourage your child to put sunscreen on the doll, give her milk, and take care of the baby – like you would!
Tray 6: Make a rainbow using pipe cleaners, beads, and some play dough to stick the ends of the pipe cleaner in. let the child thread the beads through the pipe cleaner and stick it into the play dough to make a rainbow.
Tray 7: Going to the beach activity includes shells, beach floats, a sun lounger, doll, and a camper van to transport us to the beach.
Tray 8: Picnic basket for a sunny day or for your child to take to the beach.
What we used:
It was my birthday so I decided to put up a theme related to birthdays. First I put up some books about birthdays. I also added the cake mixer from ‘le toy van’ to make a birthday cake.
Other activities that went in this theme included:
- Butterfly counting book with caterpillar counter
- Butterfly flash cards with butterflies to match
- Sensory tray with green rice, scoop, loose parts, and wooden people
- Disney Minnie and mickey figures with picnic basket
- Beads and string to thread a ‘necklace’ with flashcards “green square” “yellow circle” “red triangle” to match the beads.
- Pompom transfer with a bowl of pompoms, tweezers, and a bowl of green straw for the transferred pompoms.
- Card and pencils to make a birthday card
- Musical instruments to sing happy birthday and other songs of choice
These items worked great for this theme!
Check out some of my other blog posts!
Enjoy the journey xx