How to know when to add new activities to the shelf!


Do you know how to rotate toys (activities/exercises) in your environment?

Do you know when to change the materials on your shelves?

If not, read on and see our advice helps!

It is always a struggle when you are trying to rotate materials, equipment and toys on your shelves at home or in your classroom. It is hard to know when to change the toys but there are a few tell tale signs that it is time to do so now. 

If your child/children are not interested in the activities out on the shelves you will notice they might be using them incorrectly or may be they haven’t even touched them in a while then you may need to change or rotate the materials.

By minimising activities on your shelves it will be easy to notice if one toy is being played with incorrectly or if one activity is not played with at all and therefore you will recognise when it might be necessary to change the shelves around.

People usually have lots of toys and activities nowadays so it is easy to have toys on display and toys hidden for rotation.

Activities on the shelves should be prepared for your child according to their developmental needs at that time but as they grow and develop their needs change and this requires a amendment to your environment too!

This may be the perfect time to transform your shelves!

The adjustment to your shelves will sometimes be minor but may also require major changes too!

Minor changes can be changing a part of an activity. For example if you have a pouring or spooning activity on your shelf and you noticed that the child can pour it from one jug to another without spilling any or you noticed that they don’t use the pouring exercise anymore then altering the substance that you pour with might excite them back to using it again! If the child had mastered the skill of pour then try to use a smaller material to pour e.g. change the pouring pasta exercise to a pouring red lentils exercise!

Another minor adjustment could be changing the colour of the material that is used! Dying dry materials such as rice for spooning with food dye can add excitement to a forgotten spooning exercise.

Sometimes, however changes may need to be more major. Sometimes it involves removing the puzzle that they throw around the room and replacing it with another puzzle. Sometimes it requires us to look at what is actually going on; are they misusing the activity because it’s too hard or too easy? If it’s too hard then replace it with a slightly easier puzzle. If it is too easy then move on to the next puzzle.

Changes in your environment can make the world of difference as to how play is constructed and carried out in your environment. The keys to creative and constructive play is to have a small amount of activities readily available for you child on child-sized shelves and try to observe how and how long for the activities are being used.

Keep the other toys and materials you have hidden away and rotate the shelves as you see fit!

Try to remember if you add an activity you should take off another one! Having too many crammed onto a shelf can chaos in your environment!

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  • Aisling Farley
Comments 1
  • Lorraine Halse
    Lorraine Halse

    Thank you Aisling. A question of mine answered.

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