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Rotating Toys and Playmobil Play Aera

Playmobil Zip Wire

We rotate toys at home. There are two main reasons why I like to do that, in no particular order:

–          There are five of us (six quite soon!) in a two-bedroom house.

–          Children get bored of their toys.

I do it three or four times a year. The principle is simple: whenever something comes out of the loft, something else has to go up.

Just mentioning rotating toys is like Christmas for my little ones (I am not joking, have a go!). They try to remember what is in the loft and get really excited about the new playing opportunities they are going to get.

For this system to be effective, all of one particular type of toys has to go, for example all the soft toys, all the building blocks, all the Playmobil, all the micro machines, all play food and so on and so forth.

We thought we would get the Playmobil out of the loft a couple of weeks ago as Jumpy (1 year 5 months) is old enough not to swallow them (please do not prove me wrong, baby girl!) and they will have to go back up before our new baby is born in June. For some reason, on the day the Playmobil came out of the loft this time, all Crevette (5 years 8 months) and Beanie (3 years 6 months) did with the tiny little people and their accessories was throw them on the floor and play with the stuff for less than ten minutes.

I wanted to encourage the children to do something with the Playmobil whilst letting them be creative this week and asked them what they wanted to do. Last time it came out of the loft, we made a Playmobil town, complete with a prison, houses, a campsite and had hours of fun all together. This time, after much deliberation, Crevette declared he wanted to make a play area for the Playmobil characters. He wrote a list of things we had to include: trampoline, swimming pool, tunnels and we added zip wire to the mix as well as a ball pit just to make it even more fun.

On Tuesday, we rummaged through cupboards to find as many cardboard boxes as we could as well as bright coloured papers to stick on them so they would be as colourful as everything seems to be in soft play areas.

PVC Glue and Water

On Wednesday, as school was closed for Crevette, we had the whole day to ourselves which was ideal for our little project. Crevette and Beanie spent a couple of hours using PVC glue mixed with water to stick the bright papers to the boxes.

Colourful Paper on Boxes

Jumpy was not left out of the equation. To make sure she was involved but did not get covered in glue, I gave her a similar paintbrush and recipient as her older siblings. The only difference is it only had water in.

Water Painting

She enjoyed water painting for about 15 minutes before she started sucking water out of the brush and then drinking the water out of the small bowl. She was thirsty and her beaker of Neocate was quickly followed by a nap.

Boxes Drying

Crevette drew on the boxes when they were dry. Beanie had lost interest by then and was engrossed in a card game for which she was making up new rules.

Decorating the Boxes

On Saturday morning, as the girls were relaxing with hubby in front of the television, Crevette and I got everything out and applied the finishing touches to the trampoline and made our ball pit using a bowl and foam bits from a parcel.

Playmobil Trampoline

We also put the zip wire together and added food colouring to the water going in the swimming pool and paddling pool. Everything was ready, to Beanie and Crevette’s sheer delight!

Playmobil Swimming Pool

After the children’s swimming lessons, the older two played with their Playmobil play area whist Jumpy was having a short nap, and after dinner, they proudly showed their little sister the little people bouncing, going on the zip wire and the slides. She was laughing and applauding whenever one of the little people was coming down the slide.

Playmobil Play Area

Who needs to spend money on new toys when the novelty can be achieved by a little bit of rotation and imagination?

We did not even buy any of the Playmobil as the majority of it was given to us a couple of years ago by a lovely colleague whose children are now adults and the rest was a birthday present Crevette received last year.

Playmobil Zip Wire and Trampoline


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  1. 31/03/2014 / 6:01 am

    What a fab idea Mel! I’ll have to start rotating toys, as it gets out of control so quickly! Your Playmobil area looks super cool and lots of fun 🙂 Hope you’re well lovely xx #MagicMoments

    • Mel
      02/04/2014 / 10:07 pm

      Thanks hun. They really enjoyed themselves and everything is still at hand. I am sure they will use it all again next week-end. It was really worth doing it. x Mel

  2. 31/03/2014 / 7:31 am

    That is genius Mel! I’m so impressed by your ability to keep your kids entertained without leaving your house or spending any money! Sam X

    • Mel
      01/04/2014 / 10:16 pm

      Thanks Sam. Keeping them really busy focusing on one thing also means the whole house does not get turned upside-down! x Mel

  3. 31/03/2014 / 9:33 am

    That’s fantastic, love it! I’m definitely going to suggest this to my daughter-she’d really enjoy trying this 🙂

    • Mel
      02/04/2014 / 8:25 pm

      Thanks Iona, hope she has fun! x Mel

  4. 31/03/2014 / 9:35 am

    How inspiring is that! They did a great job with decorating the boxes too.

    • Mel
      02/04/2014 / 10:10 pm

      They did, didn’t they? They really wanted their soft play area to look great. Mel

  5. 31/03/2014 / 12:37 pm

    awww Mel that looks fantastic!! i love that they worked so hard to compete it and that they kept going. its fantastic

    thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments x

    • Mel
      02/04/2014 / 10:17 pm

      Thanks Jaime. The thought and effort they put into the whole thing made me really proud of them. What little cuties! x Mel

  6. 31/03/2014 / 3:26 pm

    I think this is brilliant. We rotate my little boys toys too for the same reason, and he is a huge playmobil fan so may try this Easter.

    • Mel
      02/04/2014 / 10:29 pm

      Let me know what they come up with if you take the Playmobil out. New ideas are always welcome. Mel

  7. 31/03/2014 / 6:22 pm

    I love this! Every bit of it! The rotation idea is wonderful. I try to get different toys out from time to time, and sometimes the power of bringing their Happyland toys downstairs rather than in their bedrooms is astonishing – they’re transfixed despite them having access to them all of the time! But I never actually put toys away and get others out again like this – it’s brilliant and I can well imagine their excitement! And then those creations they’ve made for them are wonderful 🙂 Thanks very much for sharing with #WotW

    • Mel
      02/04/2014 / 10:04 pm

      I am glad I gave you an idea, Jocelyn! x Mel

  8. 31/03/2014 / 6:57 pm

    A great idea to rotate toys, we were never that organised! Playmobil is great and even though my kids are much older they still get quite a lot of use out of it. My son likes to make animation movies with his Playmobil.

    • Mel
      02/04/2014 / 10:27 pm

      Animation movies… now that is play on another level! I bet my little ones would love to do that with my phone, though. Thanks for the idea. Mel

    • Mel
      02/04/2014 / 10:26 pm

      I love the toy rotation. Thanks for the compliment about the photos. It took me ages to get decent shots of those tiny people! Mel

  9. 31/03/2014 / 8:47 pm

    Fantastic ideas. Really enjoyed this post and gave me lots of ideas

    • Mel
      02/04/2014 / 10:23 pm

      Thanks Ellie. Mel

  10. 31/03/2014 / 9:14 pm

    Impressive ! Well done for creating such a creative environment for your little ones. Xx

    • Mel
      01/04/2014 / 10:11 pm

      The creative juices were flowing when we were trying to decide what to include in the ‘play area’ and I loved getting my sewing stuff out to help Crevette make his trampoline (should have mended a few things as I was at it but I did not! Holiday project, I suppose!). x Mel

  11. Alexandra Mercer (Broody Me)
    01/04/2014 / 11:06 am

    Such a fantastic idea. We hardly have any toys at all because there’s eight of us in a small three bed house so we don’t have any spare space but we may have to try your idea.

    I love the things you guys have made and, as always, I love your photography. Each post is a masterpiece x

    • Mel
      01/04/2014 / 10:23 pm

      Alex, your comment means so much to me… I could give you a hug right now! Same here, small house, few toys. It makes sense, doesn’t it? I really do not feel like they are missing out in any way, shape or form. They enjoy what they have, what people give them. Throw in a couple of cardboard boxes and they are in creative heaven! x Mel

      • Alexandra Mercer (Broody Me)
        03/04/2014 / 4:29 pm

        I voted for you btw x

        • Mel
          03/04/2014 / 5:53 pm

          Thanks Alex, I still haven’t got round to voting but will do tonight! x Mel

  12. 01/04/2014 / 11:49 am

    I also rotate toys. It is astonishing how one kid can have so much toy (mostly from my mother-in-law) and it gets a big messy. Love your craft project, so original and you dont need to buy those expensive playmobil construction set =) #wotw

    • Mel
      02/04/2014 / 10:02 pm

      The ‘toy situation’ can get out of control pretty easily if you leave it all out. With my three, the house would just be a permanent bomb site and we would not have space to sit on the sofa if we did not rotate them, haha! Mel

  13. 01/04/2014 / 3:01 pm

    Good Idea! We don’t have many toys yet but I am sure we will be inundated in a year! I’ve heard of toy rotation and it looks like fun! your little ones are so well behaved making all that! and congratulations on the new little one! I didn’t know you were pregnant!! June isn’t far away!! xx

    • Mel
      02/04/2014 / 10:03 am

      We didn’t have any toys either when Crevette was little. Now we have three children, we seem to have more and more as they get given lots of toys. The rotation is a must here! I know, June… oh my goodness, time flies when you are having fun (and being busy!). I really have to think about getting a few things ready for my little Wriggly. x Mel

  14. Becky Evans
    03/04/2014 / 2:10 pm

    Wow, this is great!

    • Mel
      03/04/2014 / 10:03 pm


  15. 10/04/2014 / 1:05 pm

    You are so right. I do this all the time and have heaps sorted in the garage. Mine are the youngest of a huge family so we have tons of toys/books and I am sure it would get overwhelming at times. xx #brilliantblog

  16. 10/04/2014 / 10:28 pm

    Rotating toys is a great idea – we are also short on space so I love it. And, how wonderful to make the play area. So creative and so lovely. SUper post xx

    • Mel
      11/04/2014 / 9:56 am

      Thanks Kiran! x Mel

  17. 13/04/2014 / 7:41 pm

    Oh wow, you are amazing! Please audition to become a Blue Peter Presenter! Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

    • Mel
      13/04/2014 / 10:32 pm

      You do make me smile, Vicki! I am now picturing myself as Mister Maker, hahaha (not that he is in Blue Peter, but he just came to mind when I was reading your comment!). x Mel

  18. 13/04/2014 / 10:33 pm

    Oh that made me laugh too-I LOVE Mister Maker, I once told Oliver he was my best friend and now whenever he’s on, he’s like, Mummy, your best friend is on TV! x

    • Mel
      13/04/2014 / 10:41 pm

      Awww, bless you, Oliver! Don’t you just love the fact they believe everything we say? Mind you, I have been telling Crevette about my being sarcastic so whenever I tell him anything he is not sure about, he just says, “You’re being sarcastic mum, aren’t you?” x

  19. 15/04/2014 / 5:15 pm

    Absolutely awesome! LOVE it!! We rotate toys too (mainly because things need to be put away to keep tidy and the kids forget what we have) and also because that was how I was trained to keep my classroom! I love bringing new toys out and watching the kids find new ways to play.
    x x

    • Mel
      15/04/2014 / 8:32 pm

      My favourite thing about this system is seeing the joy on their little faces when I say I am going in the loft to get new things out… priceless! x Mel

      • 01/03/2015 / 10:59 pm

        Ooh, we rotate too 🙂
        The kids don’t even remember all the things that’s in the attic! …Which also (hmm) gives me the chance to clear through a few things every once in a while …I did NOT say that out loud!!

        We have 1/2 the soft toys up there at any one time – and that’s still a black bin bag FULL!

        The only flaw in the system is when Miss 7 wants to ‘check’ the attic! Haha, she loves to believe there’d be nothing better than taking them all down and doesn’t really approve of the fact that there are toys of hers ‘hidden away’ from her up there at all. But you only have to take a look at their room – already full to bursting; and they’ve long since stopped playing with their Christmas presents!
        Next weekend. Up it goes 😉

        • Mel
          05/03/2015 / 12:22 am

          Your comment made me laugh. Coincidentally, my little man has been going on (and on, and on) about going in the loft so we could get stuff back. He might spend a very long time looking for the Moshi Monster monstrosity my mum got for him last year… oh well!

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