Organizing Tips to Create a Kids’ Book Rotation
Last week in my email newsletter, I asked you guys if you had an area that you needed help to organize. Thank you all so much for the great responses! I can hardly wait to share all of my best organizing tips with you in future posts!
In my last blog post, I showed you step by step how I organize my 5 year old twins’ playroom. Today, we are going to organize the kids’ books and I’ll show you how to do a book rotation that will keep your kids interested and engaged with all of their books!
I LOVE children’s books, and I have quite the collection after teaching 1st grade for over 16 years!
I know how important reading with children is to their overall development so I’m thrilled that the twins adore books too.
I’ve also seen first hand the differences in children who live in a literacy rich environment at home, and the kids who do not.
The research shows that reading to your baby actually stimulates brain growth, and there are numerous studies that show the long lasting benefits for children who are read with beginning in early infancy.
Needless to say, we have ended up with an enormous collection of books.
But there was a problem.
We had so many books, that it had become unmanageable.
With so many choices, the boys were completely overwhelmed, I could never find a particular title I was looking for, and books were a scattered mess all over the house!
If the kids books at your house are like mine, then you are in good company!
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I’m going to take you through the steps to organize and create a book rotation that will keep your kids interested and engaged with ALL of their books!
If you have way too many books, you might be interested in my post about How to Declutter Quickly. Also, be sure to join our Free Resource Library for a handy decluttering checklist guide and all of our other free printables!
Why do a book rotation?
The book, Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids, talks about how too much stuff and too many choices causes children to be anxious.
I absolutely want to minimize anxiety for my kids since I’m sure that I genetically passed on plenty of anxiety to them both.
Then it dawned on me…I had seen the effectiveness of doing a toy rotation with the twins, so I decided I should rotate their books as well!
Organizing tips for how to create a book rotation for your kids
First, gather all the kids’ books and bring them to a spot where you will be able to sort them into piles.
You will need to have an idea of the total number of books you have to decide how many rotations you can do.
If you haven’t already, you need to establish where the books that are IN rotation will live.
Now that all the books are in one place, you are ready to sort them. I like to sort into categories before I sort into the book rotations.
This gives a good variety of books in each rotation versus one rotation containing every Eric Carle book that we own and none in the next four rotations.
We have three types of books that do not get sorted into the rotation tubs and get to stay out all of the time:
Each kiddo has several books that are the most loved, and those books are our ‘core’ set of books that stay out all the time–usually 4 or 5 books each.
When we do our monthly book rotation, I give them an opportunity to make changes to their their core books that stay on the shelf.
The rest of the books get sorted into categories:
- Donate (books the kids have outgrown)
- Fairy Tales
- Bible stories
- Numbers/Math concepts
- Alphabet/Word books
- Move your body
- You are special
- Characters (Curious George, Thomas the Train, etc)
- Authors (Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle)
- Fun stories (my catch-all when I don’t know where else to put it!)
- Holidays** (I keep holiday books in a separate bin by themselves)
Now that you have sorted the books into some types of categories, you are ready to sort into each book rotation.
I keep each rotation in a plastic tub with a lid similar to these. (The tubs that I use are actually 18 quart size but I couldn’t find the exact ones to link to.)
The thing that I like best about these storage containers is the hi-rise lid which allows me to fit several more books inside.
BONUS TIP: Make sure all of your storage containers are the same size to make storage easy
The number of books you own will determine how many rotations you can create.
I do five rotation tubs and each rotation holds between 30-40 books.
Line up your empty storage containers and grab a stack of books that you sorted into categories. Now divvy them out. So if you have 5 rotations and 10 books from the “animals’ category, each rotation gets 2 animal books.
If you have 11 animal books then 4 rotations would get 2 animal books and 1 rotation gets 3 animal books. This doesn’t have to be exact (the book police won’t come after you;), so just do your best.
The point is to have a nice variety of topics in each rotation.
You will want to have a list of the books that are in each container. This keeps me from having to look through 200 books to find the ONE I need for an activity. I can simply look at the book list and know if the book I want is in that tub or not.
In the past, I wrote all of the titles on a large index card that stayed inside the tub.
But, I am super excited to tell you about the much easier way I keep track of our books using a FREE app!
It’s called Libib and they have a website and an app you can use to catalog books, movies, etc. I’m using the free version and made separate lists for each book rotation. Then you can easily scan the book barcodes with your smart phone!! It was so easy and seriously fun!
There were only a handful of books that I had to manually enter (they didn’t have a barcode) so I scanned 400+ books quite quickly.
Now, if I need a book for a caterpillar lesson, I can go to the Libib app and type ‘caterpillar’ into the search and it will show all of the books that I have about caterpillars. I can click on the book I want and it will show which rotation bin it lives in.
How awesome is that?
Be sure to visit my Pinterest board for tons of ideas for kids’ activities and I’d love if you follow me on Pinterest too!
These organizing tips will have all of your books organized into containers and ready to store until it’s book rotation day!
I keep our rotation tubs on a shelf in a small closet.
We do a book rotation once per month and it is their favorite day!!
What are your favorite organizing tips for the kids’ books? Be sure to leave a comment below!