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  • Writer's pictureOur Playful Learning Journey

Creating a space for play in a small home

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

No playroom? No problem. How we created a multi-age play space in our small home.

Bunnings cube shelf used for toy rotation
Our play area and toy shelf

After much time spent rearranging furniture and feeling frustrated by the lack of a playroom or play space in our home, I am finally happy with the solution.

We added a 2 x 4 cube shelf from Bunnings into our dining room and it is working perfectly. Previously to this we had a small shelf from Kmart in the corner of our lounge room, however, with Miss 0 on the move and now able to reach all but the top shelf, this was no longer working.

Our dining room is between the kitchen and the lounge room and is the perfect place for our play shelf. This spot works well because the girls can take toys to the lounge room if they wish, or play in the dining room, which is close to the kitchen. As I spend lots of time in the kitchen and they want to be close to me it is the perfect solution for us.

Along the top of the shelves is our calendar area. We use this daily to talk about the day of the week and the date. I also added loose parts on the top for Miss 4 and her tree house. As you can see from the photos Miss 4 has been busy playing here. She even added a Weetbix box covered with stickers as a home for her bees.

Top toy shelf being used for small world play with Grapat loose parts
The top shelf is used for small world play

Miss 4 is enjoying this space because there is room for her to play along the top of the shelf without her baby sister destroying her play. She happily pulls over a stool from the bench or dining chair to sit on and play.

Having a higher up space for the older child to play and leave the toys out, without them being messed up has been fantastic for us.


Shelves for Baby

Miss 11 months is able to easily access her little toys on the shelves. Some are stored in baskets, like this little tea pot, cups and bowls. This makes it easy to get down for Miss 11 months to play with.

On her shelves this rotation is:

Baby play shelf with age-appropriate open-ended toys
Baby play shelf withe age-appropriate toys

  • A few Grapat Magos

  • A few Grapat bowls

  • Sensory jars filled with coloured chickepeas, flowers and Grapat mandala pieces

  • A basket with a tea pot, cups and some bowls.

Toy shelf for baby with open-ended wooden toys
Another cube with baby play toys

This cube on the left has:

  • A basket full of blue toys and a silk

  • Part of the Grimms sunset rainbow

  • A Grimms car

  • Rolling rainstick

  • Rolling wheel with bell in it (Plan Toys brand)


Some of the benefits of this play space:

- Fewer toys out at once

- Easier to pack away

- Play is more focussed and creative with the toys that are out

- Able to leave play set up on top shelf for Miss 4 to come back to

- Extra toys stored away

- Caters for both children

- Works in the small space that we have in our home

How might this look in your space?

Looking at the space you have, where could you put a small shelf or table for play?

After seeing many images of beautiful play rooms on social media it can feel as though you can’t make it work if you don’t have a lot of space, but this simply is not true. Looking at the space in your home, where could you put a small shelf or table for play? By finding some space in your home, choosing the right furniture and a few toys you can create an area for play using the space you have.

How have you made space for play in your home? Let me know in the comments below.


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