Lynn Mooney Murray, a mum of three and owner of, a premium wooden toy and children’s lifestyle company, says there are some simple things we can do to plan that perfect play space in our home. Here, she explains how to create a space that will not only grow with your child, but will also bring joy and imagination to playtime.

Plan your space

Whether you have an entire room or a corner nook to dedicate to your play space, the first step would be to map out the space that your main pieces of furniture (e.g. shelving, sofa, artwork) will take up in the room. One trick of the trade is to outline the dimensions on the floor and wall with masking tape. This way you can be certain that your new purchases will work within the space available.

Read more: Mam of three explains cheap ways to keep kids entertained indoors and away from screens when it rains

Having storage units that open at lower levels will allow kids to be able to access their toys easily. You can also display your little one’s artwork in some cute frames on the walls to boost their self-esteem, they will be delighted when they see their creations proudly hung on the wall. You can add to the wall by mixing it up with some prints or posters. I love framed prints with quotes to inspire! Roald Dahl’s “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it” is one of my favourites.

Think practically

Where are the plugs situated and are they protected? Are cables secured and hidden so it’s safe for your little one to play freely? Do any items need to be wall anchored? It’s also often a good idea to have blackout blinds installed if you want your child to occasionally nap or wind down in this space. They are also great for keeping the room cool when it’s warm in the summer.

A comfortable chair, sofa or large beanbag can be a good addition to any play space as it’s ideal for story time, cuddles or when you want to sit back and relax. Choose a hard wearing fabric or leather that can be cleaned easily and will withstand any spillages.

Wooden kids toys
Wooden kids toys

Toy Rotation

Our family has been living in Los Angeles recently (we travel a lot as a family!) and one idea that is very popular here is the concept of toy rotation. This means only displaying a limited amount of toys at one time and rotating them at regular periods. I have been practicing this with our three sons and it works really well. It prevents overwhelm from having too much choice and it’s so exciting for them to rediscover old favourites when you take them out again. From an interiors point of view, it’s more aesthetically pleasing for the parents to have fewer toys on display! This also helps to create a calm and creative space for your little one.

Set up a dedicated ‘Role Play’ area

Pretend play (also known as imaginative or make-believe play) is an important part of your child’s development. It offers them endless possibilities from inside their own home. It involves creating a world of their own, often based on real-life experiences, and using their imagination to play different roles and explore different scenarios. Today they might be a doctor taking the vitals of their favourite doll and tomorrow they might be a chef serving up their best dish. The possibilities are endless!

Quite often a cardboard box and some markers is all you need for a fun-filled pretend play activity. Other items like a toy kitchen, a wooden cash register, building blocks and costumes can look beautiful in your play space and are ideal for encouraging your kids to engage in pretend play.

Lynne Mooney Murray
Lynne Mooney Murray

Heirloom pieces

Invest in high quality pieces that will stand the test of time. It’s so special to choose some key pieces that your child can keep forever and pass on to their own children some day.

Wooden items like doll’s houses, a train track, rocking horses and toys will make cute additions to any play space and will make a wonderful heirloom to treasure. These types of items tend to make us nostalgic for our own childhood and they never go out of fashion, so can easily be enjoyed by future generations.

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