How To Set Up A Playroom Your Kids Will Use

how to set up a playroom your kids will use

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One of my most popular posts ever is my Play ( and learn) Room post where I walk readers through all the elements I think are essential for a playroom. The playroom in that post is designed for a young toddler and preschooler, the post explains what toys we had in our playroom and why they are important for learning. Here’s the thing my playroom looks very different now that my toddler is a preschooler and my preschooler is in 2nd grade. I am not ready to give up on this room though, it’s a happy room and with a few changes and a good clean my kids are completely in love again. This post is about how to set up a playroom your kids will use once they have outgrown your existing one. I knew I had to share the changes with you.

In this post a lot of the toys my children use and love are listed with affiliate links.

In the original post  ( read it here) I listed these elements as the must have for a good playroom for very young kids :

  • Blocks
  • Books
  • Table and chairs to create on.
  • Dress up
  • Practical life
  • Puzzles
  • Musical instruments
  • A comfy place to look at books
  • Art on the walls.

Here is how I have changed the room as my kids have aged. The main elements haven’t been deleted just adapted.

stem toys for the playroom

Our block area no longer has Little People Builders , wooden, or Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks instead our toys have turned from these wonderful basics to the next step with Gears
, Automoblox , HEXBUG , and Color Clix . All of these toys allow my kids to build at their own level which is important when you have a 4 year old and an almost 8 year old. They also let them build and play together. Having them all out and ready lets them use the toys however they want. This weekend my daughter made a gear machine to spin her Magiclip Princesses
and see which could stay on and which would fall off. No prompting just access to the right toys. One toy that has been a favorite from day one and is still is  LEGO
and DUPLO ( yes they both still play with it). The Duplo is in the playroom but Lego is in their bedrooms where they can protect their creations from demolition.

what every playroom needs

Our book nook is pretty much the same although most of the board books are gone ( a few favorites remain) and more non-fiction and chapter books have made their way on to the shelves. how to set up a book nook in yor playroom


One notable difference is our craft table. how to make a playroom your kids will useThe table is the same but now it’s filled with art supplies within reach. The only thing that I don’t have out and available are liquid tempra and sharpies.  Once my daughter is past her finger paint to whole body paint stage I will have it within reach. how to set up a playroom for your homeThe sharpies… I’m just not ready yet.  I have art daubers, markers, colored pencils, crayons, glue, googly eyes, buttons, gems, scissors, paper and more all out ready to be used.

Our kitchen area is filled with a lot more food, tea sets, and crocheted sushi. But we play grocery store with the cash register and shopping cart ,using the kitchen as the produce section and working on everything from manners, building confidence and math while we play.

The instruments have been moved to my toddler classroom where they are enthusiastically used! If your kids don’t use toys get rid of them no matter how awesome you think they are. You can pass them on to a friend or just put them away for a while and see if absence makes the heart grow fonder.

writing center in playroom

Some of the things we have added is the easel and a writing center on the top of the drawers that hold our Duplo, puzzles, and more. The writing center is a place to play with letters with pencils, markers, and even stamps. Our travel chalkboard and small Magna Doodle are more tools for to set up a playroom for kids The easel gets used for drawing, writing, and even as a place to hang paintings to dry. You might recognize our cutting station which is used often and a great way to use scrap paper and broken beaded necklaces. It’s also a fun challenge. cutting station in a playroom

The space hasn’t changed dramatically but what’s in it has evolved slowly.

Do you have a playroom? How has it changed as your children have grown? Tell me about it in comments.

Play ( and learn) Room !

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playroom design

Our playroom is my  favorite room in the house. It’s more than a playroom though, it’s also a learning room and my husband affectionately calls it my classroom. I wanted to share it with you today to help explain a little about how we use it to promote learning through play at our house. We have lots of free time in this room as well as outside, or wherever else in our house they want to play but this room offers the most fun for obvious and not so obvious reasons.

First of all this is how the room looked when I went to take pictures.

 It’s lived in, it invites play, this is not a space that needs to be clean and tidy all the time. There is a place for everything that enters the room so that we can find things easily but it’s not the living room ( although that probably has some books and toys in it too), it’s the playroom a place to explore not continually clean!

The elements I really urge you to have in your playroom or homeschool classroom for preschool – kindergarten include :

1. Blocks area . We are using Fisher-Price Little People Builders Builders as our blocks ( I swear there are some blocks under all those Little People) right now but we also have plain old wooden blocks and Duplo. I like these for my daughter’s fumbly toddler fingers. They stick together but she is still able to get them apart.

2. LOTS of books. Most of my books came from Scholastic Book Orders when I was a teacher. I spent way too much of my already small pay check on books. Many of the others are from Goodwill – I love used books!  Also make sure that the books are in an accessible spot. Our board books are right where my 14 month old can grab them.

3. A table and chairs that are their size. I flubbed a little on this one. I bought this Ikea  Desk Table Multi-use
and I swear I measured the legs. Still they are a little tall… nothing too bad for my son and since my daughter likes to stand instead of sit it’s no biggie right now.

4. Dress Up!  We love our Melissa & Doug Play Costumes but even if you don’t have the space for a ton of costumes for pretend play, gather some fun hats and accessories for dramatic play. Playing pretend is a great way for kids to work through feelings, practice social skills and get excited about different subjects.

5. Practical Life.  I urge parents of boys and girls to have a play kitchen even if it’s just a small table top one. This is not just for the pretend play aspect ( we play restaurant and cafe all the time) but also to spark interest in nutrition, cooking and all the learning that can come from kitchens real and pretend.

6. Puzzles! Critical thinking is critical. Puzzles are a great quiet time activity and problem solving exercise. I have also found over the years that they teach patience as well, which is probably why I personally am not a big puzzle person… We love our wooden ones , they hold up great and have proven to entertain a wide range of ages over the years.

7. Music. I know it’s not always the most pleasant thing to listen to but making music even if it’s just random banging and weird screeches on a recorder is important. Exposing your child to creating music is a great way to spark their interest and studies have shown that kids who play instruments are better at math and reading. That starts here , so let them bang and tweet away!

8. A comfy place to read.  This is our favorite place in the whole room!  I took the doors off the closet, added a shower curtain and rod, a crib mattress on the floor , cushions and a book rack. Oh and our reading lights!

Art both fine art and fine kid made art on the walls are also a must!

This post is not sponsored although like usual the links to Amazon are affiliate links.