Autumn Play Space Tour

Welcome to our Autumn play space tour. Each season, we rotate our toys, books and resources to celebrate the months ahead. It’s a simple way to learn about the seasonal changes in nature at an age appropriate level.

Whilst we also do plenty of seasonal activities, our Autumn play space allows the children to explore at their own pace. As they play, they start to make connections to the world around them, particularly when we use seasonal colours and natural resources.

As my children grown older, we do fewer play space rotations. They no longer need to have items specifically showcased on the shelves because they predominately play with open-ended materials and loose parts. Doing play space rotations and encouraging independent play in the early years has definitely payed off and they can now play for hours without complaining that they are bored.

This approach is reflected in this Autumn play space tour. We have graduated from weekly rotations to seasonal themes where specific toys, books and resources are added to their usual collection. Continue to read this blog post about our Autumn play space to find out how we do this.

a whimsical snapshot of play where Maileg mice are visiting a pumpkin patch. This is all possible when open ended resources are mixed with seasonal pieces

These themes are fully embraced by the children and based on their interests. They absolutely love the start of the new seasons – and Autumn especially with all the nature treasures that can be found. My daughter (7) always helps put our featured displays together.

As you can see from the photograph above, combining seasonal pieces with Autumn themed resources allows for a number of sweet and whimsical play scenarios – just like these Maileg Mice visiting a pumpkin patch. Real mini pumpkins were used which adds a sensory element to play.

An Autumn play space shelfie featuring Maileg Mice, pumpkin lanterns and wooden houses


Featured Products in the Autumn Play Space Shelf Display

  • Mice and camping set – all from Maileg
  • Wooden Rainbow from Grimms Wooden Toys
  • Wooden trees from Grimms Wooden Toys
  • Woodland animals from Tender Leaf Toys
  • Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak
  • Autumn by Gerda Muller
  • ‘Pompom’ lights from Flying Tiger
  • Fairy lights in jars from IKEA
  • Pumpkins – all the real deal from a Pumpkin Patch on the outskirts of Vienna.
  • Conkers – from the local park

We use battery operated LED lights in the play space – for safety, choose ones where you need a screwdriver to open the case.

A horizontal photograph of an autumn play space with a themed display on top with real pumpkins and open-ended materials on the shelves


A Play Cafe Refresh for Autumn

Each season, we theme our IKEA Duktig play kitchen. In the past we have made pumpkin spice playdough and apple scented playdough to use in our kitchen. The play kitchen is a fantastic resource for dramatic play and now that my children are older, they play beautifully together, taking it in turns to be a customer and the cafe owner.
You can read a whole post about our Autumn themed play cafe here. 

Featured Products:

  • Ikea Duktig Play kitchen
  • Coffee machine from Le Toy Van
  • Weighing Scales from Le Toy Van
  • Mini Pumpkins – all real, see above
  • Basket from Flying Tiger
  • Sunflowers – real from the local florist!

a blonde 4 year old boy hands over change in a pumpkin cafe - this is a simple dramatic play idea for an autumn play space

Books featured in our Autumn Play Space

We have a small Flisat bookstand with seasonal books on display. Rather than solely featuring Autumnal books, we also include nature books too.

Some of our favourite Autumn reads:

  • Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak
  • Autumn by Gerda Muller
  • Usborne Outdoor Activity Book
  • Usborne ‘Peep Inside’ Night time Book
  • The Usborne Woodland Book
  • Nature’s Day Out and About by Kay Maguire and Danielle Kroll
  • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
  • The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
  • Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
  • Moon: Night-time around the world by Britta Teckentrup
  • Tree: Seasons come, seasons go by Britta Teckentrup

Autumn play space books for toddlers


How to build a collection for your own Autumn Play Space

I want to explain that we have slowly built up a collection over a number of years. My eldest son is now 14 and we have been building a collection of resources with every birthday and Christmas.

I always have mixed feelings about sharing play space inspiration on social media and my website. It’s easy to look at collections like mine and think that you need to fill a play space with expensive wooden toys immediately.



Autumn Blog posts to read next:

If you loved this Autumn play space tour, you might also enjoy some of our other Autumn posts. Most are suitable for both toddlers and preschoolers:

Autumn Art Ideas for Preschoolers

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Mask

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt story basket

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt pre-writing skills  activity 

21 Autumn Ideas for the Entire Family

Autumn Activities for Kids: 25 Playful Prompts

Autumn Loose Parts Play

Autumn Preschool Leaf Cutting Tray

Apple Playdough Activity

You can also search the keyword ‘Autumn’ in the blog search bar for the most up-to-date Autumn blog post listing.


Interested in learning more?

If you enjoyed this Autumn play space blog post and want to learn more about toys and play spaces, you might just like my exclusive membership, ‘How I drink my Coffee Hot’ too. The membership costs just $5 per month and you get access to 10 mini courses on a range of topics including sensory play, play spaces and starting school. Here are some membership posts that you might enjoy:

Family Rhythms for Autumn

Play Space 101 Mini Course

Toys 101 Mini Course

Sian Thomas
an image of This Playful Home founder, Sian Thomas. The photo includes a photo of her daughter when she was around 18 months old

I’m Siân (rhymes with yarn), a play advocate, proud parent to three, and former teacher. My mission is to infuse more joy and less overwhelm into the lives of parents. Discover play-based activities with me that not only make learning FUN but also forge deep connections with your young learners, creating memories to cherish forever.