Summer Play Space Tour

Our home is our little sanctuary and I love nothing more than curating a play space that my children can spend hours playing imaginary games in.

I first realised the true importance of space when we began our life as expats. My husbands career means that we travel to different countries every couple of year and that does make it difficult to put down roots. The vast majority of our furniture isn’t ours and our houses are always rented, so to make them cosy and ‘homely’ I started to place a big emphasis on our home environment.

As parents of young children, we do spend a lot of time at home which means that our play space is where my children spend most of THEIR time. Environment is also considered ‘the third teacher’ in Reggio philosophy, making it doubly important in my opinion.


a 6 year old girl wearing a pink floppy hat eats a strawberry ice-cream, she has a big smile on her face

The Summer Play Space Tour

For me, preparing the play space for summer is an important task. With the long summer break on the horizon, my middle child will be home from school and spending more time in the play space too!

In addition, now that my youngest child is growing up (he turned 4 in April), I wanted to make some big changes to the space to make it more appropriate for their growing needs.

So why do I think play spaces are particularly important in summer? 

Well, I don’t believe that children need 24/7 entertainment and I don’t believe that a non-stop schedule during the summer is the answer. In order to help my children play independently, the play space needs to be an area where they can access items easily and let their imaginations run wild.

Furniture Swaps

The biggest change has been swapping out the white IKEA kallax shelves for the wooden book cases in my eldest sons room. We all prefer the change! I can put a wider variety of items on the shelves for my youngest two children and my eldest son can display more of his favourite books and Lego creations.

If you’re looking for some of our IKEA play space favourites, you can read about them here. 

summer play space tour


Play Space Zones

I’ve aimed to maintain specific zones in the play space despite the change of furniture. This includes:

  • open shelves for toys
  • a role play corner
  • a sensory table
  • an art corner
  • invitation to play table (just out of photo)
  • books

Creating play space zones helps keep toys and other items in their dedicated spaces. It also makes it easier to tidy up after play too!

summer play space tour. Two young children play at an art easel


More small world resources!

Now that my children are growing older, there has been an increase in small world play and dramatic play. To help facilitate their focused play, I have introduced a small fairy house with felt dolls. a wooden castle play set  and moved the Schleich play sets from my daughters room into the main play space.


Toys on Permanent Display

Some toys will always be on display, no matter how old my children get. Blocks are a permanent fixture along with our connetix tiles and ball run. I can guarantee that these toys will get played with every single day as they are just so versatile!

You can read more about some of our favourite toys here. 


Art Cart Rotation

We moved away from planned crafts years ago and never looked back! They made me stressed and the kids didn’t exactly enjoy them. In place of that, we have our beloved art cart which we rotate every month or so.

To ensure that everything is ready for the summer, i’ve stocked up the cart with paint sticks, watercolours, play dough, beads and glue so that the children can get creative without it having to be an ordeal for anyone.

I highly recommend using an art cart at home because you can easily wheel it to different locations and store it neatly away when not in use.

You can read more about art carts here. 


Related Articles You Might Enjoy

How To Make Your Summer At Home With Young Children More Playful

Moving from parental overwhelm towards joy

5 Essentials for Building a Daily Rhythm

5 Reasons why your child needs plenty of outdoor play

5 Ways to Reduce Screen-time 

A Simple After-School Rhythm for Young Children 

You can also visit my Pinterest and Instagram pages for daily play inspiration.


Introducing Your Playful Year On Substack!

What if I told you that you didn’t have to figure everything out for yourself?

What if I told you I could help you plan out your playful year?

‘Your Playful Year’ is our low-cost membership over on Substack which you can get for as little as $5.80 per month. That’s basically the equivalent of one takeaway coffee + cake.

monthly A Playful Year membership featuring 3 downloadable resources: family rhythm guides, playful prompts and the family values workbook


Why Pay To Subscribe?

  • Get detailed, research-backed information from a qualified educator and mum to three children delivered straight to your inbox
  • The monthly masterclasses will help you to delve into topics and reach a deeper understanding. This is simply not possible with social media posts and regular blogs
  • The seasonal guides and resources will help you to play your upcoming season and focus on the things that matter most to your family
  • Access to the playful prompts library will help you to create easy, engaging play invitations at a low-cost
  • I help save you time and energy so you wont need to scroll social media looking for answers
  • Get access to printable resources and video masterclasses
  • Be involved and have your say – whilst topics are planned in advance, you as a subscriber also have the power to drive future focus topics.

Subscribe to get a free trial.

What Topics Are Included In The Focus Topics And Masterclasses?

This Playful Home is a three-pillared approach to raising children in the early years.

Learn how to raise your child with intentional rhythms, purposeful learning environments and play- centred educational philosophies so that you can design your own unique family roadmap.


  • family rhythms
  • environment as the third teacher
  • outdoor play
  • toy rotations
  • your role in play
  • an introduction to play schemas
  • how to set up intentional play invitations


Topics are detailed. Each month you get four emails introducing, then expanding upon the topic. You also get access to the monthly masterclass videos (I’m currently involved with Substacks’s video beta test) as well as printable resources and journal prompts.


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.