Winter Play Space tour

Welcome to our Winter 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 Winter 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 Winter 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 Winter play space to find out how we do this.

Featured Products in the Winter Play Space Shelf Display

  • Small waldorf style dolls– from Ollie Ella and the Vienna Christmas markets!
  • Wooden Rainbow from Grimms Wooden Toys
  • Wooden trees from Grimms Wooden Toys
  • Fairy lights from IKEA
  • Wicker ‘house’ basket – from Ollie Ella
  • Play silks from Sarah’s Silks
  • Rope lights – ordered from Amazon

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


What’s include in our Winter play space

A copy of the seasonal Family Rhythm

One of they key items on display in our winter play space is the family rhythm chart. Each season, we host a family meeting to discuss the activities we’d most like to do together. We keep a handwritten copy of this in the play space so that we can keep track.

I often find that the winter season gets a little overtaken by all things Christmas, but Winter is a beautiful season in its own right. Having a family rhythm for winter helps us to look forward to things beyond December 25th.

a handwritten bucket list is displayed in the play space to keep track of all of the activities the family want to do in winter

Play Space Display Shelf

Having feature shelves helps us to focus on the key themes and so our winter play space features small world elements that all have relevance. Here are some items that we include:

  • twinkle lights
  • blue and purple toys – to differentiate from Christmas
  • Small branches decorated with gold and silver ribbon, plus white pompoms to represent snow
  • A blue play silk to represent ice and frost
  • sprigs of pine from the Christmas tree
  • small felt waldorf style dolls, gnomes and fairies

a 6 year old girl puts the finishing touches to a winter play space



Rope Lights

a 5 year old girl in a tutu plays with some magnetic tiles. The play space is illuminated with rope lights

Because it gets dark so early in the winter months, rope lights make a beautiful addition to the winter play space. They work well with a range of play scenarios such as the ones shown above and below this text.

Alternatively, place the rope lights behind your play space shelving units for some temporary ‘uplights’.


a young girl drives cars along a way to play road. The space is illuminate with rope lights



If you have a play kitchen, consider adding themed playdough to your winter play space. Featured below is a cinnamon and orange scented dough, but we’ve also used cranberry and hot chocolate playdough on other occasions.

leftover cinammon scented playdough in the play space

Winter & Christmas Themed Books

Books are a key part of our family life – and they feature in our winter play space set up too. Prior to Christmas Day, we do a book advent but afterwards we focus on winter themed topic books.

New books can be costly, so consider checking out your local charity shops or request books from your local library ahead of time.

Follow me on How I drink my Coffee Hot for an update about my exciting new book project which will be launching soon.

an old copy of 'The Night Before Christmas' is held up to the camera


Get the This Playful Home Christmas Gift Guide

If you’re reading this Winter Play Space tour before Christmas, why not consider downloading my Christmas gift guide. It’s unique because it doesn’t feature any sponsored links – plus we personally own everything recommended!

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You can access the This Playful Home Christmas Gift guide for free via my Substack newsletter, ‘How I drink my Coffee Hot.’ 

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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.