An Invitation to Play

It occurs to me every now and then that I really don’t know what I am doing! Every day is a learning activity for me and the Robot.  That’s what parenting is all about, isn’t it?

Pinterest is one of my favourite places to play on-line. There is always so many useful playful websites out there to get ideas from. One thing that I spot all the time though is that these ideas are coming from parents that are or have been teachers. If not teachers, trained in some sort of early years capacity.   It’s no wonder they come up with lots of fab ideas.

I am not trained in childcare at all. I take pleasure playing with my son. As I suppose you do too, but I want to prove that ANYONE can do these fun things with their kids! The messier the better I say, but it doesn’t have to be messy all the time…

Today we are inviting you to PLAY!

An Invitation to Play

The Robot pretty much trashes the lounge when he is in it. All the toys come out of the box, things are thrown about, played with, chewed, hidden, trod on, you name it, it gets done.

One thing we do for him when he goes off to nap is create an inviting environment for him to come back too.  Setting the room up with his toys layed out in an attractive way.  For example:

His Duplo we break down and leave it in containers for him to sort and select:

duplo blocks set up in different containers ready to be used and sorted

Things that stack or toys that require something doing to them we set up ready to smash down:

stacking block tower set up and ready to knock down.

He loves his cars, so we set it up on his road map so he can play with them.  Adding in a few oversized animals too:

car mat with cars on

We hide collections of things under blankets so when he lifts it up he gets a surprise:

The possibilities are endless but I find he plays better for longer when the room is more inviting for him.  The room still looks trashed once he has finished but it was way more fun than having to sort through his toy box himself!

What things do you do with your little ones to help them play?    I think I have only just touched the surface so I’ll welcome your ideas and please share them with us.


mess and play logo





  1. This is fab – I’m definitely guilty of just shoving everything in a pile but both my kids (even the 7year old) play much better when things are properly organised.

    The other thing I do with the toddler is rotate the toys once every week or so – this means she hasn’t got an overwhelming pile of ‘stuff’ and everything seems new again.

    After Christmas she’ll probably have enough ‘sets’ of things that it’ll be time to organise things into shelving like they do in nurseries- need to convince my husband we need a trip to Ikea 😉

    1. isntitpretty

      I keep trying to remember to rotate toys but we really don’t have that many. We do have a lot of sets though so maybe this is something I should look at one day! Thanks for your lovely comment 🙂

  2. Oh what fun! I like your ideas! I’ll have to try that early some morning before peanut gets up. My little ones like to participate and “play” all over the house! Some of their favorite activities are helping me bake, especially when it’s pie crust because they play with a little bit like playdough and get to bake a creation. Otherwise, definitely love arts and crafts. Oh and building bridges together for the cars and trains to use. What fun! Love to play.

  3. This is fab. I am a teacher but I agree you don’t need to be trained to set up play stations. I mostly work with young children. The things they love to explore most are adult experiences in miniature. So I fill tubs with mud and put in gardening equipment if it’s a rainy day if not go outside. They love sand and water and you can put almost any plastic toy in and they’ll love it as well as rocks, shells, leaves etc. I think mostly just think about a few simple things and let them imagine the rest. #familyfun
    Steph D recently posted…Park Life in PicturesMy Profile

    1. isntitpretty

      I can’t quite imagine having to work with the two different ages so it’s great that you can get inspiration from me. I’ll probably be coming to you one day if I have a second child!!

  4. Oh lovely! I definitely agree that a little effort making the room look more inviting will lead to longer play. I think if you separate out the little play stations then the babe has to move around the room to each one, and I think they find that less confusing than just loads of toys in the middle. I’m going to try and organise the toys in my babe’s play pen so that he lasts a little longer while I get ready for work!!

  5. I used to do this for my boy all the time as he just used to throw toys about instead of play with them. He doesn’t really play with his toys at the minute so maybe I need to start doing it again. Love the duplo xx #familyfun

  6. My youngest is 7 now (insert mommy sobs here) and my eldest is 12 (insert me freaking out here), then i have a 9 year old. I found when they were tiny and even still now that rotating toys worked so well. When they haven’t seen something in a while they get super excited. #familyfun

  7. Aww, what lovely ideas. I have to admit I’ve never done any of these , but I do rotate toys and bring certain sets downstairs for a few days, like playmobile, happy land, toot toot etc. We also have three boxes in a cabinet in the living room and used to alternate which one I brought out each day, now my youngest is two she tends to just open the cupboard (or get her brother to) and help herself.
    Alana – Burnished Chaos recently posted…Words To Live By #6: Do Not JudgeMy Profile

  8. Sam

    This is such a good idea. I always just put the toys away and my daughter pulls them out again, but I’m sure she would have so much more fun if I’d set them up for her to play with. I don’t know why I’ve never thought of doing it before. And on that note, I’m off to set up the dolls house – I won’t play with it before she gets back from nursery, I promise! Ha.
    Sam recently posted…Don’t Worry, Be Happy My Profile

  9. One thing I set up early on was an area of the living room for the children. 4 canvas bins full of different types of toy sit ready for them to play with. I’m all about the children having independence. It amuses me when the health nurse asks me whether they can play with the things. It goes without saying right? #FamilyFun
    Helena recently posted…Word of the Week: BeginningMy Profile

  10. This is a great idea. I usually get a few toys out at a time and dot them round the living room rather than have everything out all at once. I’m just getting into baking and did a bit of messy play in the summer. When we get some more presents at Xmas I’m going to start rotating all her toys too. #FamilyFun

  11. My little one is only 5 months old so I’m still a few months away to have him playing by himself.
    In any case, I love the idea of setting the playing environment for him. This is something that I would have never thought and I love it!
    My favourite one is hiding stuff under the blankets! 🙂
    #familyfun (sorry for the late comment!)
    Estefania – The Spanish Mom recently posted…Up in the Air – Advice for your baby’s first flightMy Profile

  12. Pingback: Number Blocks Lego Fun -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.