A Playroom for Pre-Schoolers

Friday, April 08, 2011 Aimee Larsen 3 Comments

You many not know this but I am not only a mom of 3 boys, I also teach 3 & 4 year old children in this wonderful place called Creative Playtime.  It's not just a place for children to spend 4 hours a day, a few days a week playing with other kids.  It is an environment where kids explore their world with other kids their age and get to stretch their imagination while learning the fundamentals necessary for school.

I'm cleaning up the kids room and keeping in mind that I am a teacher after all.  Remember this mess from several days ago? I realized that their play environment at home should be no less stimulating and accessible as it is at school.  Wouldn't you agree?

I love this so it's staying.

My husband and I built this light box.  I got the idea from...you guessed it, Creative Playtime.  Their light box was expensive from a catalog and ours cost about $20 because we made it.  The light box has several different blocks that the kids can play with.  I'm leaving these out for a week and then I will replace them with one of these.  We have magnetic builders, gears, wooden blocks and more.

This toy below is one of my kids favorites.  It was a great deal at Christmas on Amazon for only $9.99 and I was so excited when it came in a really flat box for us to put together.   It was worth the effort.  It's made from wood and came with wooden cars and a helicopter.

The other toy that's hanging around for awhile is the rug below.  I will not have to take it out, only change the toys that they will play with on the floor.  This week, I'm limiting it to a few odd pieces to see where their imagination takes them.  Next week, I might put out the trains or maybe the hot wheels. 

An element that I personally believe should be in every classroom from Pre-K to Grade 12 is a comfortable spot to read a book and books to choose from.  I obsess a little over children's books but more importantly, I stress the importance of the "experience of books" in our house.

The boys also love their kitchen.  Jake likes to help me cook for real and this gives him a chance to mimic my amazing cooking skills.  I think however, I'm going to give them a dust rag for future playtime.  All the remodeling we've done in their room has left a slight white film...sorry you had to witness it.  I wouldn't wish this dust on anyone.

The general rule of thumb at Creative Playtime is that we change the children's play environment weekly.  We build on their experiences as well...think Montessori style teaching.  With all the toys the boys have, I am able to divide these items up and sort them into containers.  Then put the containers away.  Every week from now on, we will put away the "old" toys and pull out the "new".  it's a little like when you rotate toys from the attic, which I still do.  However, the amount of toys is ridiculous even when I am rotating them.  So now it is a matter of scaling WAY back.


  1. This is an interesting thought. I'm not so sure my slightly older kids would go for it, but I like it! :)

  2. Having all of the kids toys out is overwhelming (for them as well as for me). Storage totes can get pretty pricey (when you have only 1 income and 3 children), so I have been repurposing kitty litter bins (the big plastic ones) - with a good scrub and a layer of primer & paint they are great! Also, I love that reading nook you've got going there. My 3 are under 5 and books have become a huge irritant - they're EVERYWHERE. How do you encourage toddlers to keep the books in their place? Mine drags them all over, then drops them in the middle of the floor and forgets about them. Suggestions? At the moment I only have about 5 board books out, and they're STILL being dragged hither and yon....

  3. It's okay for them to take them all around, that just means they love them. Well worn books are so nice to see in my opinion. The picking up part is just like everything else. We do it together at the end of the day, just like when they brush their teeth. When you bend over to pick one up that's in the middle of the floor and out of place, it might be a good time to sit down and read it to them. Just enjoy that they love books as much as any toy. I just make putting away easy with baskets for our board books.


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