Play resources for children’s indoor creative play
Have you ever searched or wished for a list of things you could use as play resources for children’s indoor creative play? Well, look no further. Here it is. This is the list I wanted when my daughter was small, and I’ve been adding to it over the years too. It’s a whopper!
Indoor play resources: a big list!
(NB: Adjust as necessary depending on the age of your children- we don’t want any choking hazards near babies or toddlers!)
Quite a number of these things are either FREE, or very affordable, and can be found at garage sales, opportunity shops, toy shops, museum shops, botanical gardens, the art gallery gift shop, at Grandma’s house if she is kind enough to gift it, or can be made by hand by you, a friend, or even the local women’s co-operative, men’s shed, or by the lovely ladies and men at an aged care home.
- Stitched from felt (as above) or knitted animals in all shapes and sizes. (Find plenty of patterns in the book, The Children’s Year or in my book.)
- Wooden farm animals (Plastic ones are popular too)
- ‘Farm yard’ fences (can be made from offcuts of branches as shown in top picture)
- A set of commercially bought pine blocks
- Tree branch ‘blocks’ cut into a variety of heights and widths
- ‘Castle’ blocks (My kindy children loved these!)
- All kinds of people figures and dolls (wood and wire dolls, standing dolls, paper dolls, wooden spoon dolls, peg dolls, wee felt dolls…) for acting out scenarios, doll houses, or stories. Find plenty of inspiration in my ‘dolls’ category, or in my book.
- Individual cane or wooden baskets, each one separately holding: feathers, rocks, river stones, polished stones and glass gems, seeds, wooden beads, commercial blocks, natural timber blocks from branch offcuts, small shells, feathers, twigs and sticks, marbles, pinecones, banksia pods, walnuts, seedpods of all shapes and sizes, crystals, corks, wooden spoons, wooden scoops, steel egg cups
- Driftwood in all shapes and sizes
- Interesting shaped branches and wood blocks for making bridges, stepping stones, walls of houses etc
- Accessibility to chairs (for making cubbies)
- Large flat sheets for cubby building
- Metre -square coloured cotton and cord cloths, pretty silk saris- for dress ups, for story play, for puppet shows
- Smaller squares of material to tie into dolls, or toys
- Large handmade timber pegs, and normal wooden washing line pegs ($2 from the supermarket)
- Felt balls, knitted or crocheted balls, pompoms in all shapes and sizes
- Circular pieces of felt for story-making, sitting on, for stepping stones etc
- Dress ups – simple felt hats, crowns, capes, hoods etc (handmade if you can- cheap too!), hats and belts, scarves, ribbons, lace lengths
- Crocheted or finger-knitted ropes, and wider (eg 4 cm) lengths for belts or ties for the cubby
- A rocking horse
- Small lightweight tables for moving around and building with (I like polished pine timber)
- Matchbox cars
- Wooden tree shapes or tree representations such as the ones in my book
- Long pine planks, about 25 cm wide and 1 metre, 1.5 metres and 2 metres long; polished, waxed or sealed- balanced between two chairs they can be used as shop fronts, buses for passengers, cubby walls, puppet theatres… On an incline, they can be used as indoor slides, for pinball games, for marble rolling games…
Home corner & cooking/baking play:
- Asian dishware and utensils from Asian supermarkets. I love ceramic scoops, and gorgeous tiny dishes with delightful patterns like you find here.
- Fabric offcuts, hemmed for neatness (in all kinds of textures- silk, cord, cotton, linen, wool, denim… )
- Purses and handbags- handmade if you can from felt, or cotton. Small calico library bags are good too.
- Cane or woven carry baskets for ‘shopping’ and sorting
- Silver, copper or china: kitchen trays, teapots, cups, plates, dishes, ladles, serving spoons etc
- Wooden trays, bowls, dishes, and cutting boards- especially 70′s inspired dip dishes, large shells
- A set of child-size utensils, scoops
- Recycled coffee jars and glass jars of all sizes for storing seedpods, seeds, marbles, gumnuts, wooden beads,nuts and bolts, and shells
- Child-size furniture (Ikea always has a great range), including a lounge or couch
- Wooden curtain rings, napkin rings
- Dolls and doll clothes, doll bedding, cradle, doll carriage, and hammocks, doll sleeping bags
- Doll mattress, blankets, crocheted rugs
- Wooden egg cups
- Cookie cutters
- Mini cheese graters
- Cotton tablecloths and doilies too (my son tied the doilies onto knitted horses as saddles)
- Old pottery jugs and mugs
- Straw broom
- Dustpan and brush set
- Knitted, felt, or clay ‘fruit’ or ‘food’
- Cotton aprons, chef hats
- Nature postcards and books
- Natural timber or recycled toys such as trucks, cars, swings, doll houses, doll house ladders
- Wooden containers for sorting and storing
- Handmade doll house furniture
- Sweet musical instruments such as a glockenspiel, small delicate bells, chimes, shakers
- Art prints, lovely children’s books (no rubbish!) in good order
- Sciencey things such as light prisms, colour cubes, kaleidoscopes, telescopes, binoculars
- Picture frames and book stands
- Squares of carpet
- Circular pillows
- Baskets, baskets, and more baskets
- Marble run
- Simple games-uno, dominoes, chinese checkers, ludo, snap cards, picture puzzles
Can you add anything to the list?
Leave your ideas in the comments. Thank you!
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