Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Toddler Activities: Play Centers

Let's face it... Our prestine perfect spotless Pinterest inspired Homes now look like 50 children ransacked the place. 

When Landon was born, I decided to have discovery centers instead of just housing "toys" (aka: junk). 

I only provide enough toys for learning. The others I store away. I try not to let him scatter toys. He will move them from place to place, but when I ask him to "clean up", he will organize his toys and put them back where he got them.

The trick is to not let children overwhelm or over exert children with their environment.  I will often put store his toys as a set and store them in bins. We rotate our toys weekly so he doesn't get bored. 

"Home living" was introduced at 12 months. It's a great way for him to have a space to use his imagination, learn through play and reinact what he sees us do in the kitchen. 

A quiet area is very important for a toddler to unwind and re-collect their thoughts. We use a little blow-up tub and give him books that we rotate weekly.  
When he's acting a little nutty, I will tell him to "go read some books". He will sit and quietly look at books for 10-15 minutes.

A puzzle area is a great place to learn! I rotate puzzles 2-3x a day. We introduced puzzles at an early age. Around 12 months he started solving his puzzles. 

Landon can focus on 2-3 puzzles at a time. Pretty impressive! 

We brought in our outdoor basketball hoop over the weekend. Having a ball area is great for Landon's large motor skills, hand eye coordination and I love that he can "dunk" his ball. 
Such an athlete!

A building area is important for imaginative play, stacking, balance and hand/eye coordination. 
We offer blocks in all shape and sizes so he can learn to balance objects of different weights. This helps him to use his mind to problem solve. 

We have art time 1-2x a day. Drawing, coloring, painting is done in the kitchen. We introduced a magnadoodle because it's clean and mess free but it still allows him to be creative. 
He colors on this thing ALL DAY LONG!! He recently learned how to delete his art piece and start over. 

A car area is great for Landon. He recently has become obsessed with small cars. He got this track for Christmas. It's wide so he can easily balance his cars. 

His current favorite game is "traffic". Let's hope he doesn't have road rage like his father. 

Pretend play scapes are great for young children. Let's face it, you'll get tons of these toys for birthdays and Christmas. I will store them in the closet with their matching figurines. We rotate these weekly and I love to watch him use his imagination as he discovers how to play with his toys. 

Here's another play scape we love is the Mickey Mouse farm house! 
Here he is playing with it on Christmas Day! 

 A climbing area is a must for toddlers. We actually have a large slide but it's currently put away until his stitches heal. Climbing is great for toddlers to build balance and large motor skills. A snack mat is important.. Or any mat in General is important when your little one needs to be disciplined.

A large climbing area really helps a child burn off energy. 

 We will often have him sit on his mat for snacks or if he's being "crazy" I'll tell him to sit on his mat.

How to store toys:

When we are not using certain toys, we will put away most of it in closets and bins.

You can buy these bins at target for $.89.

I also store them with larger toys in the closet. This makes it easier to rotate toys weekly. Everything has it's place and I don't end up with random pieces laying around. 

I really hope this post helps! 


  1. You are so organized! I love these areas. I may have to get a blow up tub for a reading area -- so cute!

    1. Thank you!! The reading tub really helps and or fluffy pillows!

  2. now that we have a house.... im going to tackle the mess of toys! ive kept his kitchen in the box..till we moved...i like the reading idea... we do it together in his chair daily..but this would promote more independence and as you said.. "quiet time" or chill out time! :)

    1. Awe!! He's going to love his kitchen! Landon loves to read! We have little book corners around the house (bathroom, play room, car and living room) don't forget to rotate toys!