Tiny Playtime

big play ideas for little people

Playroom Ideas

What to put in a playroom or play space, where to get it, and how to organise it.

There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to setting up and styling a playroom or play space. Each space will be individual and unique to the child it has been prepared for and often the space will reflect the child’s interests and personality. That being said, it’s helpful to know where to start, and how to organise a playroom for your little one. The internet is full of endless playroom ideas and examples that can spark excitement or on the contrary, can instill anxiety, as all too often the internet provides us with unrealistic expectations of what our life should look like. The playroom you create has to suit you. It has to suit the space you are working with, it has to suit your budget and most importantly, it has to suit your child or children! So here are some things to keep in mind when you are designing a playroom or play space for your child.
Wooden Toys for Toddlers


Storage is so incredibly important. A well organised space is a functional space. It’s hard to look any further than Ikea for great versatile storage options for a playroom. If you sat and scrolled through pinterest playrooms you would probably notice a lot of them feature Ikea storage units. The trofast line of storage units are brilliant for including in a playroom. They come in different sizes and styles, different colours, and you can change the configurations of the tubs you choose to use. They aren’t overly expensive and are often available second hand if you look around. You can purchase the units with or without the tubs depending on whether you’re happy with the tub options provided, or want to customise them to suit your needs. It can also be handy to purchase a few extra tubs if you like the idea of having a playroom toy rotation. These can then be filled, but stored away in cupboards and brought out when you need them.
Ikea Trofast Storage
Kmart have also brought out a similar storage option that mimics the Ikea Trofast line. They are slightly more affordable however may not be as sturdy.
Kmart Toy Storage

Alternatively, many people opt for different shelving cube units and then they have the freedom to either fill each space with a basket or toys or use the space to display toys. This might be considered more of a Montessori approach to storing and displaying toys.

Montessori Shelving


There are so many brilliant toys available to our littles ones these days. It’s hard to not get carried away and many of us would have a wishlist a mile long of toys we would love to see in our child’s playroom. Open ended toys are great for developing independent play and promoting curiosity and creativity. These are toys that grow with your child and can be used in more than one way. And when you see your little one discover a new way to play with a particular toy, you might notice you get just as much joy out of it as they do! Some popular toys that fall into this category and are often considered must-haves in a playroom are:
  • A block set
    Animal figurines
    Peg dolls/play people
    Play kitchen
    Play silks
    Magnetic tiles
Now there are hundreds of block sets available to purchase online these days. And the same goes for the rest of these toys. Again, the best option for you is the one that fits your budget and your space. Not everyone can afford to spend $240 on a wooden block set (no matter how beautiful it would look in your playroom) and sometimes, the Kmart or Target equivalent, will offer your child the exact same learning experience and enjoyment as the designer toy brand would.
Ikea Play Kitchen


Furniture in a playroom can be really important. Firstly, if you are spending hours playing with your child or children (or even just supervising your little independent learners), it can be nice to have somewhere more comfortable to sit than the floor! And secondly, it can help create different zones within your playroom or offer inviting spaces for children to play or read. Play couches seem to be an increasingly popular item to have in a playroom or play space. They are essentially, modular pieces of foam, that can be placed together in different configurations to create a couch, or many other play options. There are definitely benefits if you have the budget and space to fit a playcouch in your playroom. They are comfortable to sit on for both adults and children, they can double as a spare mattress if you want to have a sleepover or you need to spend the night in your child’s room during times of illness or sleep regressions, but they can also be so much more. From cubby houses, to obstacle courses, to a cozy reading nook or a toddler’s castle and everything in between. You might also have the space to include a small table within your playroom or play space. When choosing a table, keep in mind you want something easy to clean! This includes being able to clean all kinds of toddler mess off it, and easily, such as food, playdough or crayon and pencil marks! Some people prefer to keep their little one’s table closer to their kitchen or living area where floors are less likely to be carpeted and therefore easier to clean, meaning your child can be as creative and messy as they like, bring on the sensory play!


A collection of books in a playroom is always a valuable addition. Children naturally love looking at books and there are endless options out there to engage and spark joy in your little ones. If you want your playroom to be a place where you are embracing the Montessori approach then you might like to carefully select a number of books your child can flip through independently. Board books and sensory books are great for this and there are so many available at shops like Kmart, Target and Big W. Alternatively, opp shops are always great for picking up pre-loved children’s books and if you buy them this way you might find you’re less worried about the books getting damaged. Don’t forget to provide an inviting space for your little one to sit and read once they have selected the book they want (and probably thrown every other book on the floor in the process). This can be something as simple as a few cushions or pillows for them to snuggle into whilst they enjoy their book!

Where is the best place to buy everything I need for my playroom?

As mentioned earlier, Ikea has an abundance of options when it comes to children’s furniture and storage options. A lot of these items have been tried and trusted in playroom after playroom and clearly stand the test of time. From their popular Duktig kid’s play kitchen to their infamous Flisat sensory table, Ikea could be the one stop shop you need to set up a large part of your playroom! Comparable items can be found in stores such as Kmart and Bunnings, however, don’t expect to find your dream Montessori toys at bunnings, you might be best leaving that for your furniture items only! Toys can be found anywhere and everywhere. There are endless boutique businesses running online selling the most beautiful open-ended, Montessori style toys amongst other things. It all comes down to budget. If you have a bigger budget to spend on some special toys for your little ones, some great online shops to checkout are: My Happy Helpers U.Me Play Oskar’s Wooden Ark Hip Kids Toy Park If you don’t have the budget, you can always source similar toys at a much cheaper price. Big chain stores like Kmart, Big W and Target do a great job at their own versions of all the toys you see all over Instagram. However sometimes it’s worth shopping in store rather than online so you know what you’re getting. Because sometimes the saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is very much correct when buying budget toys. The longevity of a toy can be significantly different when purchasing on a budget. But don’t let that put you off, because there are also some great finds out there. So think about the toy you are purchasing and how you see your child using that toy. If you are hoping to embrace the Montessori approach, you may want to be purchasing toys that grow with your child. In that case, if you’re purchasing a toy you expect your child to play with for years, it might be worth the investment. But if it’s a toy you see your child only being able to use for around a year or less, perhaps the budget option will suffice!

What if I have a small budget or a small space?

Small Budget
Marketplace is your friend. And it is very quick to understand what you are trying to hunt down on the second hand market and before you know it, your marketplace feed will be filled with great second hand buys to fill your playroom or play space. You can also be picky with how ‘used’ is too ‘used’ and how far you would be willing to travel for a bargain. Children are constantly outgrowing their childhood furniture and toys and as many parents know, we often find ourselves donating, or selling items that are practically new, for whatever the reason may be. Sometimes what one child is interested in, another child won’t be interested in at all. Sometimes we forget we have certain toys or items that were gifted, or tucked away until they’re older, only to bring them out when it’s too late. So there are plenty of really good used items available if you spend the time looking.
Some tips for buying second hand toys/playroom items:

Make sure you’ve seen the photos. If they only have one photo up, ask for more.
Consider whether or not the item can be cleaned with a nice strong disinfectant (this is always nice for peace of mind).
Don’t be afraid to ask if it is a pet free/smoke free home. Items that aren’t plastic can often harbor smells, and you don’t want to fill your playroom with items smelling of smoke, or someone else’s dogs!
Clarify why something might be listed as only ‘good’ or ‘fair’ condition. Because the reason may or may not bother you.
Compare what you are considering paying for something that is second-hand, versus what it would cost brand new.

If you are unsure what to search, try some of these and see what comes up in your local area:

  • Montessori toys
  • Open ended toys
  • Sensory table
  • Ikea play table
  • Ikea toy storage
  • Trofast storage unit
  • Toddler toys
  • Baby toys
  • Wooden toys
Small Space
With the housing market at the highest it’s ever been, many people are finding that what they originally imagined as their ‘dream home’ or their ‘non-negotiables’ when buying a property, are well and truly out the window. You basically pay more and get less these days. So many people are living in houses or apartments with small bedrooms and small living spaces. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on having a special little room or space for your child to spend their days playing in. It just means you have to calculate what you put into that space a little bit more carefully and perhaps you have to forgo some of the items you had imagined you would see in your playroom.
But there are some great options available for small space living. For example, consider a table that also includes storage. Or if you don’t have room for a bookshelf, place books in a basket for your child to enjoy, or invest in some small book ledges for your walls to display and rotate your child’s favourite books. There are some great compact play kitchen options including the popular Ikea Duktig kitchen (which is great for kitchen hacks to style it the way you want), or even small benchtop play kitchen options that can be placed on top of a storage unit or a table.

Try and keep enough space open on the floor for your little one to spread out some toys or an activity and not feel cramped and cluttered. You could even consider a playmat that encourages imaginative play, such as a race track, or a map of a zoo or something similar. It might not be as aesthetically pleasing as a neutral geometric play mat, but it will serve multiple purposes which is great in a small space. And ultimately, the storage you choose could make or break a small space. Having toys well organised and clearly labeled, can make a small space feel less overwhelming. This also reflects the Montessori approach to play where children aren’t presented with an overwhelming amount of toys, but rather a limited number of carefully selected toys, and often toys that can be played with in multiple ways and by children of multiple ages. Happy days!