Tips and Ideas for Parents

A space created for you to feel


How can we design inspiring play spaces at home?

By Denise Teo

Before you jump up and move furniture around. It is helpful to think about these questions before you begin:

  1. What kind of environment inspires you as an individual? Perhaps nature, wide clean clutter free spaces, or music?

  2. Where do you get inspiration for your own home? I gather mine from Pinterest and home decor magazines.

  3. What are some considerations and values that you have when it comes to the design for your home? Most will consider functionality, feel, or beauty.

Sandra Duncan is one of my inspirations on designing spaces. She is a world renown author who wrote the book Inspiring Spaces for Young Children.


She invites schools to enhance children's educational environment in a beautiful way by emphasizing aesthetic environmental qualities that are often overlooked in early childhood classrooms, such as nature, color, furnishings, textures, displays, lighting, and focal points.


Beautiful spaces can be created in schools as well as in your home! Today we are going to take a closer look at the 7 principles discussed in the book to make play spaces inspiring even in the comfort of your own home!


1. Nature Inspires Beauty - Think of ways that we can bring the outside in in times like this. Grow a plant, use rocks and stones and shells as loose parts for play. In our home, we use these natural loose parts at the play kitchen. And recently we have been growing food scraps which is great fun for children!

2. Colour Generates Interest - Play around with the toys and resources you have at home. Today shall be a yellow day! Hence, all invitations for play and reading shall be done using yellow resources. An absolute favourite in our home? Coloured water play with different toys.

3. Furnishings Define Space - This was shared in an earlier post about how to set up a learning space at home. Ensure that furnishings give children an instruction of what to do in the space. Is it a space for writing and drawing? Can I spread all my toys here to play? Ensure the furnishings send a right message to the right type of activity for your child to engage in.

4. Texture Adds Depth - Offer different kinds of materials for your children to play. Don't stick to just plastic toys! Mix it around. Offer glass pebbles, metal play furniture and natural materials for them to manipulate and play with. It encourages creativity in the use of different materials for play.

5. Displays Enhance the Environment - Allow spaces in the home for your child to display his/her favourite toy, art piece or any creation. The act of displaying allows for your child to revisit the favourite thing, he/she can choose to admire it or add on to his/her work at a later time.

6. Elements Heightened Ambience - Incorporate the element of water, light and sound in play. This offers children different perspectives to engage in daily play experiences.

7. Focal Points Attract Attention - Instead of having toys strewn over the playroom or play area. Keep away all except for one or a few sets of toys. Set it up nicely that it is inviting to the child. That creates a nice focal point for your child when he/she enters the space. And sets an intention for them to start play (work).

We hope this has been helpful for you to create beautiful, inspiring (yet practical and functional) spaces for your child to play and learn. Till next time!

Team ELC

EtonHouse Learning Portal

© 2020 EtonHouse International Education Group

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