The play space set up can be a big chore when you’ve made the decision to open a home daycare. You wouldn’t imagine it. But to ensure that you have the appropriate toys, and amounts of toys as well as the proper way to store toys are also considerations that need to be made. Also, things like mats for the floors, and safety measures in place (kid proofing) need to be thought of. So, I have a few suggestions from my own experience that may help you take some of the guess work out of the setup.
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Play Space 101 – Safety First
Safety is the most important element to consider to the play space. This space is going to entertain littles who have very curious minds. A few must haves for safety are:
- Plug Protectors – All available plug in the play area (and home really) need to have a plug protector. There are a couple of designs, personally I like the singular plug covers by Safety 1st because it gives me access to one outlet as I need them and not have part of the plug cover dangling in my way.
- Baby Gates – If you have stairs in or around your play space a baby gate is a must. Also, you can use them to block off certain areas of the home. Baby gates that can be removed like the spring and release ones found in this link, are best for that, instead of ones you have to install.
- Cupboard and Drawer Locks – We have a TV stand in our play space (because it is also our living room) that has drawers, and if you have this too, cupboard and drawer locks are a must! Littles love opening and closing doors!
- Corner Guards – These are a must if you have sharp edges in your play space!
Toy Storage Options
I find it helpful to have toy storage that has bins that can be removed are the best ways to store toys in your play space. One of the reasons I like them so much is because you can limit how many bins come out at once, thus containing the mess a little.
I also recommend Rubbermaid bins, or something similar, to put thing like all the MEGA BLOKS or car tracks, or other toys that can be grouped together, into. I like containers that fit nicely onto a shelf so that they can be tucked away.
And speaking of shelves, a book shelf for the kids books is another great thing to have in the play room. There are book shelfs that have pockets to put the books in, and personally I prefer them to the standard shelves. Check out what I mean by clicking on this link here.
Toys, Toys, and More Toys
Really, the toys are the most important, right? You want to give the kids a good play space with toys they will enjoy! There are toys that are essential because they are never tired of. Then, there are toys that aren’t as desired, but nice to have. Kids like to have variety and choice. And while that is true, too much variety and choice is not necessarily good.
Believe me when I say this, some toys are going to be the best toys to play with for toddlers. These are the toys that you get two of. Some of the toys that I have had to double up in my play space are:
- Little People Princess Castle
- Toy Cars and Car Tracks
- Ride on Toys
- Toy Drums
- Princess Dresses
- Little People Houses
- Toy Microphone
- Play Phones
- Baby Dolls
- Toy Shopping Carts
Click on the links in the list to see what I am talking about. These toys are the best toys to have in a home daycare! They are the top most played with, at least in my daycare they are.
Another quick tip about toys, is have a few that you rotate out. As I mentioned about, kids like choice and variety, so those toys that aren’t the best toys can be rotated out. Do a rotation once a month, or however frequently suits you, and the fresh toys coming in keep kids from boredom with toys.
Covering the floor with something isn’t really a necessary, I don’t think. But, it is nice to have some kind of cushion and protection of a mat or something like that on the floor. Our floors, in my home daycare, get super cold in the winter, and that extra layer on the floor keeps the kids a bit warmer! Also, they are a little bit of a cushion for those who are learning to walk.
There are a couple of great floor coverings, you can use in the play space, kids love because they can interact with them.
Click the links in the list to see what I am referring to. These are great choices for the floor in your home daycare’s play space. I especially like the foam mats that have removable pieces because of the learning element there.
A Place for Eating
There are a few options here. We use a Fisher Price SpaceSaver and a KidKraft Table similar to the one found when you click this link. The Fisher Price SpaceSaver (click the link in the name) that I have initially was for the littles under 3. Now, though, my daughter – who is nearly 4 – insists on sitting in it. But, these chairs are good to have for the little tots, like their intended purpose.
Whatever you decide on for a place to eat, my number one recommendation – get something you can push aside after snack/lunch time.
The Tidy Up
Owning a home daycare honestly gives me so much joy. I had a lot of fun (still do) picking out toys and creating a play space that everyone can enjoy and functions well. A space that is high functioning is a much more enjoyable space to play in. Ensure that the space is safe, kid friendly, and FUN!