Playroom Ideas that Promote Independent Play

Ready for your children to play independently? Want to spend less time in the playroom with them and more time checking off your to-do list? Are you hoping to create educational moments for your children without printing off worksheets that aren’t great for them, anyways? You’ve come to the right place!

A child playing by themselves in a playroom that is set up with an ocean theme.

I love sharing simple playroom ideas so you can encourage your child to play independently spending a lot money or time. Following a simple playroom system can make play easy and engaging! Here’s what I do.

Monthly themes help with playroom toys and ideas

Each month has a theme. I love how Haley Wynn words this in her blog post on playroom themes – “themes give me the best direction when doing a quick toy rotation, themes give me permission to hit a certain topic really hard, themes allow me to use and reuse what we have in new and engaging ways.” 

Here are the themes I follow and the related themes within those months that I use to rotate toys a little more when necessary.

Ideas for Monthly Playroom Themes

Using a simple formula for rotating playroom toys, I can ensure that all of my children’s needs are met. I keep less than ten toys in our playroom at any given time and am picky about what toys I bring out. The toys I don’t have in our playroom are stored in our children’s closets, out of sight. You can see how we organize everything here and my favorite ideas for organizing toys here

A farm-themed playroom setup to encourage independent play at home and help parents find playroom ideas they can easily use.

How to feasibly rotate playroom toys

Every week or two, I use my free guide to more play to plan the toys I want to rotate. There are 6 toy types that I *always* keep on our playroom shelves – this makes it easy for me to ensure all of my children’s developmental needs are met. I always include one of their favorite toys, a toy that encourages hand/eye coordination, a toy that inspires language learning, an arts and crafts toy, a daily life activity, and a toy that supports music and movement. I break this down further in my Free Guide to More Independent Play. Sign up below to get your copy instantly and find simple ideas for rotating your playroom toys.

Once I have decided what toys to add to our playroom, I clean out the current toys, put them away in their organized space, and wipe everything down. Then I bring out the “new” toys and place them in the playroom engagingly

Why do I do this? Because it encourages SO MUCH MORE PLAY. And play is how young children learn. And it keeps them out of my way while making dinner, folding laundry, or simply checking social media and sipping coffee. The *magic* comes in rotating toys so things stay fresh and new, and I make sure I do this consistently. 

A mother holding a toddler curriculum that helps parents get ideas for setting up their playroom so it encourages more independent play at home.

When is it time to rotate toys? Trust me, you’ll know! Whenever I need a new toy rotation, I can tell because the playroom starts to feel stale, everyone is a little extra fussy, and nobody is simply playing. So I’ll take 10 minutes to plan what toys I want to rotate, clean up the playroom, and bring out the new toy rotation. This happens every ten days or so.

Tips and ideas for rotating playroom toys

How do I decide what to bring out? First, I’ll print out my Free Guide to Independent Play. Then I hop on Pinterest or Instagram and get inspired. During January, for example, I’ll type something like “Arctic Animal Activities for Preschoolers” and see what pops up to help me make playroom ideas. Using the search results as inspiration, I’ll plan out different toys and activities I can place on the toy shelves. 

A mother sets up a playroom to encourage more independent play at home while babies do tummy time in front of a floor mirror.

What about toys in their bedrooms?

I keep our most-loved and open-ended toys available for our children in their bedrooms. This enables them to play in their rooms during quiet time or at night. It also makes it easy for us to bring them out during the day. These include Magnatiles, Train tracks, trains, Roads, Hotwheels, baby dolls, and cars from candy cars. Each bedroom has one of my DIY Montessori Toy Organizers in their room that helps keep toys organized and easily accessible. 

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Purchase the How to Encourage Play e-book, and have fun watching your child play more than ever with these simple playroom ideas.