Home Activities: Setting Up the Play Room

It’s our second week at our new home and we’re still trying to work out a system for the play room. I tried putting everything within reach but it doesn’t appear to be working for us. So here’s what we’ve done in the end…

Home Setup

We used the EXPEDIT Shelf from IKEA with Trofast boxes. Why not the Trofast system? Because it looks like an invitation to climb that I’m sure Hercules will not be able to resist. Additionally, I thought EXPEDIT gives us the option of going with or without the boxes. I also like the box arrangement for the EXPEDIT so that if you remove too many books, the rest won’t topple (a problem we encounter very often with Hercules’ love for disorder).

So here’s how we decided to arrange it. The top two levels are pretty much self-explanatory – Aristotle’s books are on the top level and Hercules books (and some more of Aristotle’s) are on the lower level. The Trofast boxes contain materials according to the following categories:

  • Art
  • Math
  • Science
  • Music
  • Brain Development
  • Role Play
  • Sport
  • Misc – currently we have the physical Angry Birds game

The two white boxes above the shelf contain materials that I don’t want the children using without my supervision (read: Hercules can’t use them without help). The intention is to rotate the boxes every week so they don’t get bored with them. This system works really well with Aristotle – check out the pictures he drew using the art materials I put out this week:

Art Work 4

Yes, I have a really loooong neck – so long that I can’t even fit entirely on the page.

Art Work 3

Aristotle is starting to enjoy numbers. It all started when he wanted to share our new phone numbers with Ah Kong and Ah Mah so they would know how to contact us. The picture on the right is a treasure map and that’s supposed to read “short cut”.

Art Work 2

A picture of our old house and our new home.

Art Work 1

A picture with his dinosaur friend on the left and I’m guessing the right is a picture of the beanstalk from Jack and the Beanstalk (although the version he is familar with is Mickey and the Beanstalk).

I’ve also followed the suggestion of a friend to “feature” a few books everyday to draw the boys’ attention to particular books. Currently with Hercules, I’m just putting up his favourite books. For Aristotle, I’m trying to bring out a selection of books that he doesn’t really read mixed with a few old favourites.


I originally started with 3 books each but since Aristotle got through them so quickly and became envious that Hercules had 5 books (because Hercules added to his collection himself), I increased the number to 5 each.

Next up is to start preparing our Montessori materials for Hercules. In the interim, I recycled some old flash cards to make a matching game for Hercules:

Matching Game

I originally stuck the cards up onto the walls using blue-tack but I discovered that if I was not careful, the paint would come off with the blue-tack. Now I have two small bald spots on the wall that are irritating me. Sticking the cards to the easel was my attempt to preserve the wall. Although the easel is a bit small for this activity so I’m looking around for something I can use as a back-board. When I figure it out, I’ll post up the new pictures…

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

7 thoughts on “Home Activities: Setting Up the Play Room

  1. Hi Shen Li, can’t wait to see your post on the Montessori materials n wonder how u have set up ur Montessori space at ur new place.;)


  2. Hey, I was about to ask you about your book shelve again when we meet up! And I found this old post. So nice and neat! I love it. But I am sure you have more books that this. Do you have a study table for the children? I am currently getting my house ready. 🙂


  3. Yes, we bought another IKEA bookshelve – the same one as above but 5×5 instead. It’s full.

    We don’t have a study table but hubby has been talking about getting one. Looking at getting one of those adjustable ones. Need to look for it one of these days. Aristotle is developing some very bad reading and writing postures.


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