10 Play Organisational Systems to include in your everyday routine

A guest post by Erin from Celebrate Play

Celebrate play with Erin



At celebrateplay we are best known for a couple of things - supporting and empowering mums with our early learning play ideas and the systems and strategies we use to organise play. In fact, we are the biz behind the concept of 'play planning' in the home - yep that is right - planning for play in the home. Sounds abit silly, doesn't it? But once you deep dive with me into this world of creating play experiences with intention, you will quickly realise that although it sounds silly, it actually can work wonders.

 Sylvanian Families rabbit reading books

Let me explain why we do this. Why we plan for play? In what seems to be a busy and fast paced life we can often forget the important things in life such as being present, enjoying what we are doing and spending time with our loved ones. By planning for play and creating systems that work for us in our everyday routine, we find there are pockets of time to do the things we love.


Here are 10 organisational systems we incorporate into our daily routine at celebrateplay HQ.



These are a series of ten lightweight flexitubs with handles. Each tub is labelled with the days of the week using custom made vinyl stickers. They contain approximately two to three developmentally appropriate and high interest-based activities.The trick to keeping these activities interesting and of value is to only use them when you really need to (for us it is during meal prep time). Each Sunday the resources are rotated ready to start the new week. Activities are chosen based on each child's interests and skills. They are also determined by size so that they fit in the tub neatly. These would be perfect to include a small set of Sylvanian family members in with the goal of creating a small world independently.


    2. DROPBOX

      Have you ever found yourself running back and forth in the home returning misplaced (aka stray) belongings? I certainly have, so if this is you, this idea is going to be just what you need. It is a box in a central spot to place those loose items, eliminating the constant back and forth, until you have the time to return them in one go.

      Celebrate play with Erin



        3. TOY ROTATION

          A toy rotation system is a great organisational tool as it provides children with a variety of learning experiences and it doesn't have to cost a fortune. I have found cube storage and baskets to be an ideal height for our learners to see/reach their toys and the colours available have matched the rest of our home decor.

          Our toys are stored inside fabric boxes in themes such as animals, Sylvanian families, automobiles, kitchen accessories, dominoes and card games etc. Our boxes are no longer labelled due to little fingers but were labelled and/or colour coded to assist with the ease of packing away and to provide our cherubs with spontaneous learning opportunities about colours, shapes and reading labels.

          Our toys are rotated weekly with activities chosen based on interests and skills. Activities where our learners have invested a lot of their time in are kept out on display for use the next day. Although we are toying (pardon the pun) with introducing request a selfie for the work we are proud of.

          Celebrate play with Erin



            4. PLAY PLANNER

              Our play planner is a written document to record our weekly play activities, monthly and yearly goals, store an inventory of our play resources, jot down our learner's current interests and achievements along with the ideas we have for purchasing new play resources which makes it easier to come up with birthday and Christmas gifts ideas. This document is used daily and is the crux of our routine.


               Celebrate play with Erin Play planner




                  This is what we call our play system in the home-it is how we set up play. It focuses on the physical layout of space, furniture and resources aswell as providing children with engaging, interest based and meaningful activities to play in. We generally set this up for our morning and afternoon play sessions and is really nothing fancy. It is simply a series of 4-6 activities placed on the floor (or coffee table over the years and more recently the kids table) for our learners to play with. We alternate between rotation and free choice.

                   Sylvanian FAmilies Kangaroo twins and learning station


                       Creating visual timetables/routine charts for all family members is an ideal way to keep track of schedules, responsibilities and holds everyone accountable for their organisation. Did you know that our brains are hardwired to love routine? So even if things in our homes seem chaotic and somewhat disorganised, there is a pattern in there somewhere. Our visual timetable has changed over the years. Our current timetable has been designed by me so it best meets our needs (also available on our website as a printable). It includes both pictures and text and is displayed on a wall in what is abit of a command centre and we include cards up for things like morning tea, lunch, going out aswell as each play session eg. PBLS, Independent play, Daily 5, Daily Activity Tub, Pack Away with Me, Sit with Me, Sylvanian play and Morning/Afternoon Play.


                        7. BUSY BAGS

                           I am a busy bag nerd since becoming a teacher and more so a Mum. I have always had one in the nappy bag and the car, because with little ones, combined with living in a big city where waiting happens a lot, busy bags are simply a necessity.

                          Busy bags store simple activities for young children and are always ready to go. The bag is filled with meaningful and engaging tasks to be completed independently. They can be used while dining at a cafe/restaurant, waiting for an appointment, in a queue, in the car, whilst travelling or at home. Our busy bag is filled with weird and wonderful dollar store finds along with school readiness games, but, this is the perfect opportunity to include Sylvanian family members - oh the places they will go.

                           Sylvanian FAmilies Maces Mice twins playing in Highfield Farmhouse


                            8. INDEPENDENT PLAY STATION

                              Independent Play Station is a recent addition to our organisational bag of play goodies . It is a low line cube storage unit with fabric boxes filled with open ended activities. The toys are generally used in a scheduled independent play time which seems to be working well so far 



                                  We have interesting and catchy names for some of our play spaces and activities as a way to build language but also to add another element of fun to what we are doing. Some of these include:

                                  • Daily 5 (five daily habits completed in the morning and afternoon to aid with home organisation and encourage responsibility and independence)
                                  • 'Sit with Me' being a structured activity between learners and me that is one on one quality time,
                                  • 'The Craft Shack' the name for where we do art and craft,
                                  • 'Pack with Me' is the time when we all pack away together encouraging organisation and teamwork,
                                  • 'Question of the Day' is a question written on a dry erase board and one that we research to answer, and
                                  • 'The Learning Hub' a place in the home where we go to learn about History, Geography, Science and Maths. It is a vertical learning space involving posters, motivational quotes and interactive wall games.
                                  • 'Circle Time' is a time where we sit and reflect upon the things we have done during the week, how they have made us feel and talk more about why we have filled a particular person's bucket (another concept known as Bucket Filling).

                                   Sylvanian FAmilies toys play activities for kids

                                    10. WEEKLY THEME

                                      One of the easiest ways for us to tackle lack of play inspiration (yep, we have those times too) is to create a learning theme for the week. By creating a theme for play each week, our early learners are provided with meaningful learning opportunities that promote making connections as well as a starting point for structure in the day which helps avoid difficult times when trying to think of something creative to do.


                                      Do you have a play organisation system or strategy that works for you in your home? If so, I'd love to hear about it. 

                                      Want to learn more about the world of celebrateplay, the systems and resources we use in HQ? You can here: 


                                      Our Celebrate Play Facebook Page

                                       Celebrate Play Facebook online support group

                                       Instagram - www.instagram.com@celebrate_play


                                      Erin is a Mum, wife, Early Childhood and Primary School teacher and the Founder of celebrateplay - an online learning space where she supports and empowers mums to create fun, engaging and intentional play experiences by sharing early learning play ideas and inspiration through education and community.