How To Create Awesome Play Spaces & Learning Places for Little Kids

collage of preschool homeschool space images with text overlay: Organizing Our Preschool Homeschool Space for the New School YearThis post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if an item is purchased through one of these links.  For more information, see my disclosures here.

A huge thanks to Experience Early Learning (formerly Mother Goose Time) for providing us with their Experience Preschool curriculum for free in exchange for sharing our honest and authentic stories resulting from our personal experiences. It’s been such a huge blessing to us! As always, my opinions on awesome stuff for little kids are 100% my own.

Keep in mind that all preschoolers do things in their own time and on their own terms. What one is ready for, another might not be. Please use your best mama judgement when planning activities for your little kids.

We took a bit of a break from Science Lab to get everything ready for September’s Me & My Family theme. One of the focus topics for August was environments, so of course I thought it’d be fun to share ours. This week, we’re talking about play spaces & learning places.

I’m going to take you on a little tour of our space and share how we organize all of our Mother Goose Time stuff and exactly how we’re using what we get each month. Are you excited?

I spent quite a bit of time rearranging and reorganizing today. I went through every single thing in our space and sorted and purged. I asked myself whether or not it was something the little guy loved. Does he play with it often?

I even questioned whether or not what we had on our shelves was developmentally-appropriate.

I switched things around. Packed lots of stuff up and got some new stuff out. We traded our entirely-too-simple chunky puzzles for letters and numbers, moved our critical thinking games to within the little guy’s reach, and added some fun, new STEAM toys too.

The aqua Iris case on his table includes all of his art projects from over the summer. My plan is to put it up somewhere and add to it periodically.

I usually set up our “tray play” or invitation to create activities the night before. I like giving the little guy the opportunity to explore them on his own, so I put all the supplies on his table and let him take it from there.

Our world map from Mother Goose Time has been up since we got it in our very first box. I occasionally ask him where we live and he points. Lol…

bookshelves with neatly organized toys and games
This box was so much fun to unpack because it included all the new stuff for the 2016-2017 school year. A pocket cube for phonic photos and letter cards, STEAM station ideas, invitations to create, and even shape stamps each month.

I can’t even wrap my head around how much awesome was packed into one little yellow school bus box. Okay, well… One big yellow school bus box, but you get the idea, right?

Mother Goose Time school bus box
This is of course the first box of the school year, so we got ourselves a new circle time display, which we had already set up. Actually, the first two bags I pulled from our September curriculum kit included our new circle time display as well as next month’s circle time materials.

I’m lovin’ it! It looks like we’ll be adding number fish, shape clouds, and giving goslings each month. The letter cards are cool too! By the end of the year, we’ll have the entire alphabet. So exciting, isn’t it?

Each month, we also get a theme poster and next month’s Me & My Family one is already hung up and ready to go.

two rolling carts next to circle time display board with calendar and letter of the week
While I was at it, I reorganized all of our craft supplies. I put them in one of the galvanized lockers bins on top of our homeschool carts. And speaking of our homeschool carts, they were on the list too.

I emptied one of the 10-drawer rolling carts altogether. It’s now where I have all of our daily discovery bags for Days 1-10 of September’s Me & My Family theme. I had ordered the Safari Ltd Pets Toob, so it’s in the top drawer along with our stamp set for the month and the letter cookie cutters.

We usually grab a new bag a few times each week and do at least two activities from one of the Teacher Guides + the “tray play” activity from the Little Goose Teacher Guide. I try not to let it get overwhelming. After all, he’s only two.

The things we’re doing are meant to be fun. As is stands, he gets excited about “Goose Time” and I’d really like to keep it that way, so… I don’t force structured time and I don’t push specific activities. If he’s not into it, that’s perfectly okay.

He has access to all of his Safari Ltd Toobs, so he plays with those whenever he wants and ditto with all of the manipulatives that have come in our Mother Goose Time curriculum kits thus far. He knows where to find them if he wants them.

I also ordered a few books to go with this month’s curriculum kit and an awesome pack of all about me family counters. When I get those things, I’ll add them to our drawers as well.

clear drawer filled with teacher tools including Little Goose Teacher Guide
The other 10-drawer rolling cart contains all of our supplies from the summer Mother Goose Time themes – A to Zoo Animals, Art Studio, and Science Lab. The top drawer is all of our circle time materials and each theme has a total of three drawers.

The Teacher Guide, Little Goose Teacher Guide, and Planning Journal/all the extras that came with our monthly curriculum kits – manipulatives, games, etc./our storybook of the month and any books that we added to go with the theme.

toddler exploring magnetic storytelling pieces on metal cookie sheet
These fun magnets were part of our September curriculum kit too. I’m not entirely sure what we’ll be doing with them, but I put them on a cookie sheet for the little guy to play with for the time-being.

There are so many awesome things that come in our little yellow school bus box each month. We love the manipulatives and use them for all sorts of things. And the storybooks we get are definitely all kinds of awesome.

The stamps this month? So impressed! And I’m really looking forward to exploring the brand-spankin’-new letter cookie cutters, pocket cube, and shape stamps.

I love play-based, hands-on curriculum and Mother Goose Time is just that. Each month, we receive lots of educational books, puzzles, and games. What more could a homeschooling mama ask for?

child's reading area with rocking chair and pillows
We moved our rocking chair when we set up our circle time display and of course organized all of our books on our Ikea Expedit. I won’t even get into how many books needed to be re-shelved. Let’s just say the little guy and I both love books.

I used some little galvanized buckets and wooden trays to organize his art supplies and the white basket is home to our Scholastic book collection. Yep, this mama orders a little too often. Lol…

buckets filled with art supplies
I’ve always said there are a few things you can never have too many of and books and art supplies are at the top of that list. Lol…

Our rainbow sensory bins fit perfectly in these cubes. If you’re interested, you can find out anything and everything you ever wanted to know about them here.

magnet board with magnetic gears
The little guy’s magnet center has always been a favorite around here. My husband put this together for him a while ago and he spends so much time playing with his gears, magnetic letters, and Really Big Words. I’m willing to bet that this month’s magnet set from Mother Goose Time will get lots of use too.

Looking for more insight & inspiration? Here are the top 10 most popular posts from The Keeper of the Memories. You’re definitely not going to want to miss these!

Thanks so much for visiting. See ya next week!

4 Comments

  1. Thanks so much, Erin! That’s so sweet of you… Definitely a labor of love! Have an awesome week!

  2. Hello I’m new to homeschooling and I have the Mother Goose Time. I wanted to know how you like it and what adhesive you use to change the weather cut out?

  3. Hey Nikita! Thanks so much for visiting! We are completely and totally head over heels for Mother Goose Time. It’s one of the best preschool curriculum kits I’ve found and I especially love how we can use the Little Goose right now and then just the Mother Goose Time and eventually the More Math & More Literacy too. As far as the weather pieces, I usually use velcro for pieces that get switched on a daily basis. Hope that helps! Have an awesome week!

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