A Library…Because #playmatters

My first degree was in Early Childhood Education and it was in this degree that I first fully understood the importance of play. The theory was all learnt at university (thank you QUT Early Childhood department) and as a beginning teacher I saw the theory in action in early childhood classrooms knew that play was of the utmost importance.

My favourite memories of my own childhood are of playing; with my siblings, peers and huge circle of family friends that I affectionately refer to here as my village. Playing was just what we did, it was never questioned or agonised over and there was little or no thought that we should be inside participating in ‘meaningful learning experiences’.  Our meaningful learning experiences were all done through play: construction of cubbyhouses and imaginary worlds; experimentation with floating and sinking (the caterpillar didn’t float); negotiating with our peers over roles and what would happen next; learning our times tables (or not in my case) in the never ending games of ‘school’ and empathising with one another as bones were broken, feelings were hurt and hearts were broken.

I could write 5000 words on the importance of play and what we start to see when play is absent in the lives of children, but far more academic and wise people than I have already done this.  Suffice to say, I am a huge advocate for play in childhood and I want my own children to experience just some of the magic of play that I experienced as a child. I personally think that it’s a little tougher these days to allow as much time for play as we once had; between technology, schedules and the feeling that we must ‘entertain and educate’ our children at all times – we’ve made it hard for ourselves. But I’m a big fan of my children saying ‘I’m bored’ as this is when play really comes into it’s own.

My dreadfully bored children were slowly and steadily destroying me last weekend and #backboy had a really bad pain weekend (he’s normally the Chosen One on weekends). They were bemoaning their lack of toys and I sounded like my mother as I said time and time again ‘you have plenty of toys and there are children in the world who only have sticks as toys and they are perfectly happy with this!’. It’s true they don’t have a huge amount of toys and never have (as has been pointed out to me on more than one occasion – you know who you are!) but they do have a Sylvannian Family collection. I’m in no way connected to this brand – but oh my glory this was a good collection to start for birthdays and Christmas! So last weekend when they were sooooooooooo bored, I told ChickPea and PudStar to go and clean up the Sylvannian Family hotel and I’d put it on their desk/Lego table for them. grand hotel library

Four hours later and they had turned the entire Grand Hotel into a library (oh how proud was this librarian/mother? Seriously my librarian heart was happy) using bits of old cards, parts of their fairy garden and lots of Sylvannian furniture re-purposed for use in a library. The library has a garden on the top, an outdoor reading balcony for handstands, a cafe and two bedrooms for when people want to read in bed.  Only twice did I have to stop them gouging out eyes – once when the table had to be moved away from the wall so that they could play on either side (I just want her over that side so I don’t have to even look at her) and once so that poor old ChickPea could be given a ‘room’ in the library – she got the conservatory and immediately stuck a dinosaur fossil in it before returning to being the delivery driver for the library. DSC07176 DSC07247grand hotel librarygrand hotel library DSC07225

This table, from Table and Desk has been brilliant and I constantly congratulate myself on it’s purchase. It is sometimes a desk for homework, sometimes a craft table, sometimes a Lego table and for now it’s a library table. It’s the perfect size for this space because you choose the size yourself down to the last mm – genius (and not sponsored!).

I found it very hard to stifle laughter on reading the covers of the books as some of them reflected pretty much our last month; ‘Handstands’ (thanks to Eden Riley Pud is a handstanding demon); ‘Wow! Grace and Dignity’  (I spend an awful lot of time saying/screaming ‘grace and dignity’ to Pud); and ‘Just Relax’ (#backboy spends much time saying this to me).DSC07185 DSC07178

I love following the hashtags #childhoodunplugged #playmatters #playandlearn #trustplay on social media and my favourite blogs which incorporate lots of play are Childhood101, Picklebums, Learn with Play at Home and Easy Peasy Kids – you will find five million ideas to spark play on these blogs and will lose yourself for hours in them.

I just noticed that ChickPea has a peg in her hair (?!) AND THAT SHE HAS DRAWN ON THE WALL AND THE HUTCH BEHIND HER. Seriously child.

grand hotel library

grand hotel library


  1. Natalie @ our parallel connection

    What a gorgeous dolls house. As a little girl I loved my dolls, my barbies, my peg people .. Anything where I could make a mum dad and family. Brings back such sweet memories

    • Megan Daley

      Yes dollhouses are the best are they not? We have some made from cereal boxes, some made in the garden out of ice cream containers and this one! Love it!

  2. Kirsty

    I think I would like to borrow ’37 Ways to have Grace and Dignity’ please!

    • Megan Daley

      You can have it after me 🙂

  3. Kirsty @ My Home Truths

    I remember using an old refrigerator as a makeshift Barbie house when I was young. Each rack represented a level of her house – hours of fun!

    • Megan Daley

      Oh that is FABULOUS! Love it!!!!

  4. Erin

    Just love reading that they turned it all into library play, makes my heart smile too:) I remember playing libraries when I was a child too , had envelopes with borrowing cards, and stamps and rounded up the neighbourhood kids as patrons. lol

    • Megan Daley

      I did that too!

      • Erin

        Not surprised really:) lol. All set for your future career.
        My husband calls me a frustrated librarian, which I suspect I am. The other day I told my children we’d ‘visit the library’ (our own, we have a room of thousands of books) and I explained if they went to school (we homeschool) they’d visit the library, daily/weekly (how often do they visit nowadays?) and so they could ‘book out’ some books, they thought it fun, and so did I;)

  5. EssentaillyJess

    I love Sylvanian families.
    My kids are great at playing, and I try to make sure we always have time at home just for play. It’s so important.


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I’m Megan

I’m passionate about children’s literature and am the author of ‘Raising Readers’ and ‘the Beehive’ and editor of ‘Teacher, Teacher’.
I am also a multiple award-winning teacher librarian, speaker, podcaster, widow, beekeeper, literary judge and wearer of bright colours.

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