I love invitations to play they are such a neat way to inspire our children. I first stumbled upon the idea of invitation to play when I was teaching and looking for engaging ways to inspire my kids.

Fast forward five years, and two children, later and I’m re-discovering that creating invitation to play tables at home is not only great for the kids but also for me. You might be wondering what an invitation to play is? Well simply put it’s an activity you set up for your children that captures their curiosity and imagination. It’s an activity that has no real boundaries. All you need to do is lay out some objects and see how your children interpret them.

An invitation to play is only limited by your child’s creativity and imagination.

A really simple invitation to play table is where you use your child’s own toys and put them into a different setting. This allows your child to reinterpret their own toys in new ways.

Invitations to play build cognitive ability, especially in the areas of creativity, and problem solving through experimentation. These are core skills to develop, where many of the jobs our children will be doing haven’t been invented yet!

There are so many possibilities for creating invitations to play. Today I will show you two different tables I set up just using paper, glue and wool and over the next few months I’ll share regular invitations to play to keep you inspired.

Invitation to play – Ice Cream Shop

I set my daughter up the Ice Cream Shop. I like to give her invitations to play in the morning upon waking up. We were getting into the habit of early morning TV which often ended in grumpy and tantrum-filled mornings. I’ve discovered that for miss 3, creative play in the morning leads to a happier child and fewer tantrums. Which is great for my own emotional well-being!

To set up the Ice Cream Shop all you need to do is cut out a bunch of different ice cream shapes using coloured paper

Invitation to play ice creams


Glitter paper
Cup cake papers
White paper for sticking on

I have my invitations to play set up on the table for when my daughter wakes in the morning. Then I just let her know that I have an Ice Cream Shop waiting for her (she loves food and cooking so this activity was perfect for her). From then on I just let her go for it and she created a delicious selection of ice creams.

invitation to play icecream


Invitation to play – dress up people

This activity led onto our next morning activity using cut paper to make people. My daughter saw some of my scraps and said how they looked liked crowns and skirts so I tucked them away and in the morning presented her with a selection of cut material for her to make her own dress up people.

Here is the selection of materials I used for this morning’s invitation to play. It’s pretty much the same as above with the addition of wool. I also added some faces to the heads.

invitation to play people

Tips for creating your own invitation to play

Keep it simple for yourself. Let your child’s imagination lead the activity. Younger children, like my miss 3, may want you to stay and explore with them. Guide them in the process, but let their imagination create the final products. As your child grows, they’ll take more control over the process, and you can step right back.

Choose activities or themes that your child is interested in. For example if your kids are interested in sea creatures create a sea theme for them to explore. Some other paper invitations include robots, flowers, cupcakes, monsters, really anything’s possible.

Add in pipe cleaners, tooth picks, cotton wool buds, stick on jewels, googly eyes, again anything goes really.

I would love to see your family’s invitation to play creations. Just hashtag #kiwifamilies over on instagram.


0 0 votes
Article Rating

This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x