Do you have a really fantastic indoor play centre near you? Most of the play centres I've been to have large slides and ball pits. The Play Studio recently opened near us and it's a completely new concept. It's a truly wonderful space with great staff, ideal for playdates, somewhere to go on a rainy day or just somewhere interesting and educational to visit with your child.
The Play Studio is a Montessori, Reggio and Steiner inspired play space. Some of the sessions commence with a teacher-guided process like an art activity or songs, in other play sessions, the children wander and play as they wish. The materials and toys are reset after each session and change weekly. It's fun to walk in at the start of the week and see all of the exciting new activities.
Nearest to the entryway is an area for infants with materials, soft play mats and mirrors. As you walk towards the back there are dramatic play areas, a block area and tables with sensory activities, play dough and various art activities. Right at the very back (pictured above) is a wide water play/sink area and a sandpit.
My pictures don't show it but our sessions are always busy, you can drop in although bookings are recommended. You can see the timing of play sessions here. With all current sessions, parents or caregivers are required to stay with the child.
Let's look at some of the activities Otto (4yrs) has tried.
Art and music sessions are led by specialist educators. The activity above was during one of the Art+ Play sessions.
Some large scale painting.
Finger painting. The art activities at the Play Studio are my favourite. It's fun for children being able to explore different art mediums and you don't have to do any set-up or clean up.
Exploring printing with natural materials.
I love this line and watercolour provocation.
Painting with warm colours.
Sensory/fine motor skills
This is a table near the entry, perhaps best suited to toddlers. There are different manipulatives for the children to use, often Montessori materials, here you can see an Imbucare Box.
Fine motor work with large beads and pipe cleaners.
Lovely play dough play.
This is a sensory table that was out on the week of Valentine's Day. 💕
Water play. Here there are model animals frozen in water, for the child to play with or melt. The sink has hand pump functioning basins, lots of pots, squeeze bottles and sometimes dolls to wash.
Fun play in the sandpit.
Pipettes, scoops and water play.
Exploring light, colour and shadows with an overhead projector.
Construction & Dramatic Play
I didn't get a good picture, but this little block area is lovely. They have all sorts of blocks including a whole shelf of large Unit Blocks.
Cars, animals, small blocks, large blocks, long blocks, mirror and reflective blocks.
The dramatic play area changes every week. Here is it as a Pizza Shop with a play kitchen.
Otto loved it and one day spent almost the entire play session here.
Cars and roads. I love the play trees!
Dress-ups. Who knew it would be this fun?
There was a little (pretend) make-up station on the left, with lots of little containers to open and play with.
We don't have a lot of dress-ups or dolls at home so Otto really enjoyed this area.
You can see Otto in the blue, long sleeve top and shorts on the far right. ❤️ He loved this class, it was the Pre-school Play session.
The Play Studio is located on Oxford Street at Bondi Junction. No matter where you live, you can get ideas and inspiration from the Play Studio on Instagram. Congratulations to Caitrin and her team for developing such a wonderful space!!
Remember the activities change every week (if you attend you may see different activities than pictured here) and different activities may be presented dependent on the specific play session.