“I no longer fear rain and lockdowns with toddlers."
Being a mum of two kids under four I am always on the hunt for ways to keep my children happy, busy and entertained for longer than 3.5 seconds.
My daughter and son adore each other, but being almost 18-months-old and 3 years old they are still too young to happily play with each other for longer than a few minutes.
My youngest son is interested in jumping on, destroying or charging through whatever my daughter has set up for herself. And she loves imaginary play, which is a bit hard for him to grasp.
The best fun they have together is being active – obstacle courses, building, running, climbing and destroying my lounge and cushions.
So when I saw Funsquare play sofas I knew immediately it belonged in my house.
Children will love open-ended play sofas. Source: Kidspot.
The play sofa idea was brought to life by Yolanda Douglas in Melbourne, with help from friends and family last year when she became stressed trying to to keep her 4-year-old daughter entertained during months of lockdown.
She had been inspired by similar products overseas, and earlier this year launched the range.
The Funsquare pillows include four pieces – one thick base, one thin base and two trapezium pillows. You can also add on cylinder pieces for more creative structures.
All of the pieces are made from water resistant microsuede fabric that is soft, easy to clean and "grips" with the other sofa pieces for maximum build options.
The idea is to encourage interactive learning outcomes through open-ended-play.
When I started unpacking the play sofa both of my kids' faces lit up and they threw themselves onto the soft pads before I’d even finished opening them.
Young children particularly enjoy the play sofas. Source: Kidspot.
The kids played for an hour
I work from home in the evenings but there is always a period of time before my husband gets home that I need the kids entertained without interruptions over arguments and snacks.
After setting up a few shapes for sliding, jumping and climbing, they played together in silence - apart from some panting and giggles – for longer than I can remember them ever doing before.
There was no whining that my youngest had taken something of my daughters, and no crying from him when he wasn’t allowed to join in her games.
They played beside each other - literally hand-in-hand as my daughter dragged him and encouraged him around the course she had set up - and I got work done in peace.
I kept looking up waiting for them to interrupt me, but they didn’t for an hour. Which is unheard of in my house.
The play sofas can be used for building, crawling under and climbing over. Source: Kidspot.
The perfect play space in wet weather
The timing of the sofas could not have been better. Like most of the east coast of Australia we have been hit with relentless rain for a week – and like we learned during the pandemic – toddlers and prolonged confined spaces do not mix.
But this new flexible play space has changed my perspective on being stuck indoors with kids for days on end. As soon as they are bored or turning wild we pull the sofas out and create something new.
My daughter is almost four and is always pretend playing. She also loves challenging herself with physical activity game tasks. My nearly 18-month-old son is high-energy and obsessed with whatever she is doing.
This keeps their brains busy and bodies burning energy when they can't go run outside.
We have used them for cubbies and forts, as seats for reading, beds for movies, converted them into race tracks for cars and for careful games of ‘the ground is lava’ - but mostly for climbing and jumping.
The play sofas come in a range of bright colours objects. Soure: Instagram.
The pieces are big but pack away nicely
It is quite bulky once out - but we chose a similar shade to our lounge so it blends OK in the main room, with a couple of pink pieces. It can easily be stacked away behind our couch or even in my daughter's room.
The set isn’t cheap at $399, but it easily beats all the money I have spent on arts and crafts and rainy day activities that get used once and never again.
After a year of on-and-off lockdowns, a wet summer (and what looks to be a wet winter) this shape-shifting play space can help parents keep their sanity when the kids start climbing walls, because they can climb Funsquares instead.
The Kidspot journalist was provided with the product to review but all of her opinions are her own.