Everything You Need to Know About Play Silks

Play silks are an amazing toy for children. They are versatile, open-ended, engaging and beautiful. Best of all, they will last through years of play. Buy or make them for your child when they are a baby and they will still be playing with them when they are school-aged!

Treasure basket of play silks

For Missy's first Christmas I made 6 small squares of play silks for her, she was 3 months old at the time and now that she is 9 months old she has already used them in a variety of ways. Not only is she drawn to the colours but the soft, silky feel of them draws her in too. Mr R (2.5 years old) also loves them and uses them often. I now plan on adding to our collection by purchasing some larger versions for them to use as they grow bigger.

How Do I Make Them?

The easiest way to do this (provided you know the basics of a sewing machine) is to purchase lengths of material in your favourite colours, cut them to size and add a simple hem. This is what I did and the kids are more than happy with them. This way is great as you can purchase material based on your own budget and even choose it with your child if they are old enough.

Another way is to purchase plain silk and dye them yourself. There are plenty of tutorials online, that you can find easily.

Rainbow Play silks

Where Can I Buy Them?

A quick search for play silks on Etsy will help you to find many options. A search through some local second-hand stores may be all you need to find some pre-loved silky scarves. You may even have some scarves in your own cupboard that will do the trick. If you would like something that is sure to last though and that is guaranteed to actually be silk then I believe Sarah's Silks is a great option.

Brightly coloured home made play silks

What Can My Child Do With Them?

Starting from a baby your child will find ways to explore and use them that will adapt and change as they grow and develop.

1. Peek-a-boo

Hold them in front of your face and play a simple game of peek-a-boo. It won't be long before your baby imitates you and does it on their own.

Baby holding a play silk

Baby playing peek a boo with a play silk

2. Mobiles

Take a play silk outside, tie it in a branch above reaching height and watch it sway and move in the breeze. Alternatively you could create this simple mobile inside with an open window if you have a safe place to tie the play silk.

3. Treasure Baskets

This beautiful treasure basket from And Next Comes L shows how much fun scarves and play silks can be to explore. This is a simple but engaging activity for children and is loved best when they can sit, move and explore.

Baby exploring a treasure basket of play silks

4. In and Out Activities

Place the play silks inside a container (this works best with small play silks). You could use a tissue box, a shape sorter, a formula container or on open mesh ball. Children will love to pull the play silks out one-by-one and then older children may also try to put them back.

5. Music

Similar to Ribbon Rings, play silks can be used to enhance dance movements while listening to music. Children will enjoy the way they swirl, twirl and flutter behind them as they move.

6. Dress-ups

The best part of playing with play silks is the imagination it encourages. Play silks can be wrapped around the body in a variety of ways to create all sorts of dress ups. They could become a cape for a super hero, a scarf, a dress or skirt, a pirate's bandana or a belt. This beautiful dress up corner from Natural Beach Living will have you inspired in no time.

7. Imaginary Play

This is the part where your child's imagination will truly shine. Their play silks can be used to enhance all of their imaginary play. Perhaps they need a bandage for their leg or even for an animal. Maybe they need a blanket for their teddy or a towel for their trip to the beach. Do they need a Pirate's flag for their boat or some water in their pot in their play kitchen? How about something to tie a pillow to their back so that they can become a turtle. Play silks hold all the answers.

8. Small World Play

When we created a small world for a dinosaur we used a blue play silk as the river. Play silks can create a good base for small world play.

Dinosaur play silk used in small world play

9. Fort canopies

Play silks are beautifully light which makes them the perfect covering for a fort. They also allow that little bit of light to shine through meaning that the fort remains private while not being too dark.

10. Whatever They Desire!

OK, so not technically an idea but I couldn't leave this list at 9! And in a way it is true. Play silks are all about a child using their imagination and in doing so they will surprise us and use them in a way that we haven't yet thought of!

If you would like to see all of these ideas in action then please visit my Play Silk Pinterest Board, you will be able to see beautiful pictures of play silk play ideas there.

If you are after another play idea that will last through years of play with your child, be sure to read about all the benefits of block play here.

And as always, remember to follow their lead and let them play!


Everything you need to know about play silks



  1. We have a set of play silks in all the colours of the rainbow and they're the perfect match to our Fort Magic kit. We used them in our dressups and small worlds too.

  2. Love this! These are the sort of toys that kids need. I let the kids purchase a new silk 'scarf' whenever we're on holidays and their collection is growing. They use them in all sorts of ways!

  3. We love our playsilks! They are played with every single day and in more ways than I could ever have anticipated!

  4. What a gorgeous post! I adore play silks but have always been put off by the price. I love that you made your own because that's what I should do. My girls would go crazy over them. Thanks for the great ideas.


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