Migration to a different culture may affect opportunities for play and social interaction, essential for children's developing cognitive and social skills. We asked Somali migrant women about experiences of childhood (both while growing up themselves, and subsequent observations) in Somalia and the UK. In Somalia, they described a supportive, connected community and safe environment enabling children to play and learn together. In the UK, by contrast, multiple local stressors constrained children's opportunities to play and interact. Understanding and improving neighbourhood geography, as experienced and shaped by parents and children, would seem important for promoting early child development in refugee families.