A child’s playroom is where they go to relax and unwind after a day at school, but it could also be a place where they learn and practice important developmental skills. Most parents think of a playroom as merely a space to store all of their kids’ toys. However, in addition to storing toys, the playroom should be thoughtfully designed to encourage creativity, independence and cooperative play and learning.
If your playroom falls into any of the categories below, you may want to think about giving your playroom a makeover.
1. Too Many Toys!
Your playroom, most likely is filled to the brim with toys. Toys may even be stored on every shelf and stuffed in the closets. But the kids complain there is nothing to do, so you find them sitting in the living room watching TV, following you around the kitchen, or begging for the iPad. The next week, you head out to the toy store to purchase more toys that you hope the kids will play with. But alas, a week later you find the children sitting in front of the television complaining again that there is nothing to do. Sound familiar? This unhealthy habit of purchasing more and more toys with our children playing less and less can become an unhealthy and expensive habit. What to do?
It’s time to de-clutter! Go through all the toys and weed out the ones that are too young, or broken for them. Donate unused or unwanted toys to a nearby church or donation center. Children will be more creative with LESS toys and with fewer materials. Place a few toys out each week on the shelves, keeping choices to a minimum. Place some toys in the closet for rotation.
2. No Creative Open-ended Toys and Materials!
If your playroom has boxes and bins of toys, but no blocks or magnatiles for the building center, no kitchen for the pretend play center or no appropriate art materials for the art center, your child will not be encouraged to use their imaginations and be creative!
Learn which toys and materials naturally encourage creativity and purchase these toys and place them in easy to access bins or baskets. NOTE: Creative open-ended materials are the toys that don’t need batteries and are naturally grow with imaginative and inquisitive minds.
3. The room is always an unorganized mess
Is Mom or Dad the only one who knows where the toys and materials are in the playroom? When you take one look at your kids’ playroom and tell yourself you’ll clean up another day (because you know it will take hours figuring out which pieces go with which toy), it’s time to rethink your playroom’s organization.
When piles of toys get mixed up with art supplies and homework, everything becomes a jumbled mess, and the children will no longer want to spend time in the playroom. Researchers have explained for years that clutter is stressful, especially for small bodies and minds. Parents can’t expect the kids to clean up after themselves if they don’t even know where everything belongs.
All toys and materials should have their own designated space and labeled box or bin so kids know where to locate the toys they want to play with and put back the toy they just played with. By giving all toys and materials a designated space, everyone in the family (including children over 2) can help maintain an inviting and tidy room.
4. The furniture isn’t kid-friendly
Many times parents select inappropriate furniture for their children’s playroom. Many parents mistakenly place the hand me down adult sized furniture in the playroom for the children to use. Furniture that is too big makes it difficult for children to work and play.
A child-sized table and chairs invites children to independently sit and draw pictures or work on a puzzle. A dress up rack that has hooks accessible at a low height will encourage the children to wear and put away dress up clothes with ease. A beanbag chair low to the ground will naturally invite your children to read their favorite books.
Guest Blog by Karri Bowen-Poole, Founder of Smart Playrooms
Smart Playrooms is owned and operated by teachers with many years of classroom experience and expertise. They bring the most effective classroom organization techniques and learning strategies into your home.
Smart Playrooms works to encourage kids to get back to the basics of play, using their creative side for art projects and imaginary play. Stressing that less is more, they help moms focus on the toys that will add to the experience. Some moms ask them to help organize their home, but Karri and Chris really like the idea of using their educational backgrounds to create custom designed playrooms. Plus, this gives them a niche in the market. Former teachers setting up your playroom – what could be better!
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