Just like you need a private room to retreat in your home, so do your children! When designing your new home, there are benefits to creating a space devoted to play for your child(ren). A dedicated play space can save time on clean up and avoid having toys strewn about your living room and other parts of the house. That means you can have company over without having to put toys away before they arrive and your child doesn’t have to cease their activities while your friends or family are visiting.
1. Choose a Suitable Space
If you have it, a spare bedroom with lots of daylight makes an ideal play space. Remember to think hard about flooring. A soft floor is ideal, but carpet can stain, so you might prefer a vinyl, laminate, or wood floor. Covering the floor with colourful foam mats can help break up the space and prevent toys from breaking if they fall to the floor. Also, consider having a means of playing music in the room.
2. Have a Place for Everything
Having proper storage doesn’t only benefit you, it can help your child learn to be organized at a young age. If your child knows every item has its place, when play time is over it makes clean up a much easier task. Knowing where everything is placed can also prevent playtime starting with your child pulling everything out of the shelves and onto the floor. Picture labels on shelves, drawers, and boxes are a great way to help child identify where things go. This can also be used to encourage clean-up as part of play.
3. Be Creative and Have Fun
What better way is there to divide the tasks, storage, and learning while in the play space than with stations? Having different areas for your child to engage allows them to easily pick and choose which activities they want to do. Having all their respective supplies at the stations also make it easy to get started, and to cleanup!
- Design Centre – An area dedicated to crayons, markers, different types of paper, colouring books, tape, scissors and other crafting supplies. Make sure to include a means to display their work, such as a corkboard or a magnet board.
- Writing Centre – A table with pencils and pens, ruled paper, and potentially a device to help learn to type. Add educational posters with the alphabet or playful words alongside flash cards and books for examples of good writing!
- Exploration Centre – Fill this space with things like science experiments, educational software and Lego! These items can encourage things like measuring, weighing, mixing, etc.
- Lego Table – If your child has a real affinity for Lego, perhaps designating a specific space to build it would be best. Consider the required storage that comes along with Lego. Building in some storage bins will go a long way.
- Water Table – Water is a fun element for children to interact with (especially at a young age). Water tables are great for teaching children things like how to pour and how to interact with water in general.
- Classic Toy Box – Whether your kids are into action figures, dolls, cars, or other general toys, they need a place too! Having a bin where your child can keep their favourite toys is just as important as all of the educational play space. Children need to play and have fun!