In an ideal world, your playroom will be bright, spacious, and fun. But even if you only have a corner of the living room, bearing those three values in mind will help you make a super play area even in a small space.
So, here’s what to include and how to go about it, no matter how much or little space you have.
Think about the Decor
Having a themed area is lovely, but it’s not strictly necessary.
Even if you love themed rooms, however, you may not want to let the theme dominate the whole room. You could choose one corner to theme with safari, nature, or animal nursery wallpapers, then have a different décor in an area for creative activities. Zoning in a room can work well and gives you the opportunity to decorate accordingly. It’s also easier to redo a smaller area when your child’s interests change.
If you’re planning a play area in the living room, it might not be appropriate to incorporate special wallpapers or giant wall stickers, but you can certainly bring in other playful, decorative items. Ideas could include posters or framed pictures, wall-hangings, or plaques, bunting and garlands.
Choose colour schemes that suit existing decor when you’re working on a shared space. But, if possible, include colours that are fun and appealing to kids. You could add splashes of bold colours with rugs, cushions, or wall hangings if you want to keep the background more muted.
Consider How the Area will be Used
Taking cues from Montessori play methods can help with furnishing and laying out the play area.
A Montessori style playroom will have low level shelves that small children can reach by themselves. It’s empowering for little ones to be able to reach what they want without asking or being shown. For this reason, keep toys out of their boxes as much as you can.
With toys on display and ready to go, placed at their eye level, kids can follow their impulses and current interests, going directly to the toy that appeals in the moment. With their minds engaged and the instant gratification of reaching something on their own, they’re much more likely to play for longer, concentrate better, and try new things.
Expanding on allowing toddlers to follow their natural instincts and curiosity, try and have a clear floor area where they can spread out building blocks, pretend kitchens, or cars and garages. A play mat to designate a floor area is a good idea, as are child-sized chairs and a table.
Keep Kids Engaged and Curious
Children learn best and stay engaged for longer when they have playthings that make them think a little.
Learning at a young age isn’t just about forming letters, naming colours, or recognising numbers. It’s also about physical and mental development, learning to move confidently in walking and running, and honing fine motor skills through manipulating smaller objects. So have a range of toys and playthings that give kids the opportunity to understand their bodies as well as expand their minds. Include toys to pull, push, ride on or rock. But also, items to climb on or crawl through and balance on.
For quieter play, include toys that need a bit of concentration, such as making towers out of blocks, sorting shapes, or building roads from tracks.
Keep the Playroom Fresh and Interesting
Another strategy you can take from Montessori is to change things in the playroom around now and then. While you watch your child playing, notice which activities and toys they run to first, and which ones hold their attention the longest.
By allowing them the freedom to choose their activity, they’ll naturally go for what interests them most. This gives you vital clues about the kinds of activities to include more of. Take away items they don’t play with and replace them with the types of toys and games they love in the playroom.
This is easier if you limit the selection. Choose a range of around ten items to display on the low shelves, bringing in new ones and taking out older ones occasionally. The play area will always feel new and alive when the choices keep changing, and you can soon bring an item back if it’s missed or asked for.
You’ll find all kinds of natural, appealing ideas in the Montessori wooden toy range including things for dressing up, playing house, learning about construction, or making music. And as a bonus, you’ll have gorgeous, natural, modern-but-nostalgic play items that you’ll love as much as your toddler does.