A child’s play space or playroom becomes the comfortable, therapeutic, and imaginative place where dreams are born when they can relax in their own space. Ideally, a play space would be a separate room by itself created specifically for play time. Here are some pictures and points for you to think about when setting up a child’s play space:
What furniture should this play space have? It’s important to think along the lines of:
- secure (won’t tumble over)
- soft or round edges
- easy to wipe down/sanitize
- colorful but not too busy
- minimal large furniture to allow lots of space for roaming
Childproof the space, by using childproofing guidelines.
Use this opportunity to teach social skills with other siblings or play-dates . . . see Precious Years Leaps & Bounds book.
As we let them play it’s important to supervise, even if it’s childproofed. This age group is very curious about their world, as little ones like to climb, mouth toys when exploring with their senses, and test their abilities of running and such. The adult in charge is sort of like the safety patrol.
If you have preschool age or older children, depending on your floor plan, you might be able to supervise in a space right next door, on the same floor, while keeping an eye and ear on the children. Poke your head in every few minutes, especially when it gets quiet. If there are doorways from the play space leading to other un-childproofed rooms, these doors might need to be locked during playtime.
Infant/Toddler age needs 100% supervision, because they can quickly put themselves into a dangerous situation. Little ones are curious about their world without the understanding of the risk or danger.
It’s my suggestion to limit how much toys are available all at one time. This eliminates the children from being overwhelmed, and parents from getting frustrated with too much out at once.
Putting away toys won’t be such a chore when you have just a few things out. For example: have “everyday toys” kept in a toy box, low shelves, or cubbies where they have free access to. Toy sets and educational toys with lots of pieces, can be kept in a cabinet waiting to be traded out.
It might work to rotate toys out/in from cabinets. Trade out, if the children want something else out. Ask what they want to trade in for? Give them opportunities to make choices. They can help put away the Legos, if they are done, and trade out for something else to play with. The Legos can be put away, and something else can come out in place of.
Set boundaries for what is allowed in this space. What is considered appropriate verses not appropriate? This could be related to behaviors, things brought into the room, safety rules and such.