Whether it is a playroom, play corner, shared play area such as the lounge room, inside or outside, our kids need a place to play and a place to store their ever increasing collection of toys and books.
Over the years I have set up numerous play areas for my kids as they have grown, developed and depending on where we were living and also the space available. I have always tried to be creative in the way we arrange things to keep it interesting and organised for easy clean up and pack away. When I was teaching in a classroom, I use to like setting up separate areas or zones for different types of learning activities, such as an area for reading or a table for literacy activities. I still like to create these different zones at home for my kids as they encourage a variety of play opportunities and we change them regularly to keep them interesting for the kids.
Recently we moved house and for the very first time, we have a room that is just for the kids’ stuff but it hasn’t always been this way. My kids once had a play corner in the lounge room with a mat and toy boxes and a play table. As the collection of toys grew we then turned the guest/spare room into a play room but this didn’t last too long before bub number 3 came along. Then we rearranged the study and shared the space with the kids play area.
This also changed as my kids grew older, their interests changed and development influenced the way they played and therefore the way I set up their play area. When our first child arrived we just had one small plastic toy box in the corner of the lounge room, now we have a dolls house, book shelves, writing table and chairs, chalk boards, toy kitchen and the list goes on. What to do with all this stuff!!
I think it is also important to get kids involved in setting up and organising their play area as they are more likely to take pride in looking after their things and know where things belong when it’s time to pack up. Some of the best ideas for our play areas and organisation have come from my kids. It’s great to get them involved and help solve some of the organisation and packing away issues.
As I am still unpacking from moving and organising our play room, I thought I would share my journey with you as I am continually updating and organising our playroom. I would love to hear your ideas!!
I like to use furniture for room dividers to create different zones or areas for different play opportunities. Book shelves that are not too tall or wobbly are not a good idea. I have turned our book shelf onto its side as I find it more stable and user friendly for the kids to access. I also find rugs or mats tend to keep kids in that area as it unintentionally creates a boundary.
A cosy place to sit and read: Sometimes we have talking books to vary things up a bit and my kids always choose which books they would like to have in their book shelf. Sometimes they like to add small blankets and stuffed toys to their reading corner.
An area set up to encourage imaginative play: a cubby house with a toy letter box and other props, an area for the toy babies to sleep. This area has become a hospital, a house and a drive through takeaway shop.
Another area to encourage imaginative play, play kitchens or restaurant. The table and chairs are usually used for drawing but I often change its use depending on what the kids are interested in at that time.
An area to play with the toys placed on the shelves or the doll’s house and the alphabet clown. I like to put toys on shelves rather than into a toy box because when kids see things at first glance they are more likely to play with them. From my experience I have found that kids are less likely to play with toys that are piled into a box, only the things that are on top are played with, unless you have one of those kids that love to tip the toy box out all over the floor. As kids get bored with the toys on the shelf I rotate them with others that are put away. When selecting furniture and toys for our play room I try to choose things that can have more than one use, such as the doll’s house can also be used as book shelf or a place to store all the writing materials.
I am always looking for fresh and new ideas on how to arrange and organise our play space. I have set up “Our Play Room” here on learning4kids as a place for people to find and share ideas about setting up and organising their child’s play area.
How do you utilise and organise your space to create a play area for you kids?