Monday, 6 June 2011

Playrooms to stimulate a child’s imagination

To complete the ‘work, rest and play’ theme, the focus for this week is play and, more specifically, playrooms for children. Play is a essential for the development of children, hence a playroom should stimulate a child’s imagination, allow them to explore and inspire them to learn in a safe environment.

If you don’t have the space for a separate playroom, use their bedroom; little ones don’t seem to have a problem dissociating the space from a sleep environment after they wake up.

As you might imagine, children’s rooms often have more of an adults’ stamp on them then the little person; this is particularly evident in themed nurseries or bedrooms. The main issue with rooms like these is that the ‘imagineering’ has been done on the child’s behalf and they aren’t always designed with play as the primary purpose. Also, from a practical perspective, most parents don’t have the time, inclination or budget to constantly redecorate and evolve the playroom or bedroom in line with the latest craze and/or as the child grows up and the nature of how their play changes.

Here are my top tips for creating a children’s play areas that works for your kids:
  • It should be a place that is bright, in terms of both natural light and décor. However, the best strategy is to keep the walls, ceilings, floor and window coverings relatively plain and restrict expression to; colourful rugs, accessories, pin boards for art and wall stickers that can be easily removed and replaced to change the look and feel of the room. 
  • Storage is important; toys should be accessible and cupboards should be at the right height and easy to use, otherwise children will attempt feats of extreme mountaineering to reach toys and games
  • Toys used every day should be easily to hand and on open shelves.
  • Bins are a great way to store toys, with different coloured bins for each child so they always know where their toys are (and can help you tidy up)…
  • A playroom should be a space where a child can read, draw and partake in imaginative play.
  • Within the reading space consider accessible bookshelves, a comfortable seat and a good light.
  • Within the artwork space, consider blank canvases such as a chalk board wall or a long art table.

(Image from Pottery Barn Kids)


(Image from swiss-miss, by Shawn Soh)



(Image from Fancyhouseroad)

(Image from Martha Stewart)
So, go ahead and create an environment that inspires your child to play and to use their imagination… they’ll love it so much that it might even give you the opportunity to relax.

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