There’s a lot of debate around providing your children with a dedicated space to play.
Some argue a dedicated space for your kids and their toys is damaging. Not only does it encourage clutter — with toys scattered and piled everywhere — but it also creates an overwhelming (and potentially overstimulating) room for your wee ones.
Others argue that playrooms offer each member of the family time and space to explore, unwind and decompress. A playroom gives kids a chance to spread out and enjoy their bright and often loud contraptions, while giving parents a chance to breathe a sigh of relief, knowing the chaos is contained.
Since children need to play, why not create a playroom space where you can maximize fun and learning. The best part is you don’t need to have a spare room or loads of extra space. To build the best playroom for your space, consider these suggestions and ideas that work with just about any space.
While the goal of your playroom may be to contain the chaos and clutter of kids’ toys, it can be a room or space that ends up isolating your child. If your children spend the majority of their time in the playroom or area, consider making it family-friendly.
Whether it’s a space in a family room or a dedicated room, make sure it’s open and accessible to other family areas. While you don’t have to use bright, primary colors, you should establish this space using child-friendly carpet, shelving and storage.
Consider neutral, muted or earth tones along with decor that fits these themes. For example, a green shag rug that mimics grass, and brown bins with cartoon critters of foxes and bears, and wall art that imitates trees. Other themes can include seascapes, deserts and flower gardens.
Now it’s time to organize your playroom. First, thin out the toy inventory. Throw out all broken toys and games. Start a donation bin for toys your children have outgrown. If you can, involve them in the process of sorting and discarding toys and games no longer used.
Then sort the remaining toys. Keep the toys used most at your child’s eye-level. Use shelving and clear buckets to help organize.
If there are still too many toys, consider a toy rotation. Get a covered bin or box and remove all but 20 toys from the playroom. Every month, rotate the toys taking the bin toys and replacing the toys in the playroom.
If you have one child, help them realize that the playroom is their space. If you have more than one child, designate a shelf, bin or bucket (or a few) for each child. They must learn to clean it, organize it and play in it. While you should establish ground rules, it’s also important to step back and let them make a few decisions — and take responsibility for how this area is cleaned up.
If your child likes to collect things, consider turning this collection into part of the decor. Install shelves that allow your child to see and play with their prized collection(s).
If your child simply loves to make art, create an exhibit area. This can be done with a corkboard and pins or twine and picture clips. Each time they create a masterpiece, you can pin or hang it as part of the display.
Create a treehouse-inspired playroom using a raised floor with storage drawers. Add a faux tree (either with wood or using a wall mural) and an indoor swing to create that outdoor theme inside.
Use a teepee or tent to create a hideaway space for your child (you can get small, kid-friendly teepees at local toy or hardware stores). Add a carpet for a soft place to sit in the tent or teepee and a blackboard outside to allow your child’s creativity to shine.
If your family loves books and reading material, consider creating a reading nook space. Create a comfy area for your child to sit, lie and nest while enjoying their books. The resting area can include a small, plush carpet or a big pillow or even a little daybed area. While shelves up high can house adult books, lower, easy-to-access shelves should be for your children. Add in a child-sized or even adult-sized comfy chair and the space becomes a retreat where anyone can recover from an upsetting moment or rest after a long day.
While it can feel a bit daunting to carve out space or redesign a room to create a smart, well-functioning playroom, remember that you don’t have to do it all — and you don’t have to do it all at once. Start with simple steps, like decluttering and organizing. Then pick and choose what works for your child and your home.