Create The Perfect Kids Play Room

Create The Perfect Kids Play Room

Play is really important for your child’s physical, emotional and social development. Independent play is especially valuable and important to build into your child’s day.  Play spaces are areas where kids can have safe activities and toys; they can be stationary or movable; store bought toys or simple games or activities requiring just bubs and parent.  

Playing keeps babies and kids entertained and happy and gives not only kids time to recharge but also parents.  Time spent with kids as they play is key for bonding. 

1. Creating A Play Room - Plan the room 

The objective of having an organised approach to Play Spaces means that you know what you need and when; and you can also rotate toys in and out to keep things fresh in your designated Play Room or Spaces for Kids around the home or on the go. When considering how to set up Play Spaces think about

  • Space availability
  • Relocatable , e.g. to grandma’s house, outside, car
  • Ability for quick tidy up

2. Creating A Play Room - Different areas for different ages and interests

We have 2 kids in the house with a 4 year age gap so I had to work extra hard to get a Play Room / Play Spaces together that worked for them both. When I was putting it together, I did a list of the things they loved doing and then planned their play room and the areas within it around those things. I set up

  • a Reading Area complete with a cd player speaker so they could listen or read stories
  • a Zoo Hospital area with all of the animal soft toys
  • a Kitchen and Dolls House for their home making pleasures
  • a Dress Up area with hooks for some stuff and a bag for others
  • my littlest loves babies and prams so she has a space there dedicated to her babies and prams. 
  • a separate area for play-dough, drawing, puzzles and blocks

 

3. Creating A Play Room -  Incorporate Creative Play

Creative play is great for social and cognitive development, imagination and problem solving.  It is vital for self-confidence and expression We have hand selected creative toys that will keep your kids busy and having fun – doing what they love to do as well as developing their little minds.

    

 

4. Creating A Play Room - Have a selection of Puzzles and Games

Puzzles and games keep kids busy and having fun – doing what they love to do -  as well as challenging and developing their little minds. Puzzles are great for cognitive development, particularly problem solving skills.

 

5. Creating A Play Room - Social Toys

Dolls and soft toys are important for helping developing social and emotional skills.  More than just toys, they dolls and soft toys can become partners in crime, companions and a shoulder to cry on. 



6. Creating A Play Room - Pretend Play

Pretend Play is incredibly important for a child's social and cognitive development. It is vital for self-confidence and expression.  It can help them express themselves in ways they may find difficult in the 'real world.'

   

7. Creating A Play Room -  Sensory Play

Sensory Toys stimulate your child’s sense of sight, touch and hearing in a very controlled way.  Also important for cognitive, language and motor skill development.  For some kids sensory experience particularly touch can be very soothing.

   

8. Creating A Play Room -  Create a swap box

When I set up the new area for my girls, any toys that didn't fall into their interest areas were either donated, thrown out or some were put into a swap box (or two) that live in the garage and storage unit.  When something comes out of a swap box, something else has to leave the play room. No negotiation.

Before this reset we had toys everywhere and getting them cleaned up was always a nightmare. Part of the problem was they were looking for things all the time. Now, with things better organised, clean up is easier and they can find their favourite things with less fuss and mess.

9. Creating A Play Room - Have the right storage

Make sure that you have easy storage for them to get their toys in and out of.  Some things needs to be in open shelves for easy access, but for some of the smaller things I would suggest sorting into bowls, boxes or other containers in easy reach. If you are in an open space consider lockers that you can close.  Bags, baskets and boxes on wheels are great for soft toys and dolls. 

Remember the harder something is to find stuff, the messier it's going to be.

      

10. Creating A Play Room - Have a play time routine

Routines are different, and you may choose not to have a set routine. 

There are key times of the day that babies and toddlers will enjoy play time best. Generally, between 9-11am and 3-4pm, varying in length of time depending on the age of bubs and your established routine.  For example:

A baby:

  • will be in the best mood earlier in the day – post the breakfast and morning feeds and sleeps
  • can be less pleasurable coming into lunch and afternoon feeds
  • would be best not stimulated during your bed time routine or right before
  • and parent would benefit from a walk or outdoor play at least once a day. Fresh air and a good walk is always a good refresh for tired souls.

For a baby, aiming for 3 or 4 30minute bursts of activity would be great. Play should never cut into sleep or feeding times.  If your baby wants to sleep and only gets 2 plays in- that’s ok.  Play should be fun and enjoyable and as soon as baby is tired, let them rest.  Always follow your baby’s cues. If your baby is rubbing his eyes, crying or fussing, turning her head away or is starting to close her eyes – stop and let him rest. As baby gets older they will require more play – it won’t be a long wait. Always follow your baby’s cues – if your baby or toddler doesn’t seem to be in the mood for play – don’t push it.   With a toddler try to get out in the morning and then have a play at home in the afternoon.

For older girls, preschool or in primary school like my girls, the pre-dinner play is their main time together during the week.  My eldest has after school activities so they don’t see each other until late.  That time together allows me to cook dinner and they dance, construct or play with dolls.  

And make sure that the end of play time includes clean up.

12. Creating A Play Room - Add extra fun with decals and wall stickers

Decals that can be removed or moved are great as you can change them as the kids grow - even move them to bedrooms.

             

11. Creating A Play Room - Incorporate the Kids Wall Art

I love having the kids art around the house.  The Play Room is a perfect place for a gallery of their art.  I created a board where we can hang their more playful attempts. I can clip them on and off as the art "rolls off the press."

In addition to their art I also keep adding Kids Prints and Educational Posters  in their spaces.  

 

13. Creating A Play Room - Incorporate Fun Colours

Colour can be introduced through major changes like paint colours or furniture or you can use accents and toys to be your colour agents.  I love pillows and toys for colour and they are easy and to change and grow with the kids.  

source: maggie holmes design via Pinterest

 

    14. Creating A Play Room - Safety Considerations

    • Always read manufacturer instructions of each toy and follow
    • Always clean toys before presenting to child
    • Do not leave child unattended if not in a secure area – e.g. alone with a pet, on a raised surface without fencing; surrounded by sharp objects, breakable objects or small objects which present a choking habit
    • Always keep toys age appropriate, particular if they have detachable or sharp bits that can be a choking, cutting or falling hazard
    • Ensure that there are no small parts that the child could choke on. For babies it’s too small if it can fit into a 35mm film canister according to Product Safety Australia
    • Ensure that strings/attachments do not pose a strangulation risk
    • Beware of heavy toys that could hurt or injure a small baby
    • Beware sharp or pointy bits that can puncture or cut 

    Related Content

    Play To Learn

    Play Guides For Babies 0-12 Months

    Play Guides For Toddlers 1-3 Years Old

    Play Guides For Kids 3 - 6 Years Old 

    Play Room Inspiration

    Check out our Kids Toy section for inspirations 

     

     

    Creating A Play Room - 

    Age, Development and Play Stages

    Age Range

    What they do

    What they need

    Birth to 3 months

    At this age, children begin to smile, track people and objects with eyes, prefer faces and bright colors, reach, discover hands and feet, lift head and turn toward sound, and cry, but are often soothed when held.

    Motor and sensory stimulation, appropriate language stimulation

    4 to 6 months

    At this age, children smile often, prefer parents and older siblings, repeat actions with interesting results, listen intently, respond when spoken to, laugh, gurgle, imitate sounds, explore hands and feet, put objects in mouth, sit when propped, roll over, scoot, bounce, grasp objects without using thumb.

    Motor and sensory stimulation, appropriate language stimulation

    7 to 12 months

    At this age, children remember simple events, identify themselves, body parts, familiar voices, understand own name, other common words, say first meaningful words, explore, bang, shake objects, find hidden objects, put objects in containers, sit alone, creep, pull themselves up to stand, walk, may seem shy or upset with strangers.

    Motor and sensory stimulation, appropriate language stimulation

    1 to 2 years

    At this age, children imitate adult actions, speak and understand words and ideas, enjoy stories and experimenting with objects, walk steadily, climb stairs, run, assert independence, but prefer familiar people, recognize ownership of objects, develop friendships, solve problems, show pride in accomplishments, like to help with tasks, begin pretend play.

    In addition to needs from previous years, children at this age require support in the following: acquiring motor, language, and thinking skills, developing independence, learning self-control, opportunities for play and exploration, play with other children. 

    2 to 3 1/2 years

    At this age, children enjoy learning new skills, learn language rapidly, are always on the go, gain control of hands and fingers, are easily frustrated, act more independent, but still dependent, act out familiar scenes.

    In addition to needs from previous years, children at this age require opportunities to do the following: make choices, engage in dramatic play, read increasingly complex books, sing favourite songs, work simple puzzles.

    3 1/2 to 5 years

    At this age, children have a longer attention span, act silly & boisterous, may use shocking language, talk a lot, ask many questions, want real adult things, keep art projects, test physical skills and courage with caution, reveal feeling in dramatic play, like to play with friends, do not like to lose, share and take turns sometimes.

    In addition to needs from previous years, children at this age require opportunities to do the following: develop fine motor skills, continue expanding language skills by talking, reading, and singing, learn cooperation by helping and sharing, experiment with pre-writing and pre-reading skills.

    5 to 8 years

    At this age, children grow curious about people and how the world works, show an increasing interest in numbers, letters, reading and writing, become more and more interested in final products, gain more confidence in physical skills, use words to express feeling and to cope, like grown-up activities, become more outgoing, play cooperatively.

    In addition to needs from previous years, children at this age require opportunities to do the following: develop numeracy and reading skills, engage in problem-solving, practice teamwork, develop sense of personal competency, practice questioning and observing, acquire basic life skills, attend basic education.

    source: worldbank.org
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