Play area do’s and don’ts

Whether your child’s play area is part of their bedroom, your living area or a separate room, it’s likely to be one of the most well-used areas of your home! This also means that it’s probably one of the areas that need tidying and sorting most often. There are so many great ideas on play area storage and design that it can be quite overwhelming when trying to decide what may be best. Luckily, the simpler options are generally the most helpful ones! Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

1)            A demarcated area usually helps to contain the creativity to one space (a separate room, a corner of a room or a special carpet)

2)            A soft surface will encourage your Groovy Adventurer to get down on the floor to play comfortably

3)            Bigger toys on shelves (rather than packed away in drawers, bins or cupboards) will help your little one to see his options as well as make packing away easier

4)            Smaller toys in see-through drawers or containers will also make searching for a particular toy easier

5)            If there are only a few toys out at a time your little one will not become overwhelmed and may spend more time playing with a particular toy/set of toys without too much other clutter to distract him

6)            Pack some toys away in a high cupboard or another room and “recycle” toys every few weeks or months to keep toys feeling “new” and exciting

7)            Try to build in some baby/toddler led play time (daily if you can). This gives your Groovy Adventurer time to dictate and lead play (without an adult interfering, suggesting, leading or dictating how a toy should be used or a game should be played). This time will be short with a baby and can be rather like being bossed around with a toddler, but get into character (whichever one he happens to give you) and enjoy his creativity!

To keep your little one’s play area relatively organised, try some of these ideas:

1)            Use an over the door shoe organiser (preferably with clear pockets) to store Barbie dolls, action hero’s or farm animals

2)            Laminate or frame favourite board game boards and hang them on the wall for easy access and great décor

3)            Use a magazine rack for the “books of the week” seen as you will be reading them daily! Or paint, decorate and attach some rain gutters to the wall at Groovy Adventurer height for slightly deeper book shelves that will still display his book covers well

4)            Make some cardboard box storage boxes with your Groovy Adventurer. Paint them, draw on them, stick stickers on them and label them. These work well for balls, soft toys and dress-up costumes

5)            Make a car storage tower using toilet roll inners. Glue them together in a pyramid shape and decorate. Now you can place one matchbox car in each little garage. Your Groovy Adventurer will be able to see all his cars easily as well as have an easy way to store and pack them away.

6)            Hang a curtain rail on the wall and loop curtain rings on it. Attach a peg or paper holder onto each ring. Now you can hang your little Picasso’s artwork no matter how big or small and no marks on the walls! You can make a simpler version of this by hanging a piece of string or ribbon across the room or along a wall and attach pegs to this.

Remember to include your little one as much as possible in any play area changes so that he really feels like it is a space that is more his than anyone else’s.  He will then feel completely at home and the creative juices can flow!

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