How to design a play room

Lime Tree Kids Blog

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How to design a play room

December 31, 2011 By Lime Tree Kids Lime Tree Mumma Blog comments

I get asked a lot about how I’ve set up my kids playroom. I worked from home most days up until we picked up our youngest child Sienna from Taiwan , now its at sleep times, late arvos and night time when the kids are in bed.  The rest of my team are great and hold the fort for me whilst I settle Sienna into our family!

My 2 babies are now 4 (almost 5) years and 9 months so there is a pretty generous sized age difference. Sam my oldest is into toys far beyond his years and loves Star wars Lego , , Bionicles and pretty much anything teeny tiny that you DON’T want around a 9 month old who likes to put EVERYTHING into her mouth ! This was a problem at first but we have finally found some solutions which Ill share with you. 

I like to devide play areas into little play or learning stations (it’s the child care teacher from way ago coming out in me) . It also makes it easier to direct Sam gently towards something like drawing, reading etc as he would happily spend hours playing guns and Lego only.
Firstly you will see we have what we refer to as “the safe zone”. This is Samuel’s safety zone from the clutches of his beloved baby sisters claws! He is VERY used to having his own space and has found it extremely hard to adjust to life with a curious crawling baby. Im not a fan of having kids in their bedroom , just because I feel like this is their home too and they should be able to play in it (to a degree of course). He will spend quiet times , time away from Sienna or people if he needs to in jhis room to re-regulate and he also keeps his very special favourite toys in that room , not available for others to play with unless he invites them etc which is something I have fostered because I believe that I wouldn’t let anyone come in and play with MY favourite precious belongings so the kids shouldn’t have to unless they want to either. (Of which most time they will share).  
 

We originally had the playpen set up just as a normal size for Sienna but she quickly outgrew the idea of being penned in and we one day found Sam and all his Bionicles couped up in it chatting and playing whilst Sienna sat chewing on something outside.. Thus was born “the Safe Zone”.  About 2 months ago I bought another one and we set up Sam’s much loved and used Lego on a table and also his favourite rocking horse which he generally uses to sooth himself when he is a bit cranky (he is a big sensory kid & the rocking soothes him into a trance LOL ) . This takes away the constant picking up of Lego , and removing bits from Siennas mouth !  Lego MUST stay in the Safe Zone except for a few select pieces that come and sleep beside the bed each night.

     

 Area A has all of the toys anyone is welcome to play with such as blocks, interstar , mobile, music toys, cars , dress ups etc. It also holds Sam’s creative stuff like pencils, (on one of our craft turntables of course) , paper etc . I have a thing for Expedit shelves as you can tell. They are awesome at storing things and I use the Mor Stor caddies or 3 Sprout storage boxes to store things in the Expedit.
 

   
                                                                                                    
          
       
                          
      

Area B is where we rotate between chalk board and white board activities. Currently Sam is practicing his writing (he is about to start Prep , Sob Sob) so we practice letters etc or drawings there.

Area C is where we keep all our books, and puzzles, anything fine motor like Mr Potato Head , our sensory or scientific experiences like play dough , shells rocks , magnifying glasses etc. Also we use a 3 Sprout Peacock storage box for Siennas baby toys.
I’ve been trying for ages to get Sam to expand into playing with cars etc and finally succumbed to buying one of the 3D rugs that we stock and he hasn’t stopped playing with it since! I’m very glad we invested in it and wished we had of earlier !
Again the childcare teacher in me , means I MUST have things hanging from the roof and currently I’ve got some handmade Pom Poms my friend and I made ( just do a google search , they are easy to make !) . I

Im thinking of changing them soon to an under the Sea theme though and we will do fish net with some painted fish , and streamers coming off the roof..

Im using the below pics as inspiration (again thanks to Pinterest - original source expired)
         

For the walls , I recently I found some cheap discounted frames at Target and have framed some prints, currently we have:

                                                                

My main bone of contention has been what to do with all the stuffed animals we have accumulated and thankfully about 45 mins on Pinterest (which you absolutely MUST check out) supplied me with the brillante idea to simply spray paint some plant hangers and put them on the wall .
Now I am NOT creative at all, as I’ve previously mentioned but I must say I’m rather chuffed at myself for these.  To make some for yourself all you do is :

Step 1 .  Get some wall hangers from Bunnings (they range in price form $10 - $30) mine are just the cheap ones!      
 Step 2. Buy a can of undercoat white spray paint and whatever colour you want as your top coat.
     
 Step3 . Follow the instructions on the can (I just did one coat of undercoat and one coat of the blue top coat)
     
 Step 4 . Once dry, hang and hey Presto a funky toy holder for your Play room!!
     

Remember that a child’s play space can be anywhere and everywhere, there is no right or wrong.  If you dedicate a room or area like we do then just try to think of different ways to stimulate and encourage exploration in your kiddies.  This is simply what has worked for me and my family!   If you don’t have the room then just do what you can with what you have and bring out different activities onto a table at different times of the day ( say craft in the morning , sensory in the arvo , reading at lunch time etc) . A child’s favourite play toy will ALWAYS be you anyhow.. A play room isn’t a necessity, it’s a luxury!  

A few sites for ideas on activities, sensory fun etc are:
www.childhood101.com
http://www.theimaginationtree.com/  (thanks Ruth this one is a gem)
http://progressiveearlychildhoodeducation.blogspot.com/  Called Let the Children Play
http://www.teaching-tiny-tots.com
http://mypigeonpair.com

I am also really into pinterest and get so many ideas from following through to the source of a picture and reading blogs/ sites for both activities, room designs, posters and inspiration of any kind.  Pinterest = happy Shelley . 

If you want to know where I’ve gotten anything in our pictures just comment below and Ill let you know. Naturally most of it is fabulous so I found it at the most fabulous store you may know called Lime Tree Kids ;-P  

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