The development of your children is a delight to see. From a baby learning to crawl, identify and communicate, to a toddler starting to show signs of independence, through to a school starter that builds lifelong friendships and then onto a teenager, on the cusp of adulthood. Each step provides a fantastic insight into their character and how they have developed over the years.
All of it starts at home though and for many children, the introduction of a playroom can be a key tool in harnessing their skills to help aid their future development.
But a playroom can’t just be a space filled with boxes of toys and created to keep the kids out of the way. It needs to be born out of a willingness to help provide your children with somewhere they enjoy, feel safe and learn through play.
We looked at the key features to help you create the perfect playroom but remember, they grow up fast so you may want to incorporate ideas that are fully flexible or won’t take long to change as your children get older. As a result, all or just some of our suggestions may work for you!
Define your room
Before decorating, furnishing, and filling your playroom, set yourself an objective. Is this a room that you will want your child to utilise from toddler through to teen? Or will it serve a different purpose for your household once they reach an age where such a room seems too babyish for them?
Once you have set that plan and defined what purpose you want the room to serve you can start to put the plan into practice.
Work from the floor up
There is going to be a lot to do to make this the perfect playroom and some tasks are a little more fun than others. We would always suggest that you start from the bottom up. There is no point in buying the furniture, toys and accessories until the room is ready. Where is it all going to be stored?
So with that in mind, look at the flooring options for your dedicated playroom. Carpet can look nice and with a host of child-friendly designs available, you could certainly see the benefit in adding something that the children can enjoy seeing pictures and patterns on. Unfortunately, children aren’t too clued up on costs and could soon use the carpet as a canvas, a cutting mat or a place for food and drink. This results in damage that often leads to a new carpet being needed. Instead, look for a hard-wearing, yet child-friendly surface like luxury vinyl tile flooring. Quick and easy to install, durable and resistant to the heavy use it will encounter and simple to clean, a playroom flooring made of such a surface means that you can remain confident it will last way beyond its purpose as a floor for the playroom.
Give the walls some character
Now you can opt to do this step first if you wish but should you have gone for the suggestion of vinyl tile flooring, it will not matter if you opt to tend to the walls second. The vinyl floorings properties mean that paint spillages or wallpaper paste drops can be quickly and easily removed without causing damage.
Opt for bold colours on the walls, this could be through painting or with artwork. Our tip here is to have the wall painted in a white or beige colour and then add vibrant artwork to the walls. Mix it with educational pictures relevant to age as well as those that match the child’s interests. You could even make one section of the room a learning area with colourful framed pictures teaching shapes, numbers, letters and more then as the children get older, change them to multiplication, foreign languages, and periodic tables. Choosing this method to decorate your walls saves you time but also allows you to switch up the room as the child gets older.
Should you look for painting the walls brightly, do it with the child in mind. What may appear classy to you may look boring to a child. Don’t be afraid to be bold. A blue ceiling and white walls for example would look great!
Pick durable but affordable furniture
Regardless of the age of your children, there will be times when furniture may be tipped, kicked, shaken or thrown. Factor this into your purchasing by looking for durable items but always remember, kid-size furniture has a short shelf life and will need to be replaced to match their growth. This can prove costly.
Plastic furniture by its nature, is hardwearing and will last considerably longer than many other furniture types. However, its production methods occasionally deter people from wanting to buy it. With that in mind, painted furniture is often a great option, a fresh coat of paint can refresh an item and make it look new again.
You should remember that items will get stained, marked, or chipped over time so shop affordably using somewhere like Ikea and when the kids get too big for it, you may be able to sell it cheaply or donate it. With prices at places like Ikea being relatively inexpensive, you can alter the room over time without having to break the bank either.
Zone your playroom
If the playroom is all toys, bright lights, and sounds, it can become a bit of a sensory overload. Break up the room where possible into spaces that accommodate work, rest and play. This way your child doesn’t become overwhelmed but gets great benefits from the room. Consider a desk where they can draw, write or do homework, add in a beanbag for a nap, and allow for floor space where they can unleash a battle between action figures, a race with toy cars or a palace for their princesses.
Consider physical elements
If wall space allows it and the children are of age to use it safely, you can factor in some great physical activities that they are sure to enjoy. We see just from going to the park how much children love to climb, jump and swing so why not create a safe space for that indoors? Monkey bars, ladders or climbing walls provide an amazing way for exercise to become part of their room.
Provide a dress-up corner where your child can demonstrate their imagination by taking on the role of a character they have invented or one that they aspire to be from their TV shows and games. Add a visible hanging rail so that the costumes are ready as soon as your child wants to drop into their world of make-believe. Then you can just enjoy seeing them explore a world that they are creating!
Think about reading corners
Whilst we have referenced work, rest and play in other sections of this blog, we haven’t yet mentioned reading. Reading can be a grey area for some children. A lack of confidence, an unwillingness to try and potentially a lack of ability sometimes turns children away from books. Creating a reading nook where you can read with them or to them can help provide them with a “comfort area” that makes reading feel ok! Whether it be a picture book or a story, interacting with books is proven to aid a child’s development. Make the area welcoming with soft toys, a beanbag, cushions and a wall-mounted bookshelf.
Celebrate the successes and the memories
Some of what your child does will happen at nursery or school and they may feel proud of their achievements. Why not utilise a section of the playroom as a celebration of them? If they bring home paintings, crafts or certificates, create some wall space that showcases this. Mix it with the things they have created at home and watch as your child gleefully shares stories of what they created and why!
It might be that you spend lots of time focusing on the toys, activities and colour scheme but you also want to make sure that when tidy-up time gets called, your children can return the room to its original state. This not only helps teach your children the importance of standards and presentation, but it keeps the room free for them to engage in other activities rather than stick to the same ones over and over again.