With the whole family home all the time, it’s more important than ever for everyone to have their own space. And just as you work better with a designated office area, your kids can also benefit from having their own play area.
Having a play area not only gives kids a space of their own, but it can also help foster creativity and reduce mess around the house (which might help maintain your sanity too.) Here are six ways to create the perfect play area, no matter what size your home is:
Let Go of Your Layout
Your normal furniture layout may not be the most effective solution now that your daily needs have changed. Don’t be afraid to let go of your current floorplan to make room for a play area. Finding space for each member of the family is more important than good Feng Shui right now.
Consider options like pulling the couch away from the wall to make a play area behind it. Or you can move the dining table to one end of the room to create an open area for play at the other end. If you really lack extra space, try moving the coffee table out of the living room during the day. You can easily move it back when it’s time for the family to come together in the evening.
Lay the Groundwork
Use flooring to define the play area and make it easy for kids to differentiate between their space and yours. Modular rubber playmats are a great way to brighten a play area and protect your floors. If you don’t love the look of rubber mats, you can also use an area rug to mark the space and give little ones somewhere soft to play.
If you don’t have anything like that around, don’t worry; a blanket will also work in a pinch. Just be sure it’s washable and can handle a little wear and tear. A blanket is also easy to pack away at the end of the day when you want your space back.
Put a Lid on It
Kids love a fort and will often go “hide” and play quietly for longer periods when they’re tucked away in a secret space. For a quick and easy solution, try draping a blanket over a table and piling some pillows underneath. You’ll have an instant fort that doesn’t take up any extra space.
You can also use tension rods to create a fort in almost any hallway. Simply stretch two or three rods across the hall and then fold a sheet and hang it over the rods. This version is quite versatile and lets you adjust the size according to the height of your kids. Then at the end of the day, it takes only seconds to fold it all away.
One of the biggest challenges with any play area is keeping clutter at bay. Toys have a way of ending up in every corner of the house and kids often don’t want to put them away. Storage solutions that are easy to access and simple to use will encourage children to help clean up.
A shelf with baskets is a popular choice for playroom storage. The baskets keep toys organized and can be easily used by little hands to put things back in. And at the end of the day, the baskets will hide the toys away until the next day.
To keep the days from getting monotonous and toys from feeling stale, develop a system that rotates through different toys and activities. If you’re using a basket storage system, fill baskets with different types of toys and switch up the ones that you pull down each day. For example, you can rotate between crafts, puzzles, building blocks and dress-up activities to give your kids variety and something new to look forward to each day.
With so many restrictions on kids’ activities, you may want to give them a bit more freedom to have fun. A good play area will offer creative ways to let your kids enjoy activities they might not normally get to do. Consider painting a section of a wall with chalk paint and letting them draw on the walls!
A little extra screen time isn’t the worst thing when you’re trying to keep kids entertained all day long. Include a charging station in the play area so they can watch a show or play games without interrupting you.
Giving your kids an awesome play area will help both of you get through the long days at home.