Whether it’s a proper room with four walls and a door, or a designated corner of your living room, a play space is a must if you have little ones. Not only is it important for kids to have an area that’s just for them, but it’s the perfect place to send them when the weather is ugly, or when you need to kick their cute butts out of your ways so you can get dinner started/fold laundry/have five minutes of peace and quiet.
We all have different tastes and aesthetics – and lord knows our children have their own crazy opinions when it comes to decorating – but paint colour and accessories aside, there are a few must-have items for every play space.
This is at the top of the list for a reason. I’m still amazed at how much stuff my daughter has managed to collect over the last two short years of her life. Bins, baskets, shelving, and closets are your friends. Group things into broad categories (toys, stuffed animals, books, craft supplies, etc.), and try not to get too frustrated when your kid destroys your carefully thought out system ; )
Table and chairs
Your kid (and you) probably won’t want to play with everything on the floor. A child-sized table and set of chairs fits well into small spaces and becomes the ideal spot for colouring, play dough, and tea parties. Plastic or wooden sets are usually reasonable priced and are easy to clean.
Crayons, felts, construction paper, paint and brushes, glue, pipe cleaners, and popsicle sticks are all great to have on hand. Encourage your child’s artsy side even further with an easel or a chalkboard. If you have space to spare, consider an art wall to display all their masterpieces.
A loaded bookshelf
Find a bookshelf that fits your space, or stack a couple colourful milk crates if you’re in a pinch, and keep it stocked. Don’t worry if your own collection of children’s books is small. My daughter and I love to visit our local library every couple of weeks to find some new favourites.
I strongly discourage having a TV in your playroom, but music is a must. A small CD player is great for throwing on whatever your kid loves to groove to. And play musical instruments let them create their own tunes.
They’re an oldie but a goodie. Invest in a few age-appropriate puzzles and pull them out when you’re in need of a calming activity.