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When planning a playroom, there are several areas that are helpful to plan. Here are some questions to help you reflect on important considerations.
Safety in the Playroom
Whatever else a playroom aspires to be, safety is paramount. Depending on what age child or children the playroom is for, different types of concerns arise.
• Will supervision be required, either from within the playroom or from outside?
• If from inside, how can a conducive area for parent/babysitter/older sibling be created?
• If from outside, is the area visible and easily accessible for the supervisor?
• Will the room accommodate any safety gates, window latched, and safe furnishing requirements?
• Are there sufficient exits, in case of fire?
Playroom Activity Types
Depending on the age of the child or children who will use the playroom, including both family members and household guests, different areas and activities might be fostered.
• Building materials range from wooden blocks to Duplos® and Legos® to Tinkertoys® to Erector Sets and on and on.
• Will there be a library area, with books and comfortable reading spots that might include bean bag, rocking chair, floor cushions, recliner, or window seat?
• Will there be a playhouse, whether prefabricated or made from cardboard boxes?
• Will there be any areas for physical activity such as an indoor basketball hoop, a small climbing gym, indoor darts, etc?
• Will there be any game tables, such as ping pong, foosball, air hockey, etc.?
• Will there be any board games?
• Will there be any technology such as a computer, a television, a DVD player, a karaoke set, etc?
• Will there be any permanently standing play sets or models, such as a model train, model ships, etc.?
• What kind of imaginative play are children likely to engage in, and using what kinds of props?
• Will there be any art supplies in the playroom, such as an easel, paper, crayons, scissors, glue, pipe cleaners, paint, etc.?
Keeping a playroom orderly and sets together is important to having a fun, welcoming environment.
• Which items are complete and set (for example, a chess set), and which might grow over time (DVD collection, Legos®) and might need more space? How can you accommodate this?
• What special storage needs do various activities have (temperature, protection from sunlight, older children’s toys being inaccessible to younger children, etc)?
• What kinds of containers will work best for various materials (milk crates, tubs, plastic dish pans, original packaging, zip top bags, etc.)?
• What arrangements should be made for items that are on permanent display or that are left from one play session to the next so that further work can be done on them?
Given all the considerations above, you can make decisions about furnishing the playroom.
• What are the area requirements for the type of activities you have decided on (floor, board, table, etc.)?
• What kind of floor covering is appropriate?
• Should there be several different floor covering areas (e.g. an area rug on a flat surface of wood, linoleum, tile, etc.)?
• What lighting is needed in various areas for various activities?
• What furnishings are needed for the activities and for storage?
• What choices will make the playroom attractive to the children who will use it over time?
• What choices will make the playroom easy to clean and care for?