Creating Our Playroom: An Overview
My husband and I did lots of reading when we first became parents. One of my favorite books was Brain Rules for Baby by John Medina. He is a developmental molecular neurologist and research consultant. This book is remarkably readable and full of fantastic, evidenced-based suggestions about parenting. He writes "There may be as different types of playrooms as there are families, but every one of them should have the following design element: lots of choices" (Medina, 2014, p. 294). He goes on to give suggestions on the types of toys to have a on hand to produce "open-ended play"(Medina, 2014, p. 130).
We set out to create a colorful, beautiful place that kept his suggestions in mind while utilizing the crazy amalgam of hand-me-downs, baby gifts, and DIY items we had assembled. We wanted a room that was safe for multiple aged children to play together. We wanted a space that could grow and age with our children. As a person who constantly wants to "finish things," I continually needed to remind myself
A useful playroom WILL ALWAYS be a work in progress.
We wanted the space to be good for both genders, but since our daughter was the main one to play there at first, it is definitely geared toward traditional girl-type play. (FYI to any internet trolls who eschew traditional gender-role play: SHE DOES LOVE TRUCKS, but she keeps her collection of cars upstairs near her room. However, her favorite play right now is tea parties. No idea how that happened.) As our son grows, I know that everything will change and evolve. We hope that we built a space where "combinations of situations in which the individual imagination and creativity [that] could be deployed are seemingly endless" (Medina, 2014, p. 135).
Our playroom will change as our children grow and develop. We may eventually add a "science study stations" or and easel with paints or a city maps for cars and trucks. We will see where their interests lie and use the space to encourage them to delve more deeply into what brings them joy.
When you first have a baby, it is very surreal to contemplate the idea of that tiny creature in front of you becoming a real walking, talking person. The heart of building an ideal playroom for your children is providing a space designed to help them grow into themselves: independent, wise, and curious.
Over the next few weeks, I will highlight certain areas and features of the playroom, but I wanted to post a general overview first. Feel free to comment and ask questions about anything you see and want more information about.
One quick note: OUR PLAYROOM NEVER LOOKS LIKE THIS! IT NORMALLY LOOKS LIKE A TODDLER-SIZED TORNADO WENT THROUGH IT. I tidied it up, so the features would be easier to see in pictures [also due to type-A messy room shame]. I will eventually post a picture of how it looks [chaos] at the end of the day.