Sunday, February 5, 2012

Anatomy of a Playroom {1}: The Essentials {Organizing by Function}


Kicking off this fun little series today and talking about...

the essentials
organizing by function

From many of you I have heard you do not have a lot of space
for play and/or are not sure how to organize what you do have,
which is why I want to begin here with a good, solid base.
.
I grew up in a teeny-tiny ranch home with three sisters and many
of our toys were in our room or tucked in a playspace in our unfinished basement.
Yes we had a basement, but it was not glamorous, rods of hanging clothes
were above our heads and next to the space was my mom's stockpile of canned
and dry goods.  As we teased her enough for our family of 6 to survive some sort of 
natural disaster, catastrophe, world war III God forbid.

While yes we still did dream and play and learn and grow,
I do love that we are now more intentional about a space for our children to play.
If you are like our family, living where you cannot really play outdoors
for 4-5 months of the year, then it is even more of a priority.
.
So, what are the must-haves, the things to include if you are short on space, budget, etc.?

I like to think of a playroom in the same way I would think of any room 
I was designing in my home, by function.
In a play space that would include:

dramatic & pretend play
reading
manipulatives
arts + crafts
storage
Note: storage has been included in each inspiration board, 
and I will be doing a separate post on storage and furniture.

The overall sense should be that the space yes is fun, but also 
defined, engaging, imaginative, and theirs. 

I wanted to make sure to address this concern from my readers:
I know some of you have said that it is not possible
for you to have a separate space in your home.
First I would challenge you to see if you really need the rooms you
currently have with the function they currently hold.

We do not have a formal dining area, that is our playroom,
and our living room was downsized as well to make space.
Guests will see toys when they come into our home.  
{and every time they join in the fun}
Upstairs yes our oldest has his own play space, but
we also have four boys in one room and that will change over time.
Eventually his play space will become his bedroom.

I do realize that it still my not be an option,
in that case even organizing by these functions can help.

When designing our first playroom I definitely drew inspiration from 
our amazing local childrens museums 
Aside from their featured exhibit, they typically have play
organized into areas, as do most classrooms, it just makes sense.

Here are some great tools to define by function...

{dramatic play}
all you really need is a bit of wall space and some fun hooks
to hang everything from a superhero cape to a tutu to a fireman's hat

add a wall mounted awning with some great striped fabric and a few
shelves full of playfood for a little market
white shelving  :  reusable bag  :  little marvels capes

{reading}
who wouldn't love a cozy little corner?  
it doesn't have to fit everyone at once, just a magical little spot near the bookshelf.

A little book sling does wonders, you can read more about ours here
you can change it to fit your dimensions.  
 You also may want to check out this removable teepee tutorial I created for the boys' room,
it would look darling in a playroom corner.  

{manipulatives}
to take care of the little bricks and blocks that always find their way under your toes...ouch!

With our smaller manipulatives like pattern blocks and stacker pegs, it helps to work from smaller trays in which I store them as well. 
These trays can found in the Target dollar bin and easily labeled.  


I have mentioned our NILO table before and how much I love it,
the inserts, train table to lego table, to lunch table.  I also came across
that fantastic table with storage built underneath as well.  
Get this, you can purchase plans for the lego table here.
Truly, if you have a handy husband or any handy friend or family member,
this would be a GREAT investment.  You bet I'll be handing these over to Matt!

All-in-all what I have found easiest with blocks, legos, gears, etc. is to have them
stored near the place they will be used.  Have the finished pieces displayed somewhere
they can easily be accessed.  Glue some lego baseplates onto existing shelves.  To avoid having lego pieces everywhere, store them near where they will be used and have a designated area.
They even have fancy schmancy lego sorters out there.  Tackle boxes work great as well.  

{arts + crafts}
here are just a few ideas for a designated art area and some storage...
I will be devoting a whole post to children's art, so much to explore!

As in our playroom if you do not have space for an easel, or four {grin}, 
you can create one by either adhering a dry erase board to the wall as we did 
or using dry erase paint.  Secure clips to the wall to hold the paper and instant easel!
While the slant isn't there, unless painting is done hours on end with your little
Picasso, it should suffice, and has worked great for us.  We also framed out 
a chalkboard and feltboard.  If you can believe it we created the playroom
before the chalkboard paint craze!  You can also create a magnetic chalkboard,
add a little magnet hook and bucket to hold the chalk.  

I just adore the spray painted animal jars, what a fantastic idea!
animal craft jars  :  oilcloth splat mat  :  chalkboard paint  :  magnetic primer  :  

Once you have set functions, toys will for the most part fall into these categories
and then can be organized with a planned purposeful place for them.  


I would say we are off to a good start!  Please send me your questions or include
in the comments here anything play space related you would like me to address.  I will try to answer them in my upcoming posts!  

{P L A Y}
As astronauts and space travelers children puzzle over the future; as dinosaurs and princesses they unearth the past. As weather reporters and restaurant workers they make sense of reality; as monsters and gremlins they make sense of the unreal.  Gretchen Owocki

Until soon, 
{michelle}

1 comment:

  1. simply, amazing! {we have an easel in our living room...lol...}

    I think of my house as a home. Where boys play. Where messes are made.

    Better Homes and Garden can wait.

    Sharing this at pinterest. I hope the world sees this post.

    ReplyDelete

I so appreciate your sweet thoughts and thank you for sharing. I always try to reply whether it be to your email or on one of your blog posts! Wishing you a wonder*filled day! Michelle

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