By Joyce Reyes-Aguila
Having a dedicated space for your child or children to play in at home can do wonders. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician who is known around the world for the education philosophy, was a strong believer of children’s sensitivity to their environment. She believed, among other things, that giving young ones freedom to choose their activities can foster self-discipline. To create this environment, Montessori replaced heavy furniture with child-sized tables and light chairs to allow children the freedom to move them around.
An environment where a child can live and play – that was Montessori’s goal that should also inspire you as you build or rethink your child’s play area at home. A thorough study of her method shows her focus on encouraging kids to explore; experience repetition, order, and communication in their environment. There is a myriad of philosophies when it comes to how play areas at home can be arranged. Let’s start with five tips to get you going.
Keep it simple
In movies and magazine pages, we see “perfect” playrooms that are fully equipped and picture worthy. While it can pressure some parents into splurging to achieve a certain look, it is good to be reminded that a playroom should look and function like one. The word “play” refers to being able to do something you enjoy – a recreational activity. And a museum-like or cluttered space will definitely not allow your child to do just that. A simple space where toys and books have clear, designated spaces can also help you teach your child about organization early on.
Make it safe
A playroom should be a space you can confidently leave your child or children in for a few minutes or a longer time, if they are older. Can you enjoy a worry-free coffee break while they are in it? Child-proofing the room is key. Attend to the corners of shelves. Secure any shelf they may climb onto. Do not have anything they can climb on to reach the window; install a window guard. Look into how you can safeguard electrical sockets and wires from their attention/curiosity.
Have fun decorating
Whether you are planning a room for your unborn child or updating one, finding inspiration for your playroom colors or theme should be a fun part of the process. If your kid is old enough, he or she may have ideas for the space as well. Personalize the space by placing their photos or artworks on a wall. Find an area rug that will fit well with your child’s interest. It could be a map of the world, or shapes, animals, numbers,letters.
Create space for them to read and write
A table and chairs fit for their height, bean bags, and cushions will invite them to practice writing or drawing to their heart’s content. As much as possible, allow natural light to come in. We all know that learning is an important part of your child’s development. Encourage their interests in the space you have especially designed and designated for them.
Let it go
In this room, walls, floors, tables may all be used as writing or drawing boards – whether you like it or not. See if mounting a blackboard on one side of the room or assigning an art corner can do the trick. This room will definitely be a space of expression for your child’s creativity and imagination. Be prepared for things to be in disarray when they play house; do not stressover it.
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