There are mornings when we wake up feeling all energetic and wanting to clean up and organize the room, and if you are an expecting parent, your focus is more on getting the house ready for the newborn. Especially expecting mothers, when they get this urge to purge the unwanted things from the closet or clear out some furniture with sharp edges in the room, this is the nesting instinct to get the home ‘Baby-ready’. If you are looking for some inspiration, you have come to the right place.
Many aspects need to be set up as new parents prepare to welcome a child. The baby’s cot, bathing essentials, clothes, and so much more. One thing that gets missed out is the need to prepare the space for their babies to move and play. As the kids grow, their stages of play change and so does the need to expand the play zones.
When the kids are small, they spend the majority of their time playing at home. The house is their safe space and whether the space is big or small, these curious minds find a way out to engage themselves, and setting up a designated play area in the house is going to ease the art of playing.
Creating a specific environment for play helps them have fun when they cannot go to mindfully designed spaces such as schools, play areas, and playgrounds.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare your home for your kid to move and play. Most of these can be useful regardless of the space available.
- Central play area
This can be the main play area for the kids where they play uninterrupted, like on a mat in the center of the room or a comfortable rug in the corner of the room whichever is easier to clean. This space’s design could be neutral or with minimal colors so that they don’t get over-stimulated or distracted as this will be the area where they dump all their Legos or their kitchen set.
- Moving Space
It is very important for kids to move around not just outdoors but inside the house too and it would be great to have an area where kids can run around which is childproofed.
You can let them climb on some sofas with soft cushions or you can get them multipurpose toys like balance boards, or a folding tunnel. If you have a large space, you can have a climbing frame, ride on wheels, a trampoline, or even an indoor swing.
The motive is to get them a space to jump, run, bend, and balance their body indoors along with activities outside in the house. Physical activity plays a vital role in building up stamina for an active toddler
- Imaginative Play zone
This space can be assigned for imaginative play where they can do pretend play, or make something out of their blocks or Legos. You can add small shelves and tables that have simple drawers for them to keep their toys, like their zoo animals, transport vehicle set, and other small things to create a new world. The furniture in this area can be of a height where all the toys are easily accessible to them and also where it’s easy for them to sit, build and play. You can use those Alphabet Play puzzles to build a house out of it or use the cardboard boxes to make a small campsite.
- Messy Play Area
Kids tend to be more creative when they are free and it would be great to assign a separate space for all the messy activities like finger painting, gardening, play dough, playing with rice or grains, and so on. It’s good to have a place where they explore their sensory skills, like access to clay or dirt, and also easier for parents to clear out after they are done. You can create a space to keep all the leaves, sticks, feathers, shells, and all the other collectibles but clear them out once done except maybe for some of the things that can be reused. You can also keep some of their creations on display.
- Resting Zone
Kids, as much as they need to run around and burn their energies, also need quiet time. There comes a time when kids need downtime and for this, it is better to have a rest zone that is subtle and simple in design where they can relax and gather their thoughts before they jump on the next thing again. This could be a small space with some cuddly toys like a stuffed animal, books, or some play silks. Again, the lesser the stimulation, the better the quiet zone.
The main purpose of play zones is to help kids explore, play, and not be restricted. It is okay for the zones to overlap and evolve as the kids grow. An environment where kids have fun and learn new stuff is essential for a healthy mind and bright future. Also indoor playgrounds are going to ensure limited screen time.
P.S. We love this video by Vidya where she talks about setting up these five zones to help her child play more. What we like the most is the scope to tweak them as per your style and budget.