Our playroom is my favorite room in the house. It’s more than a playroom though, it’s also a learning room and my husband affectionately calls it my classroom. I wanted to share it with you today to help explain a little about how we use it to promote learning through play at our house. We have lots of free time in this room as well as outside, or wherever else in our house they want to play but this room offers the most fun for obvious and not so obvious reasons.
First of all this is how the room looked when I went to take pictures.
It’s lived in, it invites play, this is not a space that needs to be clean and tidy all the time. There is a place for everything that enters the room so that we can find things easily but it’s not the living room ( although that probably has some books and toys in it too), it’s the playroom a place to explore not continually clean!
The elements I really urge you to have in your playroom or homeschool classroom for preschool – kindergarten include :
1. Blocks area . We are using Fisher-Price Little People Builders Builders as our blocks ( I swear there are some blocks under all those Little People) right now but we also have plain old wooden blocks and Duplo. I like these for my daughter’s fumbly toddler fingers. They stick together but she is still able to get them apart.
2. LOTS of books. Most of my books came from Scholastic Book Orders when I was a teacher. I spent way too much of my already small pay check on books. Many of the others are from Goodwill – I love used books! Also make sure that the books are in an accessible spot. Our board books are right where my 14 month old can grab them.
3. A table and chairs that are their size. I flubbed a little on this one. I bought this Ikea Desk Table Multi-use
and I swear I measured the legs. Still they are a little tall… nothing too bad for my son and since my daughter likes to stand instead of sit it’s no biggie right now.
4. Dress Up! We love our Melissa & Doug Play Costumes but even if you don’t have the space for a ton of costumes for pretend play, gather some fun hats and accessories for dramatic play. Playing pretend is a great way for kids to work through feelings, practice social skills and get excited about different subjects.
5. Practical Life. I urge parents of boys and girls to have a play kitchen even if it’s just a small table top one. This is not just for the pretend play aspect ( we play restaurant and cafe all the time) but also to spark interest in nutrition, cooking and all the learning that can come from kitchens real and pretend.
6. Puzzles! Critical thinking is critical. Puzzles are a great quiet time activity and problem solving exercise. I have also found over the years that they teach patience as well, which is probably why I personally am not a big puzzle person… We love our wooden ones , they hold up great and have proven to entertain a wide range of ages over the years.
7. Music. I know it’s not always the most pleasant thing to listen to but making music even if it’s just random banging and weird screeches on a recorder is important. Exposing your child to creating music is a great way to spark their interest and studies have shown that kids who play instruments are better at math and reading. That starts here , so let them bang and tweet away!
8. A comfy place to read. This is our favorite place in the whole room! I took the doors off the closet, added a shower curtain and rod, a crib mattress on the floor , cushions and a book rack. Oh and our reading lights!
Art both fine art and fine kid made art on the walls are also a must!