How To Set Up A Playroom Your Kids Will Use

how to set up a playroom your kids will use

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One of my most popular posts ever is my Play ( and learn) Room post where I walk readers through all the elements I think are essential for a playroom. The playroom in that post is designed for a young toddler and preschooler, the post explains what toys we had in our playroom and why they are important for learning. Here’s the thing my playroom looks very different now that my toddler is a preschooler and my preschooler is in 2nd grade. I am not ready to give up on this room though, it’s a happy room and with a few changes and a good clean my kids are completely in love again. This post is about how to set up a playroom your kids will use once they have outgrown your existing one. I knew I had to share the changes with you.

In this post a lot of the toys my children use and love are listed with affiliate links.

In the original post  ( read it here) I listed these elements as the must have for a good playroom for very young kids :

  • Blocks
  • Books
  • Table and chairs to create on.
  • Dress up
  • Practical life
  • Puzzles
  • Musical instruments
  • A comfy place to look at books
  • Art on the walls.

Here is how I have changed the room as my kids have aged. The main elements haven’t been deleted just adapted.

stem toys for the playroom

Our block area no longer has Little People Builders , wooden, or Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks instead our toys have turned from these wonderful basics to the next step with Gears
, Automoblox , HEXBUG , and Color Clix . All of these toys allow my kids to build at their own level which is important when you have a 4 year old and an almost 8 year old. They also let them build and play together. Having them all out and ready lets them use the toys however they want. This weekend my daughter made a gear machine to spin her Magiclip Princesses
and see which could stay on and which would fall off. No prompting just access to the right toys. One toy that has been a favorite from day one and is still is  LEGO
and DUPLO ( yes they both still play with it). The Duplo is in the playroom but Lego is in their bedrooms where they can protect their creations from demolition.

what every playroom needs

Our book nook is pretty much the same although most of the board books are gone ( a few favorites remain) and more non-fiction and chapter books have made their way on to the shelves. how to set up a book nook in yor playroom

 

One notable difference is our craft table. how to make a playroom your kids will useThe table is the same but now it’s filled with art supplies within reach. The only thing that I don’t have out and available are liquid tempra and sharpies.  Once my daughter is past her finger paint to whole body paint stage I will have it within reach. how to set up a playroom for your homeThe sharpies… I’m just not ready yet.  I have art daubers, markers, colored pencils, crayons, glue, googly eyes, buttons, gems, scissors, paper and more all out ready to be used.

Our kitchen area is filled with a lot more food, tea sets, and crocheted sushi. But we play grocery store with the cash register and shopping cart ,using the kitchen as the produce section and working on everything from manners, building confidence and math while we play.

The instruments have been moved to my toddler classroom where they are enthusiastically used! If your kids don’t use toys get rid of them no matter how awesome you think they are. You can pass them on to a friend or just put them away for a while and see if absence makes the heart grow fonder.

writing center in playroom

Some of the things we have added is the easel and a writing center on the top of the drawers that hold our Duplo, puzzles, and more. The writing center is a place to play with letters with pencils, markers, and even stamps. Our travel chalkboard and small Magna Doodle are more tools for writing.how to set up a playroom for kids The easel gets used for drawing, writing, and even as a place to hang paintings to dry. You might recognize our cutting station which is used often and a great way to use scrap paper and broken beaded necklaces. It’s also a fun challenge. cutting station in a playroom

The space hasn’t changed dramatically but what’s in it has evolved slowly.

Do you have a playroom? How has it changed as your children have grown? Tell me about it in comments.

Share Your Preschool Ideas and Kids Crafts – Link Up Now!

preschool blogPower lines are down all over town after a bad windstorm so I think we might be skipping church in the morning which means… Pjs and Pinterest for me ( at least until the kids need breakfast ! ) so link up NOW and amaze me with your brilliant kids crafts, Halloween ideas, and preschool ideas. Those are just suggestions though because really any post that you think families, parents, kids, or teachers could benefit from is welcome.

I hope you have a lovely week filled with learning and play!



Cork Board Spider Web Craft

spider web craft for halloween This spider web craft is not only an adorable addition to your Halloween craft display ( am I the only one with a mantel full of kid made stuff? ) it is also a wonderful activity that develops the pincer grasp , a major part of fine motor skills. By pushing those thumbtacks in, pulling them out, and repositioning them your child will be developing these skills. Wrapping the yarn takes major concentration and I am glad it did. I would watch frustration levels and be there to offer help if needed but my ” I will do it with NONE of your help Mama” 4 year old managed even if she went at it a different way than I would have.

Test our your cork to make sure the thumbtacks are nice and snug and please only use these tacks with children who are absolutely not going to put them in their mouths. They can be very dangerous if swallowed. Always be in arms reach and carefully watching.

Gather your materials. You will need a cork hot plate ( from IKEA), some thumbtacks, yarn, and a plastic spider. spider web craft supplies

Start by pushing in the thumbtacks. spider web craft geoboardWhen I explained the idea to my daughter I said the spider needs a web and that the tacks will make the edges of the web, the yarn will be the threads. She went to town adding tacks. spider web craft for kids fine motor development

Next cut a length of yarn long enough to make a good web, but short enough for a child to handle. Tie it onto a tack. cork board spider web craft

Wrap! spider web yarn art for kidsWhen she started wrapping it was all loosey goosey and I interfered. I didn’t want it to frustrate her when it was all slack. I shouldn’t have stepped in because she had a plan and really it’s NOT my web. I was the only thing frustrating her. Luckily she is almost as subtle about her feelings as I am and told me in no uncertain terms to back off. I did. It’s hard sometimes not to jump in and I find it’s way way easier not to when it’s your students than when it’s your own kid. I know this lesson will pop up in all sorts of arenas over the next dozen or so years. Back off. Got it… I hope.

It took her a minute ( and I stayed quiet letting her be) but she got the hang of wrapping, of how she had to hold the cork still, and wrap the yarn, pulling it tight.

spider web activity

When the web is complete it’s time to add the spider.

 

 

Phonics Game for Kids Who LOVE Princesses

phonics game for kids princess toys I am glad I read the book Cinderella Ate by Daughter before my own daughter was “eaten” herself. My daughter loved princesses and tutus… and bulldozers too. My point is that instead of fighting these obsessions we can use them for a greater good, like learning! This is a quick phonics game that only took 5 minutes to set up ( 4 of which was me trying to find Jasmine in my daughter’s bedroom) and she played it 3 times in a row.  All I had to do was set it up and say ” I made you a game, and it’s got princesses!”

Here is how we did it.

Gather your materials. I grabbed all her Little People princesses, a sheet of card stock, a marker, a clip board, and a tray for the princesses. I set this up in our sun room right where we have to pop on shoes before leaving for preschool because that’s been a challenge for us lately. I decided to lure her to where I wanted her to be without a struggle. This did the trick. phonics game princess letter sounds

I wrote out the first letter of each Princess ( or prince) on the paper.

princess letter sounds activity for kids

All ready for matching!

letter sound activity for kids who love princesses

She played as she matched up. Belle and The Beast were very happy to see that their letters were so close together.

princess letter sounds match up

The second time around there was some debate about Aurora or Sleeping Beauty? Use these sort of questions to say ” If she is Aurora what letter sound would she make? What about Sleeping Beauty?”letter sound matching game with princesses

The other issue that popped up was that my daughter is starting to break words down and she wanted to match up the 2nd, 3rd, and last sounds she heard in the names. This derails the activity m but in a completely awesome way. Stop and chat about all the sounds if they do this. When children start noticing things like this jump on it but only when they are ready. With my daughter we talked about how she could hear a r in Aurora, and d sound in Aladdin.  Listen carefully and even if it’s not completely in line with the lesson follow their lead.princess letter matching

And make sure that you set this out with plenty of time to play before preschool… we were a little later than usual that day. I had no idea she’d play so many times.

princess letter sounds matching game

 

Princess Books For Kids

All our book lists include affiliate links.

TenBigToesandaPrincesNose

Ten Big Toes and a Prince’s Nose by Nancy Gow  is a story about two very different fairytale characters. They may be a prince and a princess but they are definitely different . I love the book’s rhyme ” I am what I am and that’s alright with me.” which is such a fantastic message to self acceptance and before confidence can be built we must accept who and what we are . The love story is pretty cute too, it is a fairytale after all.

Paper_Bag_Princess

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch has enchanted me for years. I bought it while volunteering as a leader in training at a day camp when I was a teen. It’s followed me to many schools, children I babysat and finally my own son. I can’t remember one child ever not liking it. It’s a story of Elizabeth a princess who outwits a dragon to rescue her prince. I love that the author has switched the typical damsel in distress and has the princess as the heroine. Some parents have expressed concern about Elizabeth calling the prince a “Bum” in the end of the book, personally I love it. I have always used it to explain why she was so angry, and as a reminder why calling names hurt. That said I think she is totally justified !

NotAllPrincessDressInPink

Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen .This book is not so much about being different and facing adversity but about being yourself even if the world has decided you should fit perfectly into the mold it’s given you.  When we think of Princesses we think pink, sparkly and dry clean only! These princesses can’t be pigeonholed, they do what’s in their heart not what’s expected of them just because they are princesses. The princesses have all different interests, all different looks and I love that there are some with glasses too. Strong girls being themselves isn’t too different but for a book about princesses it is and it’s refreshing to read.

 

Quick Supply Links
This supply list contains quick affiliate links to items used in the post.
Fisher-Price Little People Disney Princess
Fisher-Price Little People Disney’s Aladdin and Jasmine
Fisher-Price Little People Disney 2 Pack: Belle and Beast
Solid Wood Tray ( part of a wooden food set)
Array Card Stock
Permanent Marker

 

Thanksgiving Crafts & Activities For Kids

easy thanksgiving crafts for kids I love Thanksgiving crafts. They are festive but there is almost always a deeper meaning. It’s not just about turkey it’s about the family that gathers around it, it’s not about harvest but about how we can share the harvest, and despite what my son and husband tell me it’s not about football, but cheering together. If there is one thing I love about crafting with my kids it’s our time together. Here are some great Thanksgiving crafts for you to try with your kids.

turkey paper bag puppet for kids

Paper Bag Turkey Puppets

word hunt thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Word Scavenger Hunt

football craft

Stuffed Football Craft

Thanksgiving Lesson Plan
Thanksgiving History Timeline

thanksgiving garland
Thankful Garland

foam turkey magnet edit
Foam Turkey Magnet
spelling stones literacy activity

Thanksgiving Spelling Stones

rp_indian-corn.jpg
Mosaic Indian Corn

Thanksgiving arts and crafts for toddlers
Turkey Baster Painting

thanksgiving wreath
Thank You Hand Print Wreath

Melissa and doug thank you cards

Finger Print Turkey Cards

thanksgiving craft for kids
Family Photo Quilt

scarecrow craft
Shape Scarecrow

 

thanksgiving thankful activity for toddlers
Thankful Box

turkey counting
Counting Turkey

Thanksgiving craft
Turkey Craft For Toddlers

Simple Sensory Tub
Thanksgiving Sensory Tub

Thanksgiving Math with Candy Corn
Candy Corn Math Tray

glitter sun catcher turkey craft for toddlers
Turkey Sun Catcher Craft

shape turkey craft for kids
Shape Turkey Craft

scare crow fine motor
Paper Plate Scarecrow

rp_Learning-Turkey-Kids-Crafts-293x300.jpg
Fine Motor Turkey Craft

marshmallow harvest corn
Marshmallow Indian Corn

potato print turkey craft for thanksgiving
Potato Print Turkey

rp_Pilgrim-hats-002.jpg
Pilgrim Hat Cookies

indian corn craft for kids

Confetti Corn Craft

thanksgiving craft
Bubble Wrap Corn

Dry Erase  doodle mats for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Doodle Mats

pumpkin printing in preschool
Mini Pumpkin Prints

turkey cork color sorting
Thanksgiving Color Sorting

turkey feather fine motor matching game for toddlers
Turkey Feather Color Match

gross motor game for thanksgiving
Turkey Feather Hunt

3d thanksgiving turkey craft
3D Hand Print Turkey Craft

turkey fact families for kids
Thanksgiving Math Fact Families

paper plate turkey craft for kids
Paper Plate Turkey