Many parents wonder whether they should store all the toys in their child’s room or create a playroom. My personal preference is to create a play space, separate from their sleeping space if possible. It certainly doesn’t have to be an entire room, but ideally, it is a designated area where they can see and access play objects. As a new mum living in a small unit with one living area and setting up a small space for our daughter, I remember as a new mum living in a small unit with one living area. It was great until it slowly started to take over the entire room. Firstly I recommend the toy declutter (read tackling the toy ‘takeover’) to avoid this scenario. Still, the next thing I suggest is setting up a system that has the added benefit of inviting meaningful play to the child:
1. Set up a ‘toy rotation’ storage system
Sort toys into categories and store them in labelled tubs in a spare hallway cupboard that only you can access
2. Gather a variety of small trays and baskets
Get along to the local op shop and gather various small trays and baskets that are appropriate for young children and can be easily carried by small hands.
3. Set up the playspace
Set up a small low shelf, mat area and child-sized table and chairs, then decorate with low framed artwork or pictures and small pot plants to make it warm and inviting
4. Set up trays & baskets
Present toys in the small baskets and on trays that children can see into, instead of large storage boxes filled with toys that require them to pull the basket out and dig through all the toys. This creates a mess and often breaks the child’s opportunity to focus on one object or task at a time.
5. Lay out a mix of ‘open-ended’ and ‘opportunity for mastery’ play objects
Open-ended objects encourage exploration, concentration, creativity and are not usually expensive. Providing objects such as silk scarves, large felt balls, a mixture of wood and stainless steel household items that are safe provides endless opportunities for self-directed discoveries. In toddlerhood also providing ‘opportunity for mastery’ objects such as stackers, puzzles, shape sorters or ‘real life’ play such as a small dustpan and brush or hairbrush and mirror can be great too. These items are actually ‘non’ toys and keep children motivated in independent play for hours.
Book our in-home consults and help you create a play space for your child specifically designed to meet their developmental phase.