Playrooms for our preschoolers can be hard to create without a good set of steps to follow. A version of a PB Kids magazine is what most of us ideally want to incorporate into our homes. Sadly, this is the room that usually becomes a black hole for game pieces, leftover happy meal toys, broken pencils/crayons and other odds and ends. How does one achieve success when trying to create an ideal place for little ones to play, create and have fun? McLean Barbieri with Annali Interiors is going to tell us.
BACKGROUND: McLean Johnston Barbieri studied Interior Architecture at the California College of Art and worked for design firms in San Francisco and on the Central Coast of California before returning to her native Nashville in 2010. Her projects include contemporary spaces as well as a refined mix of traditional styles. She currently works at Annali Interiors on Hwy 100 here in Nashville.
The Preschooler’s Playroom
The first thing any ideal preschooler’s playroom should have–a door that you can close so you don’t have to see the mess!
But really, when I was asked to write about designing a space for young children to play, I could not help but turn my thoughts to my twin girl preschoolers. As Montessori students, they are encouraged at school and at home to be responsible for their own things. Their playroom is theirs to mess-up and to clean–with a little; ok a lot, of help and encouragement.
There are endless themes, colors, and decorations that work for playrooms; the preference of which is going to be different for each family; but here are a few tips I think work in EVERY household:
1)Get the child involved. When a child has had a role in creating a space and a system of organization, then they will have ownership in keeping it functional and neat. This means that you can ask your child to choose a paint color, a theme if you would like to have one, and most importantly to be part of deciding where things should go. In the 1990s Decorator and Child Psychologist studied the behaviors of children allowed to have control of their own space and found that playtime became more productive and moods greatly improved. For more on this see www.articles.latimes/1990-11-11/news/vw-5964_1_observation-room
2)Not all their toys need to fit into the room at one time! Rotating toys can keep your little one engaged and excited, so don’t hesitate to have a 3-month rotation out of a storage bin.
3) Make sure that the tables, storage, etc. are an appropriate size for your child. If you have ever been in a Montessori classroom, you know that this is a huge part of creating the calm learning and play environment. Children not only know where all the activities go, they can reach them. That being said, a successful playroom in your home also has a place where parents, grandparents, and friends are comfortable sitting, so if possible include at least one seat large enough for the grownups engaging with the child.
4) Less is more. Kids are bombarded by stimuli all the time, but a good playroom is one in which they can get involved enough in their current activity to allow their parent time to put dinner on the table. Make the room more about the child, and less about your need to make it “cute.”
Reading nooks or “cuddle corners” as one friend of mine calls hers, are great places for you to spend some time with your child or for them to have a cozy space for themselves If you have an awkward corner, consider how you can use it for your child.
Creating something dramatic on one wall is all you need. Remember, children grow up and you want something that will be easy to grow with them. I particularly loved this rainbow wall made from wall stickers. Doing one fun wall like this is a perfect way to involve your child and it will be easy to change later. I found this one at www.wallstickeroutlet.com
A simple clothesline on one wall can make a perfect ever-changing place to display their artwork.
It’s these simple steps that will achieve great happiness for your child and great satisfaction for you, the parent, in creating a great playroom for your preschooler.
McLean Johnston Barbieri
6518 Hwy 100 / Nashville, TN 37205
615.352.7616 (office) / 615.925.1878 (cell)
(Photos: 1)Designdazzle.blogspot.com; 2) Rosenberryrooms.com; 3)furnitureanddecors.com; 4)Decorpad.com; 5)Living Etc.;6)sewliberated.com; 7) wallstickeroutlet.com; 8) moderndaymoms.com ; 9) Zach Goodyear Photography)