This post is sponsored by Disney Junior
We are in the process of moving houses and I’m super excited to have a whole room available in the new place to dedicate to a playroom for the kids. No more dress ups thrown across the lounge room and puzzle pieces hiding in the couch. A whole room to contain their mess (I mean fun). I’ve already gone a bit organisation crazy with labelled boxes and systems to keep everything tidy, but now I’m thinking about creating a space that encourages my kids to dream, be creative and use their imagination.
Here are some of my ideas so far (feel free to share any other ideas you have in the comments!)
Choose open ended toys
Over the past year I’ve been slowly decluttering our toy collection and moving away from toys that only serve a specific purpose. Instead, I’m aiming towards more toys that encourage creative and open-ended play.
It’s amazing what kids come up with when presented with some blocks, pretend animals and a few toy cars. The boys stay so much more engrossed in games they have created from scratch, compared to when playing with a specific toy.
Dress ups are another fabulous open-ended toy. You don’t necessarily need to go for branded items; old adult clothes, pieces of fabric and some hats and accessories work wonders. Both my kids love Jake and the Never Land Pirates and I often catch them acting out scenes with their cardboard swords and my scarves tied around their heads and waists!
Multipurpose furniture such as Lego tables with storage that offer play spaces and storage in one are also a great space saver for smaller areas.
Don’t make it too busy
If you’ve been reading for a while you’ve probably heard me harp on about clutter causing chaos, both physically and mentally. The same is true for kids’ spaces. If the space is too busy, cluttered and difficult to maintain, kids are less likely to want to spend time there and more likely to become overwhelmed rather than inspired.
One of my aims with the new playroom is to have clear storage spots (I’m going for plastic boxes) that are easy for kids to pack away and that keep the room fairly clutter-free on a day to day basis. I’m not a huge fan of having all the toys and activities on display, preferring to rotate toys out and encourage kids to seek out what they need.
I’m constantly amazed at where my kids come up with their ideas from. It seems inspiration is everywhere!
I read a while ago on a US blog about the idea of creating “invitations” for kids to play (it’s big on a lot of homeschooling blogs). It basically involves presenting some items in an open-ended way and “inviting” kids to be creative with them. I really love the idea and have set up areas like a medical centre, grocery store, artist’s studios, bookstore, library and heaps of others. Giving the kids a bit of a lead and then seeing where they take it is a great way to inspire their dreams. When I recently set up a doctor’s surgery my eldest ended up turning it into a maternity ward and had my youngest assisting with births (can you tell that my pregnancy is big news right now?!).
Keep a record
One thing that I really want to be more conscious of doing is keeping a record of their play. Before I know it they will be grown up and past the creative dreaming of childhood. I’m trying to make sure I capture it as much as I can. I’m planning to create a photo wall for them with photos of their different play, artworks and other creative explorations. It will go in the playroom as another type of inspiration for them.
Disney Junior is currently running a competition where they are asking people to upload a video recording of your child talking about what they dream of. I asked my boys and you can check out their responses below (and yes, my youngest is saying he wants to be a car…)
Participate in the Disney Junior competition for your child to be in with a chance of being featured on the Disney Junior TV channel! Simply go to www.DisneyJunior.com.au/Dreams to upload and share your video.
Hurry and send your entries in by Sunday 19th June – less than 2 weeks to go!