I am not familiar with any in particular but I would think the main idea may be to make it as close to the area where you are or family seems to be, so that she is not far from you (it may already be close). Young children do not want to feel isolated.That may mean some rearranging rooms though or even incorporating her play area into your main living area. For us, that is the family room, I've centered the furniture so that it is not near the walls, and that is where we store the toys, without making it too cluttered. My friend has a small room off of her kitchen that serves as the playroom, so while she is at the stove she can still see and be in communication with her children. She cooks a lot so that works for her. Someone else may be more likely to be at a desk with a computer. Either way it may be helpful to make the play area nearby. Granted, we cannot all rearrange our living quarters but with some creativity, perhaps the playroom can be within or close to the main living area or where ever you spend the most time yourself. If that is not the case already, then perhaps it will help make it more attractive to her.
I like looking at Montessori and Waldorf playrooms for ideas (because they are pretty).
Also: my kids are 2.5 and 4.5. They have just started being willing to play away from me and only for a few minutes. Our playroom is mostly just where the toys get stored in between ONE BLEEPIN SET AT A TIME is brought out to the living room for playing. :)
Is the playroom close enough "to the action"? No matter how attractive/interesting it is, kids usually like to be wherever the rest of the family is...at least until they're quite a bit older. My son's about the same age, and even though he'll often play happily by himself, he generally wants to be where he can see me at all times.
If you're looking for inspiration, you can tour some daycares/preschools/kindergarten classrooms. A good way to do this is to catch open-house events so there's no obligation to pretend you're going to enroll there...(special education classrooms are amazing, but it's hard to get access to one).
Another idea is to get a hold of the catalogs for the companies that supply products to daycares/schools, they're chock full of inspiration.
Looking at classroom setups is a great idea. I will definitely do that. I DO think that there's an isolation issue at play. We live in a teeny-tiny house, and the playroom is actually a walk-through room between the hallway and bedroom with a wide doorway into the living room, too. So it's not really physically isolated, and not further from the kitchen (where I often am) than the living room (where she usually plays). But it is the only room in the house that is only for DD, and I think in THAT sense it is isolating. Still, in a house as small as ours, I hate to see any space underutilized, so I really want to find a way to make it more play-friendly for her. I wonder if I should turn it into a creative space and put my craft stuff AND hers in there, or make it a reading/writing nook for both of us and move more of her toys into the living room. I have been very concerned about having too many toys in there, so I keep lots of her stuff in the attic or the closet, but maybe if she's not going to play in there much I should do more toy storage in there. Hmm. I always think too much about this type of thing :)
A few "personal" tips from my experience.
Get some of those canvas organizer bins and a shelving unit. Store like toys in each bin. I have a large bookcase with bins. One holds instruments, ponies, play food, little guys/fairies, cars, misc...etc. Decorate the playroom in a fun color and maybe hang his art on the wall. Make it welcoming to him. Put things low for easy access.
Our "playroom" is the family room. I can watch them play while I cook, work on the PC and watch TV. As best I could, I set up areas of play. The play kitchen is near the kid table/chairs. The dollhouse is on the other side of the room, so they can spread it out and play....etc.
And I don't like them to have more than one bin of toys out at a time. If you want to play with the blocks, then the cars need to be put away. Easier on clean-up IMO! You could also label the bins w/pictures or words of the items inside. I have 3 kids, 1 boy, 2 girls and they are 8,5 and 2.5. So different levels of toys. I rotate from their room to downstairs, so that's why I don't label them. I also rotate the bins. Since they are on shelves, the lower ones get more action as they are at eye level.
I put the puzzles and wooden dress up and k'nex. Things with smaller pieces on the (shorter) top shelf. Because the youngers will need my help to get them down. And I know what they are playing with, and can kinda keep track of the pieces. We all know a puzzle missing a piece is no fun! lol
just curious if you know at what age they do want to be away from you?
at this age I think it is best to have the play area close to where you are. We have like 1/2 our living rm as the main play area. We also have a spillover rm with ds's toys and I guess it is sort of a playroom but he only goes in there if we go with him. Even if I am in the kitchen Ifind it is best to set ds up with something to play with right next to me- he doesn't ever want to play in the other room (unless he has a new toy which is fascinating for the first 1/2 hr)
so yeahyou cold turn the playroom into 1/2 whatever space you need and 1/2 play room for now
We put a big carpet square on the floor so it's nice to play on and also put in a few floor pillows and a couple of beanbags. There are two baskets of toys and a 9 cube bookcase with three of those canvas drawer/storage box thingys. My toddler loves packing and unpacking them.
She doesn't always play there and a lot of toys get brought into the lounge room but she does seem to like it a lot. I think one of the things which helped was that she and DH go and sit in there every morning when they get up and read books or watch a video on the laptop. She will ask throughout the day "Can you come and play in my playroom?"
LoLoL. I've got my daughter's toys front and center in our tiny 1953 home and she still will go DAYS without playing with her toys!!!
She'll play with her toys when YOU DO!! No Mommy, you can't do crafts, make a phone call, shave your legs, or snuggle with Daddy. *sigh*
Yeah, this is really my daughter, too. BUT - the thing about the playroom is that she doesn't even want to play in there with ME. Trust me. I know better with this child than to hope for independent play :) I think I'm really just hoping to readdress the space so that it's more utilitarian. It may just be so small that it's only ideal use is as a big storage closet...
BTW - whoever mentioned putting the play table next to the play kitchen to create a play zone - BRILLIANT. I have no idea why this didn't occur to me before, but it has been amazing. It's really inspired me to think about the functionality of our space differently, in the "grown-up zones" AND the playroom.
I will (third) Pinterest!
Our playroom is off the kitchen, and is pretty much the "main" hangout room for my 5 and 2 year old.
Playstands! I bought mine secondhand from a friend, and they are the best best best. We have playsilks to create a sort of hideout, and I have a faux lambskin rug from Ikea on the floor -- on the shelves of it I put baskets (you can find them anywhere) of their toys, and the dolls are on the floor set up and ready to play. If you can't find (or afford, they can be brand new) playstands, try making a little "hideout" using playsilks, or get a tent or something to create a cozy nook!
Chalkboard wall. I love chalkboard walls *sigh* and we don't have one in this house, but I'd love to paint one (we just have big ole' chalkboards at the moment..)
"Stations.." a reading nook, small table for making art projects, nature table etc. Don't have to be huge or elaborate (could even be in baskets!)