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Please help, our playroom is the devil!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
So we just moved into this new house 2 weeks ago. I can't for the life of me figure out how to organize our finished basement playroom. Both kids have their rooms down there and then a bathroom, laundry room and great room. We gave the kids that whole great room for a playroom/learning room. But all they do is drag toys upstairs all day long and play up here. :

Seriously, being 28 weeks pregnant I am so freakin tired that carrying toys downstairs at the end of the day is beyond my capability.:

How can I make the room more inviting for them and encourage them to stay down there and play? We bought them a really large soft, fluffy rug this weekend (which has helped) but I would like to hear from others who have a playroom since we have never had one. Do I paint it all cutesy? Do I build them a craft table? Buy out Pottery Barn Kids?

post #2 of 12
I think it's just that kids want to be around mom and dad, and werever the action is. My boy's room is right upstairs next to the living room and they still drag everything out, or complain in the living room that there is nothing to do. It is this way in every other house I go to where the children's area is away from the main living area. Is it possible to put your computer, crafting space, laundry, etc down there with them?
post #3 of 12
Yup, kids want to be with mom and dad. The only time my kids used our basement playroom was when I was working in the office next to it. Otherwise, it went unused. Now that I'm no longer using the office, the playroom is gone.
post #4 of 12
Does any natural light get down there? Sometimes it's the lighting.
post #5 of 12
Could you have the majority of their bigger toys downstairs and encourage it as a playroom, and then have a basket of smaller toys upstairs for them to play with? Then maybe emphasize them playing with what's available in each particular room that they are in?

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
I do think it is in part the lighting, we have two windows but only one lets in light. I've got most of their stuff on that side of the room to try and help encourage them over there. So far it's getting better if I take the laptop down there or fold clothes or something while they play. Our major playtime of the day is down there together while we paint, play games, puzzles, etc. but when I need to do housework or make phone calls I was trying to get them to play with their toys down there.

Maybe it will just take time?
post #7 of 12
Put a basket at the foot of the stairs and TOSS toys down at the end of the day.:
post #8 of 12

I bought some cheap baskets from Ikea and have them out in the living room to collect the toys, etc. Then I just take them to the room and dump them in the bins. I have come to terms with the fact that everyone has to be in the living room.
post #9 of 12
definately the "we want to be near mom thing would be my first thought. My three yr old will follow me around all day )and our house is only 720 sq feet, one floor.

only if he is SUPER involved in play will he be willing to be in a room apart from me for any length of time.
post #10 of 12
We didn't put Ds's playroom in the finished basement because I knew he wouldn't want to play down there by himself either!
We put the playroom on the second level. We have this big "bonus room" over the garage. Even with the door open and me working in the house he still ends up in the family room on the first level.

I didn't bother fighting it. We found a really nice wooden table and chairs set we put in the family room so he can color, etc. He also has a child sized black leather recliner with a basket of library books next to it. In the corner we have two large wicker "cubes" with covers on them. We keep some toys in them. That way if we need to do a quick clean -up I can toss it all in there and put the lids on. They also double as extra seating for parties and foot stools. I figure when he is older we can use them for extra pillows and throw blankets. Everything goes with the rooms decor, so it looks really nice.

At the end of the day Zach helps pick up and moves the toys back to the playroom. Toys he wants to keep set up for days at a time must stay in the playroom.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
First of all, excellent replies! You've given me a lot to think about. Secondly, I think I must come to terms with the fact that my kids love me to death and want to be near me 24-7. But I am definitely going to incorporate some ideas from here to see if it helps.
post #12 of 12
I agree that kids just basically want to be where the action is. The only time kids (from the various families I visit) use their play areas/rooms is when other kids are over, and they want to show them all their toys. Other than that, they want someone to be near them, to watch them play, to interact with them etc. I plan to have a play area in my living room (we are blessed with enough room to do so...) and not try at all to keep the toys in a room where I am not. I want to see how they are using the toys, and also how much of a mess they are making before cleaning up the last mess they made!

Ideas I want to use:

Keep sets of toys in boxes with lids- this is something I totally will use clear plastic boxes for. I want to keep sets of toys in boxes on a shelf, and a few boxes can be down at a time.
Keep only the toys that the kids play with- some kids ignore stuffed animals, some kids play with them constantly. The kids I babysit here at my house, grab all the stuffed animals they can find and they set them all up on different books, as a Zoo. BUT- if the stuffed animals or other toys were not being used, I would sell them or donate them.
Keep age appropriate toys together, and put them away after that age has passed.
Teach kids to pick up their own toys. My friend has the same problem as you (Cathi/OP) but her kid's play room is upstairs, and they are constantly bringing the toys down to the main level of the house. She says that is fine, as long as they take them back up with them when they go. Well, she has it almost down pat, and rarely carries toys back up those stairs herself. The kids know that they need to do the job themselves.
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