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Setting up playroom similar to preschool plan? X-Posted in The Childhood Years

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I hope it's okay to put this here. We struggle constantly with toy organization. We have four kids, but one's a baby, so there are three that play with the toys all the time. We have a small bin for each type of toy. We rotate. Now my kids can get in the front closet where I keep the extra toys though, and get all of them out at once. BIG mess. So I moved them all but five bins to the storage room in the basement.

We used to have an "art cart" which was a three drawer cabinet with paper, markers, crayons and coloring books. It was in the kitchen and the boys could use it anytime they wanted, but crayons and markers needed to stay at the table. We had some issues with crayon on the wall and floor in other rooms and they weren't cleaning up, so it's been removed now.

I'm always trying to find ways to make it better and give them more chances. One thing I've been thinking a lot about is how well things work in preschool. They have an area for each type of toy. Puzzles, blocks, trains, dress up, art, etc. I think it's neat, but the room is also huge. Our playroom is 12x11, I think. Right now all that's in it is an activity/train table. We bought it for the train set, but after preschool last year, I regretted it because they put the train together on a big rug, so it could be put together by the kids however they wanted. Ours can really only be put together one way (by me) to fit on the table. I love the table for block building though.

Does anyone do this with your playroom? Do you have suggestions for organizing it? I think we need to find better ways to store things to make it work. At preschool, they have a shelf that holds big blocks. We do need some type of rug for the train set (or they could use the tile in the entry way. It's big and totally wasted space (as long as they keep it away from the front door so people can come in). I wish the builders used some of the space from that and made the playroom bigger.

They all do so well at preschool with playing in designated areas and cleaning up after. Is this wishful thinking and a design that wouldn't work well in a house? Or has anyone done it and found that it's possible? Do you have suggestions for making it work? Or any other ideas for better organization? I want them to actually play with what they have instead of being too overwhelmed with so many.

I've been reading a lot about the Montessori philosophy and it's interesting. I'm not sure how that design would work in a house though.
post #2 of 19
It's interesting, I was just reading an article about this very subject in Wondertime magazine (and pondering how I could make this work in dd's {much smaller} playroom!) Here's the link to the article online:
http://wondertime.go.com/life-at-hom...-playroom.html

Hope that helps some.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Awesome, thanks Maria! I'm reading the whole thing right now, but this looks like exactly what I want.
post #4 of 19
Julie Morgenstern (the organizational guru) says that you should use the kindergarten classroom as your ideal organizational environment. She makes a lot of good points about how wonderfully organized they are. We're getting geared up for a major decluttering/pare down/organizational week, and I'm using the ideas - designated spaces, slots for items, quick clean-up - to organize everything.
post #5 of 19
I was going to post the WonderTime article too. I love that magazine, and that article. We have an "extra" bedroom that I'm always struggling with what it should be (I want to save it for a maybe baby, but, well.... I'm thinking I might take some tips from that article and try to make them work in that space.
post #6 of 19
Glad it helped!

I love Wondertime, too, Charmie--it's my new favorite magazine. I'm sorry for your loss...and you know, just b/c you purpose a room as a playroom now, doesn't mean it can't be changed in the future...
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by GracieBugsMama View Post
It's interesting, I was just reading an article about this very subject in Wondertime magazine (and pondering how I could make this work in dd's {much smaller} playroom!) Here's the link to the article online:
http://wondertime.go.com/life-at-hom...-playroom.html

Hope that helps some.

Great article- thank you!
post #8 of 19
This is how we have set up our family room. We have a shelf that is all art supplies, a shelf of blocks, and a shelf that has games and cars. Then in another corner a play kitchen. We couldn't find a kid's table that was big enough, they all seemed too small to paint on or to do puzzles, etc, so I went to an unfinished furniture store and had them cut down a simple kitchen table to fit the kid's chairs. Now it can seat 4 children playing playdough, etc, easily. We decided to put everything in the family room, so dd could play and still be with her dad and me. She does play some in her room, with her dolls or doll house, but mostly she likes to be with other people.
post #9 of 19
In our old house we were fortunate enough to have a large area devoted to the playroom, and we seperated it in this way. In one corner, I secured a couple of those large Ikea leaf canopies, and underneath was a pile of pillows and a basket of books. The kids often took impromptu naps there. To the left was a built-in shelf that housed most of the building toys (blocks, etc.), along with the Little People toys we have. I had a short bookshelf cutting the room in half. On the other side was the kitchen/dress up area. We had a little table and chairs, a toy kitchen, and all of the dress up stuff in a bin. Behind that we had a slide and a climber, for indoor winter activity.

It got messy with two kids doing two different activities at a time. But once we got into the habit of giving it a good tidy every evening before heading up to bed, it never got out of control.

I kept the craft stuff upstairs after the playroom got decorated with crayons and playdoh a few days in a row. It was an "ask for" activity, and I made sure to sit in the playroom with them while they were doing crafts.
post #10 of 19
This is how we set up the girls play room (in a 10x9 bedroom)

Currently we are undergoing getting rid of a lot of plastic toys, and replacing some with fabric/wood toys. But this is how the room looked about a month ago.

Toy sets with similar pieces or themes:
http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t.../playroom1.jpg

Puzzles/sewing cards/stringing beads on dresser/books on bookshelf (board books on bottom shelf and the paperback books on top out of 2 yo reach)

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t.../playroom2.jpg

Dora doll accessories, tea set, wonder/discovery bottles/LP dollhouse (will be replaced by a wood dollhouse after dd2s birthday).

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t.../playroom3.jpg

Dress up station in white canvas drawers, more storage in 9 cube (contains play food and dishes, some other things).

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t.../playroom4.jpg

Play stove and puppet theater and more shelving for things I want out of reach of 2 yo and young visitors.

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t.../playroom5.jpg

Play table - not my favorite, not safe either. It's got to be replaced soon. DD3 took a pen and ripped the top too.

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t.../playroom6.jpg
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by GracieBugsMama View Post
It's interesting, I was just reading an article about this very subject in Wondertime magazine (and pondering how I could make this work in dd's {much smaller} playroom!) Here's the link to the article online:
http://wondertime.go.com/life-at-hom...-playroom.html

Hope that helps some.
great article - we'll be redoing DS's bedroom in a few weeks and I'll definitely be applying some of this.
post #12 of 19
Wondertime had a bunch of other great articles- one about re-purposing a living room to a play space, some great creative ideas in there. Thanks again for the link- I hadn't ever heard of it and it looks like it has a lot of great ideas! For those that have a subscription, is it worth it or can you get the majority of it online?
post #13 of 19
post #14 of 19
Because I love to see other peoples pictures, here's a link to my blog post about our playroom/playspace: http://mamamolly.vox.com/library/post/playspaces.html

It's not quite like a classroom, but DS is still pretty young.

It seems like some shelving would be helpful to you. Even if you can't make separate areas in the room for puzzles and things that go, they could have a specific home on the shelves which might help. I've also appreciated having a designated play space for DS in our living room. It seems like things are more contained that way.

I'm glad you mentioned that about the train table. I've been wondering if we'd like one for a 2nd birthday present, I think I might skip it.
post #15 of 19
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post #16 of 19
Wow, you guys have some beautiful playrooms! Very inspiring. I have to ditto bellinismama--my daughter is the same way. Although we do have a separate playroom for her in this apartment, she prefers to bring toys out into the living room to be near me and dh. We have her coloring and not-too-messy craft stuff on some of our bookshelves in there, and the rest of the toys in her playroom.

Zoomom, I do have a subscription to Wondertime. I'm the type of person who prefers to have the magazine in my grubby little hands, rather than reading it online, so maybe I'm the wrong person to ask, lol... I do think they put a good portion of their content online--Catherine Newman's column, which I love, and the on-the-cover articles are usually on there. One cool thing the magazine has is a journal page each month--asks you a few questions about your kiddo's growing personality and sometimes asks your child to draw a picture on one side. If you keep them all, you have a nice little semi-monthly journal. :
post #17 of 19
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post #18 of 19
Phase 2 - less plastic, more natural toys

left side
http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t...roomleft-1.jpg

right side
http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t...oomright-1.jpg

new dollhouse for dd2's birthday this month

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t...ecloseup-1.jpg

magnet board
http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t...agnetboard.jpg

storage bins - by Xmas, most of this should be fabric/wood toys
http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t...rls/bins-1.jpg

girls dress up closet/extra storage
http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t...s/closet-1.jpg

We don't have a nature table per se, but a nature box that we can move

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t...aturebox-1.jpg
post #19 of 19
SAHMinHawaii- I love your wooden kitchen!

Such cute rooms. I'm currently fixing flaws in the drywall and repainting so I hope to take pics of DS' room when I'm done. I've noticed that children love organization and take comfort in knowing where things should go each time.
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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Organize & Declutter › Setting up playroom similar to preschool plan? X-Posted in The Childhood Years