Do we need a playroom? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 03-20-2005, 03:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was just reading a thread where people were describing their great playrooms with stations and imaginary play areas and shelves and I'm feeling like I'm lagging in this department. DD (4 y.o.) has a bedroom that houses all of her toys and her sister's toys (20 mos.) and most books. There's a bed and some posters. And that's about it. Most of the toys have been given to us and are typical plastic blocks, Barbies, figurines, plastic, plastic, plastic. The kids rarely play in there and when they do, it's to dump all the toys out of the little boxes they are in and stack the boxes into different configurations.

We have art supplies in the kitchen next to the table, where they do art projects.

We are homeschooling so I feel it's especially important to make the house child-friendly. I just have NO IDEA how to do that. The kids seem bored to be doing the same things frequently. Any book recommendations for this sort of thing?

So do we need a playroom? I'm thinking we do. Do I convert our family/t.v. room into a playroom? It's attached to the kitchen and currently serves as our only living area while the front room, which is unfurnished, is holding our future kitchen cabinets when we remodel this summer. So technically, we have two living areas. There is no basement and the attic is off-limits. How do I go about even setting up something like this? I want my kids to be as creative as they want to be and I hate the thought that my lack of organization/planning is hindering that.

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#2 of 16 Old 03-20-2005, 01:21 PM
 
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I am a big advocate of playrooms, because I believe that bedrooms are for restful sleep and to house a few special toys that are keepsakes, particularly delicate or that the child is not ready to share on a daily basis.

I would start by looking at living / tv room and see if there is one corner that you can convert through the careful positioning of a small bookcase or two into a play-house corner (kitchen, pots, doll beds, that sort of thing). Use the bookcases not just for books, but also for baskets to hold little toys, blocks, etc. A small coat-tree can hold dress up clothes / cloaks and a larger basket or trunk can hold hats and miscelleanous accessories.

Warmly,
Michelle
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#3 of 16 Old 03-20-2005, 05:13 PM
 
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We don't have a specific playroom in our house, but we have play areas in all of the rooms in our house. We have a small kitchen set up for ds and dd in our kitchen/dining area. We have part of our living room dedicated to their play. We also have toys in ds room for him to play with upstairs too. We are thinking about moving some of the toys into the porch this summer as an additional play area, but I really like having hte kids close to where I am working, so I don't think a "playroom" would be practical. I do however try to make sure that the toys we have are meaningful toys for my dc that encourage them to play and explore.
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#4 of 16 Old 03-24-2005, 08:25 PM
 
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I have done with and without playrooms. Currently have one. Even for big kids it's a great space to spread out a project and be able to leave it and come back. Keep their rooms much more tidy. If you have the space set one up. Kid size table and chairs and shelves for all their games and craft supplies.
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#5 of 16 Old 03-28-2005, 03:34 PM
 
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We currently have a playroom and are planning on having one when we move in a month, but honestly we don't use it. Maybe DS just isn't old enough yet, but he rarely plays in there. I think the playroom is more for my purposes than his.

Mother of 3, welcomed a new baby girl July 2011

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#6 of 16 Old 03-28-2005, 07:50 PM
 
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We just made a playroom out of our office and honestly, now that it's not a "forbidden" room, the kids don't even want to play in there. They drag all the toys out around to different parts of the house and play with them where ever they feel like. I am wishing we wouldn't have moved everything all around now.

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#7 of 16 Old 03-30-2005, 04:52 PM
 
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It was the same for us, the kids didn't want to be off in a playroom somewhere, they wanted to hang out as a family together. So we set up a play area in our living room. (Our living room is not huge, I'd say about 12x14 feet, but then we don't have a lot of big toys.) I wouldn't be able to do it if they had a lot of commercial type toys, though, which I can't stand looking at. Not that we are all waldorfy, that stuff can get expensive! Basically we have a clothes rack for dress-up clothes, a couple dollhouses, cloth dolls (like Groovy Girls), blocks, legos, K'nex, Ello, and then a bookcase with books and puzzles.
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#8 of 16 Old 03-30-2005, 11:12 PM
 
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Maybe you need to re-organize your toy collection if they never play with their toys- maybe pass along some of the "plastic plastic plastic" they don't play with and get some more creative toys- or just "create" more space for the toys you keep.

I don't think you need a special room set up just for playing. I don't see why you can't have a "dress up station" in one of the bedrooms, an "art station" in the kitchen, a "water play station" in the bathroom or kitchen, a "library" in their room, etc. Maybe after you've remodeled and you have use of the front room, you could re-arrange things and set up more "play zones" but it's probably not necessary- nor do you need to give up your "adult space" to do it.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#9 of 16 Old 04-02-2005, 07:02 PM
 
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I have always known my children would have a playroom. Bedrooms are for sleeping.

We live in a 700 square foot 2 br apartment. Here's our set up.

Our living area is a playroom. It's important to me that ben be in view at all times. I would not consider putting the playroom in a bedroom, attic, basement, etc where he would be secluded from the rest of the house. We have a small table and chairs, a set of Yaffa Blocks and a small plastic cart that hold toys. Dolls and the art box go on top. Each shelf holds one category of toys(Dressups, blocks, emergency vehicles etc.) If there are toys that haven;t been played with in a while, I put them in a closet. Every month or 2 I sift through the toys and remove whatever isn;t seeing much use and pull out somethings he hasn;t seen in a while. we don't keep very amny toys out at one time, but there aren;t any toys that sit around taking up space.

There is a love seat, Tv, vcr, ps2 and another small seat in this room, for our use.

Next is the dining area. There is no definition in the 2 rooms. The love seat nearly touches the dining table. In one corner, we have a small toy kitchen for ben and a bucket of playfood.

The kitchen is off limits most of the time. We have a gate that we really don;t use very much anymore.

We all sleep in one bedroom. Ben's clothes go in the closet, we have a triple wide dresser with diapers and a radio on top. there are 3 small bookshelves and a cassette rack that hold all of Ben's books and all of our movies and cds. Ben's movies are in the cassette rack so that he knows which movies are ok for him to watch.
We have a full size bed and ben's "ChooChoo" toddler bed is next ours. It's a good sized room, so there is still a little room on the floor for Ben to sit and read his books.

The second bedroom is the "baby free zone". The computer desk, dh;s and my bookshelves and my sewing room are in here. Basicly everything that Ben can;t touch is in here. The rest of the house is his to wonder freely. It;s a very tight little room. There is a futon on the floor where dh's brother sleeps when he comes to stay on the weekends. When he graduates in May he will be coming to live here with us. We were hoping to buy a house by then, but that's looking exceptionally unlikely. The house will have 3 bedrooms, so one actual bedroom for bil and later he'll share it with Ben.
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#10 of 16 Old 04-11-2005, 10:44 AM
 
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We used to have a dining room. Now it's the playroom.
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#11 of 16 Old 04-27-2005, 05:55 AM
 
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Hi Melissa,
I second the notion of setting up little activity centers in the common areas of your home. I have that extra room, but honestly, unless I'm sitting right in there with them they don't play in there nearly as much as in the living room or dining area.
And thrift stores are a great place to find stuff they can be creative with - (look in the home section instead of the toy section, though!) I've found scarves, kid sized stainless steel utensils, wooden bowls, dress up hats, a small tent, etc etc. I know you're on a budget, and it's not necessary to spend lots of $$ on the expensive wooden toys.
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#12 of 16 Old 04-27-2005, 10:45 AM
 
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Melissa when I was 4/5/6 and we lived in New York we had a playroom. A big sun room. It was always a mess, that is how I remember it. One big fun sunny mess *G*

I am getting rid of a lot of the boys toys (you've seen our toy boxes & some of the useless stuff that I just haven't tossed yet) and planning a few stations as someone mentioned (we already hve the play kitchen in the kitchen, I need to reorganize the living room toys, computer area & reading area in J's room, and we're planning an art corner for K & Ls room - putting the bunk beds together for more room). We really don't have room to do a playroom here though, unless DH wanted to close off the back porch into a room.

If we had the space I would want one. It would be nice to let the boys have their rooms for sleeping & books, then somewhere else to play.

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#13 of 16 Old 04-28-2005, 12:21 AM
 
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We didn't have a seperate playroom for a long time, and now we do. I love it. They know that they can go crazy, be loud, at any time of the day in there, and at bedtime their bedroom will be relatively clean and calm and soothing, because they weren't in there making a mess all day. The thing I think is the most important to keep them interested in staying in there is keeping it tidy, and each specific activity having its own area. If it's just a bunch of stuff dumped all over the floor, they won't stay in there. They don't have the patience and forethought to go through and dig for a specific group of toys and then make a game of it. But if it's all in it's right play area, and kind of spelled out for them what to use it for, they'll play in there for hours with out any complaining. It has spread over into their bedroom a bit, but I've tried to just put more of the "older" things in there so if they want to get away from the little ones and have a little more subdued playtime, they can. Eden and Ava have both started asking for "alone time" every couple of days, where one of them will go in the "big girl room" and curl up on the bed with some books, or do an art project by theirselves.
Having a seperate playroom has really been good for our family, so much so that I am willing to sacrifice my big bedroom for it!
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#14 of 16 Old 04-29-2005, 02:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That's funny that you three posted all in a row.

Update - I've put the play kitchen in the real kitchen and they seem to enjoy it. I found some wood bowls at a garage sale that they love. I also knitted some little wash cloths and I let them use my regular cooking utensils to play with. The younger one especially enjoys this. I've also been keeping some of the more interactive books in the family room, which they love. I got about 60 lbs. of plain wooden blocks with a huge denim bag from a garage sale for $2 and we keep this in the family room as well. It's fun for them to poor it all out and try and build "daddy's work" which is in a tall building. Also, I purchased a full length mirror, coat hooks and a hanging basket which is kid level and this is in the bedroom and is the dress-up station. They love having a mirror at their height to look in. They don't play dress up so much yet but love to make faces in it. I've been rotating the toys a bit more. Next on the list is to purchase or make some kind of tent. I like the idea of making one better using scrap fabric. They would have a lot of fun with that.

Thanks all for your ideas and if you have more, keep them coming!

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#15 of 16 Old 04-29-2005, 05:14 PM
 
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What an interesting and timely thread for me. We have a small office/guest room off our living room that DH and I were considering turning into a playroom this summer sometime. But I wonder if DS will not want to play in there - he will only be about 1 1/2 by then. These days he really likes to be where we are, and I can't see us all hanging out in the little room and leaving the living room vacant.

Great ideas with the coat rack, mirrors, etc. I have wonderful ideas for a playroom, but guess we have to think more about when to do it, rather than if we should do it. One really cool idea my MIL had was to take a piece of plywood and make a sort of room divider out of it, then cut a child sized opening into it for DS to crawl through to get to his play area. Paint it fancifully, and voila - a new environment for him.

Ikea has several inexpensive child-sized tents if you have a store near you. We bought DS an igloo for about $7 recently. They also have other neat stuff for children's rooms if you can't find what you want through resale.
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#16 of 16 Old 04-30-2005, 12:39 AM
 
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I need to get more dress up items for the boys. Some career type things, maybe. Kieran likes to dress up & role play, but most of what you can find in the store is girlie and we aren't doing princess dresses - i draw the line there. I give them jasons shirts sometimes, Kieran loves that.

We are getting MORE wooden blocks from jasons grandmother. Which is great because, like I told her, that is what they play with the most. We can never have enough. I am trying to decide what to get rid of. I think I will pack it away in the garage for now instead of getting rid of it, since it is ME who is so attached. If we don't think about it for a couple of months out it goes.

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