I know I’m going to be quite biased with my opinion on this, being an interior designer, but I truly believe that a well organised, well-constructed space for children to play can really help to aid and further their development in life.
It has been well established for some time now that play helps growth. It can help them to identify concepts, navigate relationships and roles and helps them learn the basics of everything they need to know.
Playing with others is the single most important thing they can do to learn social skills and other important life skills. That’s why it is so important to have a space for them to do this learning and development.
The first step to take when designing a space for your children to learn and play is to throw out everything you think you want out of that space. Why? Because you shouldn’t restrict play to certain areas of the house. It is so tempting to try and minimise chaos and mess and just make them play in certain corners, but this restricts their freedom and they need this freedom and flexibility to encourage liberation and creativity. I recommend certain stations that organise the chaos but embrace the wildness and just use storage bins and other organisers to get the mess under control once you’re done.
Always give the opportunity for dressing up when thinking about how to create encouraging and developmental play stations. Children see a lot of grown-ups in a lot of roles and it can be hard for them to make sense of it all. Giving them the opportunity to dress as their teacher, a jockey, a nurse etc will help them to understand and explore these different roles – and can even give them direction in life!
Sensory play is another vital aspect of a child’s developmental and should 100% be something you think about when designing a play area. Have a station that has lots of sensory effects going on. A stereo for music, instruments, several textures and interesting lighting options are all necessary for a multisensory play support.
Kids grow at an alarming rate. Take it from someone who feels as though their 11-year-old was born yesterday and has grown into a little human overnight. It’s going to be hard for them to understand why all of a sudden, their arms now reach further and their legs take them further. Creating complex sizes and shapes when designing a play space will give them practice in understanding their bodies and getting a spatial awareness for their growth spurts.
Of course, there are loads more things you can do to help enhance your children’s play area to be encouraging and to aid their development and growth. The creative freedom that these tips allow for a really nice and constructive playtime. I’d also recommend getting your kids involved, finding out what it is they want out of their play area and how they want it to look and the things they want to play regularly.