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The Ultimate Guide to Design a Fun, Functional Kids Playroom at Home

By Andrea Lozoya

Playing is more than just a way to have fun; it’s also an essential part of healthy childhood development. As parents, you can adapt any space at home and design a playroom where your kids can explore, get creative, and learn. When designing a playroom, it’s crucial to think about it from a kid’s perspective. Our guide shows you how to create a fun and functional kids playroom that your children will love for many years to come.

Brainstorming with Your Children

While you’ll have most of the say about the design of the playroom (after all, this is your home), it’s important to let your children provide some input before you set up their new playroom. Ask them about their favorite subjects in school and what type of things they’d like to have in the room. From furniture and toys to kids’ entertainment, sit down and write out a list of all the most important things to your child. When you brainstorm together, you’ll ensure that the final result is something you and your kids will both enjoy and appreciate. Make sure you design a space that’s “evergreen” and one that will grow and adapt as your child gets older. This is the best way to make the most of the playroom and keep it functional and useful over the years as they develop and mature.

Pick a Theme

Choosing a theme for your new playroom can make it fun and exciting, but keep in mind that certain themes might not be appealing to your child in a year or two. Try to stick with themes centered around their favorite activities rather than characters from movies or TV shows. Here are some tips to help you develop the perfect theme for your child’s playroom:

Theater / Dance

Add a small stage to the room where your children can practice their acting and dancing skills. Stock the room with various costumes so the kids can play dress-up and do a little bit of theater right at home. If your child likes to dance, install a large mirror on one wall of the room. Bring in a stereo system or a record player so they can enjoy their favorite plays and dance to music.

Music

Fill the playroom with various instruments like a small drum set, a keyboard, and a tambourine. Stock your child’s playroom with sheet music if they’re skilled at playing the piano or other instruments, so they always have something new to learn. Display some music-themed décor in the room like oversized music notes, framed sheet music, or artwork of images like people or animals singing and playing instruments. 

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Art

Set up a roomy, sturdy craft table where your child can paint, draw, and work on a variety of arts and crafts projects. Stock the playroom with watercolor and finger paints, an easel, paint brushes, scissors, glue, and construction paper. Find a place where your kids can display their art, such as a large bulletin board or a magnetic board for easy hanging.

Sports

Decorate the room with items that display your child’s favorite sports like a framed picture of a baseball field, a hockey stick hung on the wall, or a picture of their favorite player. If you’re feeling brave, install a ceiling-mounted cargo climbing net so your child can play and let off some steam indoors. Bring in some books about sports so your child can read about their favorite games and expand their mind whenever they’re not on the playing field.

Game Room

From cards to board games, you can easily make your child’s playroom a fun game room by stocking it with a variety of games geared for their age group. Paint a tabletop in a checkerboard design so the kids can play a game of checkers or chess anytime they want. If you have space (and the budget), bring in a large game like a foosball table or ping pong table to serve as the room’s focal point. 

Furniture

Once you’ve chosen a theme, it’s time to pick out some furniture for your kid’s playroom. Here are a few tips to help you get started and ensure that this room is functional and fun to use:

Stick with neutral furniture that’s not too loud or colorful. The more neutral the furniture is, the better the odds are that your child will grow with it instead of out of it. 

Choose furniture that’s durable and easy to clean and aim for multifunctional furniture that includes storage like an ottoman or storage bench.

It’s important to ensure that the entire family feels welcome in this room. While kid’s furniture is excellent for little ones, consider bringing in a full-size couch and table so your older children and the adults will feel comfortable in this space, too.

To add a pop of color, bring in some rugs, curtains, and décor to fill the room with bright and cheerful hues. Leave the wall color neutral so it’s easy to adapt the room as your child grows.

Make sure that this space has flooring that’s easy to clean and maintain. Linoleum and vinyl are both good options, and they don’t require a lot of maintenance to keep them looking new. Protect the floors (and your child’s knees and elbows) with some soft, machine-washable area rugs. 

Storage Space

Your child must have fun in their playroom, but it’s also important that this part of your home stays clean and organized. With the right storage, you can keep everything neat, tidy, and in its place.

Use Mason jars with a lid to store and organize small craft items like buttons, beads, and spools of thread. Cubbies are perfect for larger toys and games, and you can easily put them on a shelf or stash them under furniture. Baskets and storage bins work well as a catch-all to toss stuffed animals and other toys in one place. Add a storage bench or ottoman, so the kids have a place to hide their shoes, board games, and other medium-sized items. Make sure your playroom has at least one bookshelf for reading material, sheet music, or art supplies.

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

Set up Different Zones

To make the most of your playroom, break it up into different zones. Each zone can be designated for a variety of activities your child enjoys. Put a small desk in one corner of the room for homework, and place shelving with art supplies and a craft table on the opposite side. Keep kid’s toys, games, and accessories in constant rotation so that there’s always something new for them to enjoy. As your child begins to outgrow certain items, donate them to a local nonprofit organization or your school. Make sure there is one part of the playroom designated for home use, such as a spot for a comfy sofa and TV set.

Get Creative

There are many fantastic add-ons you can bring into the playroom to make it more functional and fun to use. Here are some inspirational ideas to help you get started:

Add a swing. Hang a swing from the ceiling of the playroom so your child can swing as they listen to music or watch television. Make sure the swing is anchored securely and that you’re always nearby whenever they use it.

Add a nap station. Naptime is particularly important for younger children, so create a “nap zone” with a comfy mat, cot, or sleeping bag along with a blanket and some pillows so they can take a snooze after playtime.

Create a dress-up corner. Use a rack to hang costumes and accessories in the playroom and add a freestanding mirror in the corner of the room so your kids can have fun playing dress-up.

Add a slide. Bring a sturdy, small slide into the playroom for your younger children. If you really want to go all out, install a tube-style slide that will whisk your child from one floor to the next for a great entrance.

Create a chalkboard wall. Paint one wall with black chalkboard paint so your child can sketch and doodle to their heart’s content. If you’re not keen on painting a wall this way, bring in a large freestanding chalkboard and place it against one wall.

Make a slime station. Playing with slime is lots of fun, but it’s also messy. Make a special “slime station” with all of the supplies so your child can have some slimy fun, and then put everything away when they’re done. 

You don’t have to spend a fortune to design a fun, functional kid’s playroom. There are plenty of ways to DIY and get creative by using items you already have lying around your home. The key is to make sure that you’re having fun while you plan and decorate the playroom. Use these kid’s playroom ideas as inspiration to help you create the perfect space. When it’s finished, everyone will want to come over and play at your house.

This article was originally published at Porch.com

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Guest Post: 10 Fun Ways to Celebrate Kids’ Birthdays at Home

Celebrating a birthday at home can be a dream come true or a major let down. For most kids, an at-home birthday may seem boring, but with the right themes, decorations, and activities planned, you can create an at-home birthday experience your child will love and cherish for years to come! 

  1. Start the Parade!

If you’re stuck at home for your child’s birthday party, raising a rally and getting friends and neighbors involved will make your child feel special and really show just how much they are loved.  

  1. Crafting

If your child leans toward the artistic side of things, a craft party is a great way to let their creativity flow and get the fun going! Try making custom frames with their names on them, or provide decorations of their favorite show or animal. 

  1. Book/Journal Exchange

This is a great idea for kids with a love for reading! Your little bookworm will love a journal or book to read. Plus, it’s easy to get other kids involved! Have friends write short stories or do drawings that they want to share, so your child will always have something to remember this special birthday party by. 

  1. Scavenger Hunt

For the adventurer! A scavenger hunt is a fun, easy, and creative way to get the kids involved and working together. Whether it’s in your house or outside, a scavenger hunt is the perfect way to celebrate a birthday at home. The kids will entertain themselves, and you’ll have time to relax…but it’s more likely that you’ll have time to clean up after cake! 

  1. Camping in the Backyard

When nature calls, you answer! A backyard camping trip is a cheap and safer alternative to going into the woods for camping. A small backyard tent, a bonfire, and some s’mores are all you need to make this birthday a hit with your child! 

  1. Video Game Party

If your kid is hooked to the TV and loves gaming, give them exactly what they want–but just for today! A video game party is something kids can lose themselves in and do for hours. Plus, you may even have the opportunity to show them some classics like Super Mario Smash Bros and Sonic. 

  1. Bake Off

On your mark, get set, bake! Whether your child is ready for a real oven or still on the easy-bake, a bake-off is great for the baker at heart. All you need is some cake mix, frosting, and sprinkles. The kids will be able to go for hours and show off their skills all while learning something new! Plus, you won’t have to worry about dessert…well, maybe have some backups just in case. 

  1. Building Party

This one may be better suited for the older kids, but a building-themed celebration will give you and your child an experience you can enjoy together. Building a custom chair or even a simple table is a bonding experience you both will cherish, all while helping you and your child learn something new. 

  1. Spa Night

Sit back and relax! A spa night is an ideal way to spend a birthday, right? Even for kids, relaxation is a crucial part of the day. This is an easy and fun way to celebrate any child’s birthday and will leave them feeling like a pampered princess or prince. All you need is some nail polish, lotion, and cucumbers to turn your home into a place of rest and relaxation. 

  1. Fashion Show

Strike a pose! This is for the fashionista in your life. Set a runway, get some lights, and don’t be afraid to accessorize! Boas, gloves, tiaras, sunglasses, and jewelry are just some of the things you can get to help your child be the style icon you know they are! 

Don’t let your home limit you–a birthday is special no matter where you celebrate it. Just remember that a birthday party is supposed to be fun and the gifts aren’t nearly as important as the memories. 

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Social Media and your children’s photos

Do you put photos of your child on social media?

Photo by Tracy Le Blanc from Pexels

Someone close to me said they were not going to put photos of their newborn child on social media, for safety. But this isn’t what happened. Photos of child are on social media all the time, as are photos of mine.

There are disturbing stories about children’s photos being shared without permission, sold or used for profit, and being collected by those who would do them harm. Yet more and more parents are sharing photos of their children on their personal and public social media.

There are concerns for the child’s privacy and right to consent. Concerns about the focus on image for children’s self esteem, and for the way these photos can be shared, and who owns them.

But there is a desire to connect with other parents, with friends and family who may not see the children any other way. And there is a normalising of the personal being made public. This normalisation may not be a problem for those raised and becoming adults in that climate as much as it seem to those from a more private period in history. But we also cannot know what the children growing up on camera now will think when they are the grown ups.

Photo by samer daboul from Pexels

So what can we do?

How do we balance sharing photos and maintaining privacy? How to we make use of social media to connect with others through our children’s stories while still protecting our loved ones from being exposed in dangerous ways?

Personally I have a few ways I try to contain my children’s images on the internet.

No nude photos. Ever. Same goes for anything I’d consider “private.” That means no sharing photos on the toilet, even though I have some really funny ones with a toddler and their gumboots. If my children choose to share naked photos of themselves that should be their business.

The vast majority of photos of my children are shared in private invite only groups, open only to my family and real life friends. Some photos are shared to my wider online friend community and a minimal amount are shared to my public social media. Sharing photos is mostly, for me, a modern way of sharing a slide show with friends or passing around snaps at a family gathering.

Photo by Jessica Lewis from Pexels

This mentality keeps my children’s images on the free internet to a minimum. And the photos that are there show them always fully clothed and are not embarrassing or private.

Do you put photos of your child on social media?

If you do, have you have any rules for yourself?

If you don’t, how do you share photos with those who wish to see them?

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How many presents ?

How many presents do you buy for your kids at Christmas?

In my family, amongst my friends, between the parents I speak to online, there are very different approaches to Christmas presents. Some people buy a lot, some buy little. Some place a lot of emphasis on Santa’s gifts, some less, some not at all. Everyone wants their kids to have an amazing Christmas experience, and all the kids get exactly that! But which approach to gift giving is best? Which suits you and your family?

  • How much to spend?
  • How many gifts to give?
  • More presents or bigger presents?
  • Who gets the credit, parents or Santa?
  • How to make sure the kids appreciate their gifts?

How much to spend?

How long is a piece of string? This really is a circular question. Family finances are so different that measuring your spend against another can never be helpful. Different incomes, different budgets, different priorities make this an impossible comparison and one that can only make you feel bad. Bad you aren’t spending enough or bad you’ve spent too much. Or you feel smug you’ve done just the right thing and then you should feel bad for feeling smug.

The main thing is to spend what you can afford only. Going into debt or having to cut back too much to afford a lot of presents isn’t going to pay dividends. Your kids may love those toys but soon they’ll want to go on fun outings you can’t afford or need new shoes you can’t buy and the toys won’t make up for it.

How many gifts to give?

This is where you can save money when you have little ones. They won’t know how much things cost so if you want to give a lot, go for lots of cheap gifts rather than one or two expensive ones. If you have more than one child make sure they have the same number as they’ll probably compare. Even if you spent more on one child they are more likely to see the fairness in how many gifts they can count. But giving too many gifts can make the opening become a factory line and the shine of getting a gift can be rubbed away. Too many presents and you run the risk of an ungrateful child who keeps expecting more and more. Plus there’s only so much they can focus on and some of the toys are likely to gather dust, at least for a while. Where’s the sweet spot? That’s up to you, of course, but just remember not to compare to the other parents! There’s always someone giving a number wildly different to you and making you second guess your decision.

Bigger is better?

There are some big items that are often given as Christmas gifts. I mean large! Like cubby houses, trampolines, swing sets, play kitchens, bikes….. This big presents often come with a price tag to match and can be an excellent option for a group gift, to all the kids/all the family (maybe not the bike!)

Large toys can be impressive and give a lot of bang for their buck as they aren’t always matched by their price. Young children, just as they will see a lot of toys as a big haul, are likely to see Big toys as impressive. A large cheap toy might create more excitement than an expensive small one. But the long term value is worth considering, if the cheap toy becomes just more for the toy box and eventually landfill. Small toys can be used to fill a stocking. Little hands reaching in again and again to reveal yet more tiny wonders might create more joy. How big is your home? I know I think hard about just where I will keep each item once it’s a part of our lives and homes before I buy it. If you can’t think of an obvious place to keep it, maybe it’s something best to avoid!

Who gave the best gift, you or Santa?

This one really gets the mums groups to disagree. On the one side is the argument that Santa is magical and special and kids should believe the best comes from that magical place while they still can. On the other hand is the position that parents put in all the hard work so they should get the credit and appreciation they deserve. Also to take into consideration is that the biggest and best present means very different things to different families. Some have hardly anything or nothing to spend on Christmas and some have limitless funds and means. If Santa is attributed with the most extravagant present, yet this varies from one child to the next, will the children see this and feel like Santa has been unfair or doesn’t care as much for some children? This a very personal question and your family dynamics and the personality of your child will sway the decision. How likely are your kids to discuss their gifts with other children? Some countries have school close to Christmas and some do not, does this affect the likelihood of comparison discussions? Do your children appreciate you usually or do you feel they need to see how you work hard to get them the things they have? Is the magic of Santa especially important to you and to them?

How much will they appreciate their presents?

We all want to give our kids what they want, but we try to give them what they need as well. And maybe sometimes they need to appreciate what they’ve been given a bit more? I know my toddler can begin to expect gifts around present giving time. For a month after his birthday he would come home from daycare asking, “Have you got a present for me?” There were even tears sometimes when the answer was no. I think the toddler may be old enough to begin learning about giving his toys to those who haven’t as many. This year I’d like to have him pick something new to give to a children’s Christmas gift program and also to agree to pass on some of his own toys. Getting him involved in choosing and wrapping gifts for other family members also makes sure he understands that presents are a two way street and to help him grow his own joy in giving.

How do you and your family approach presents for your kids?

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Teeth Grinding: Is that normal?

Welcome to the first post in the new series, “Should I be worried?” – your go-to-place for a quick reference about a variety of common infant and toddler behaviours and ailments.

As many as a third of young children will grind and click their teeth. The habit can emerge as young as 8 months, around the time the front teeth come in. The sound of your child grinding her teeth will most likely set your own on edge. It’s surprisingly loud, disconcertingly abrasive, and can have you asking, “Is this normal?”

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

Should I be worried about my baby or toddler’s teeth grinding?

No, there’s no need to worry. Not only is this a common practise in young children, it’s also a harmless one. Teething grinding, or Bruxism as it’s technically called, will not ruin your baby’s teeth. 

Though some slight wearing of the teeth can occur, it won’t be enough to seriously damage them, and certainly not enough to cause pain. Baby teeth have fewer developed nerves and less fully developed roots, and so are not as sensitive as adult teeth. Your baby can probably only feel a rubbing sensation from the action. 

Why do children grind their teeth?

There are several reasons your child may be grinding her teeth. The habit usually begins with teething, so it may be that the rubbing helps alleviate pain and discomfort. The sound and sensation can also be soothing to your child. Similar to head banging or rocking, children find a rhythmic motion, feeling, or sound comforting when they are anxious or tired; self soothing is valuable skill and not a sign your child is unhappy.

Most likely, however, the grinding is a natural and healthy learning process that goes hand in hand with new teeth. Your child is exploring her mouth and teeth and discovering what they do, how they feel, and what noises they can make. Even though the sound is horrible to you, it is interesting to your child.

Should I do anything about it?

This, too, shall pass. Your child will likely grow bored of grinding her teeth during the day and grow out of grinding them at night. The habit is best ignored or discouraged with distraction.

If your child is still grinding her teeth regularly after all her baby teeth have come in, this may be the time to see a dentist and check for excessive wear. Even then, it is unlikely that your child’s grinding is a problem and probable that she will grow out of the behaviour by the time she is about 6 years old.

Does your child grind their teeth?

What have you done about it?

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