Dr. Toy on Practical Play Space Pointers
Have you ever looked at your childís play area and wondered if aliens have landed? Things may be scattered every which way, dropped as if it fell from a spaceship. I know it's challenging and difficult to be a parent sometimes. You want to buy new holiday gifts, but where will you put them? There seems to be no space left.
First, take an inventory of your childís play area. Try these storage ideas: boxes for large and small items, a hammock for stuffed animals and dolls, bags for soft toys. A small tent can hide a lot. Shelves can be very helpful if they are easily accessible. Use different-sized boxes for organizing. Orange crates and stacking units work well for books, tapes, and games. Simple containers and clean coffee cans with lids hold small items. Plastic tubs and containers are safe, sturdy, and great for puzzle pieces, art supplies, and miniatures.
You and your child can decorate containers. Use color codes and labels to help your child easily find the best place to put things. Maria Montessori believed that children should participate in putting things away. This is a helpful skill. Start by scanning the play space. Work together to create the best storage plan. Your child needs time and encouragement to learn to put things away. Taking things out is easy, but putting them back can be a challenge. Make this important task a natural part of play.
Recycle your childís playthings. They play with only one item at a time, and too much stuff is overwhelming. Pack the surplus in cartons and bring selected things out again in a few months. The child will think itís all new, and play experiences will be refreshed. Remember: your child is learning habits every day that last a lifetime. Take the time to create a practical, easy-to-use, and fun play space.