It’s no secret that we LOVE to PLAY!!! At least as much as the kids do…sometimes more! And one of my favorite ways to play is with home design!
I also love Montessori principled homes. It’s such a mind-blowingly magnificent base, and super-easy to work into kid play spaces. The basic tenet is that everything has its place, all set at ‘kid-level’ so that they can manage their own play (and clean-up) independently. And S, especially, has focused on stocking her playroom with open-ended, multi-use, toys, so I doubled-down and also created a space with plenty of open-ended, multi-use materials, as well.
This room wasn’t so much a challenge as it was an opportunity for fun! S said, “A, our playroom lacks soul. It’s a great space with great light and great stuff in it, it’s mostly organized, but it’s just not…I don’t know…fun, warm, cozy enough??? And we need an active space where these city kids can get their energy out.”
So we added some warm, comfy, cozy elements, as well as lots and lots of active ways to have fun!
An Active City Kids’ Playroom: Swings, Climbing Walls, Hanging Bars…& Plenty of Organization
We live in a city. And our kids aren’t yet old enough to take a basketball to the park or to go to the playground by themselves. So we created a space that gives them plenty of ways to work their physical energy out: climb the rocks, swing from the bars (or swings), climb the rope, or fly onto the sofa and stools!!!
The kids drape fabric from the bars to make forts, they have contests and races up the rock wall, and they design Parkour ‘courses’. They encourage one another and teach each other ‘tricks,’ and they feel secure trying all sorts of new things because they’re landing on a soft, thick, extra-padded carpet or sofa.
The Benefits Of Barn Doors & Mirrors
The room also had two not-so-pretty hinged-doors that were just obstacles. We replaced those two doors with barn door sliders to maximize space and painted them a fun color! We also added a full length mirror on the wall between them. The kids have fun seeing themselves playing on the jungle gym, and they love checking themselves out in the mirror in dress-up clothes. The effect of opening and closing the sliders for the kids is basically creating a theatrical stage. The mirror and sliders also help the room feel bigger and maximize the light.
Add Seating For The Practical Things
The sofa is a comfy space to cuddle for movies (and to play video games), but it’s actually a futon, so flattens to a bed for extra sleepover space. It’s also a great landing pad for kids who fly off or drop from the indoor jungle gym!
The stools can be used as launch pads (drag ’em over to the bars), or reconfigured for all different kinds of seating arrangements. Or, ya know, used as stools.
We also went with a small table and chairs as an alternative to a desk. It’s more collaborative, less serious, and more fun…while still providing a calm, dedicated space for R to retreat and work through the craziness of 4th grade homework! This style of setup is also excellent for chess and board game playing…or even playing with LEGOS.
Shelving & Crates For Self-Organization (Montessori-Style)
The room includes a ‘retired’ chimney. We needed to work around that, and used the space to add some built-in, reclaimed wood and white shelves for additional storage.
We used wood crates to store light, bulky pieces like stuffed animals and fort-building blankets, and translucent stacking bins for toys with many pieces. Translucent bins make it super-easy for kids to play and restore order.
Who cares if the kids put things back in exactly the right bin? The idea is: return all like items to a bin. Blocks here, Magna-Tiles here, LEGOs here, people in this one, vehicles in this one, dress-up clothes in this one. Voilà! Room restored to peace!
If nothing else, we hope this room inspires you to say YES to FUN and PLAY!!! Go big! Make good use of every inch and then enjoy every bit of it!
For more fun ideas for kids, check out our kid articles.