Playtime is fun, but it also has a much deeper importance for a child's development. A collaborative research project between a group of scholarly organisations, including Columbia University, Cornell University Medical College and Yale University, found that how ready children feel for school largely depends on the parent-child relationships forged within home-learning environments.
"Increases in a parent's understanding of play and ability to facilitate a child's learning predicted several positive behavioural outcomes in the classroom including increased independence and creativity/curiosity," wrote the scholars involved in the study.
Designing or decorating a playroom is a great way to offer a space that not only lets kids be kids and have some fun playtime, but also helps them learn and grow. These interior design ideas should help you tick off both boxes.
Think of the walls as the pages of an illustrated childrens book, something to enjoy looking at and always finding a new detail to admire. A good way to achieve this is by installing a richly colourful and detailed wall mural.
Kid-friendly ones include the Belly Button Bears and the Farmyard Fun murals. Both of these are great for storytelling, letting your kids imagination run wild as they name the different characters and develop narratives for each of them. The famous nursery rhyme 'Old MacDonald had a farm' can happily be sung while playing in front of the farmyard mural, complete with you and the kids calling out the different voices of the animals as you point to them on the wall!
Carpet the floors if possible, or pile on a bunch of textured, fluffy rugs to invite the kids to lay on the ground, curled up with a book or video game. A nice tip to make the playroom seem wider is by laying down a mat with long horizontal stripes. Toss some cosy bean bags around so when friends come over for play dates there is plenty of seating for all the little ones.
In a playroom, the only need for furniture is if you want to add an art station for the kids to do crafts or colour, and for storage. Oh, yes, the storage. Nobody wants to have to tidy up a messy playroom each and every day, so make tidying up a game for the kids with colourful, friendly cupboards.
Colour coordinate the shelves and drawers by painting them with a range of bright shades such as Resene Adrenalin or Resene Bright Lights. Allocate specific storage areas for different items, such as all crayons and art supplies should go into the red drawer, or that all toys must go in the blue shelf. If you want to spell things out so the kids never forget what goes where, paint a rectangular section onto the cabinets using Resene Blackboard Paint and use chalk to write what should be stored inside.
Learning through play
While we may miss the days when physical books were some of our best friends growing up, these days technology is all the rage and kids are using tablets, laptops and iPads for reading. Bring them the best of both worlds by keeping a bookshelf with some classic fairytales proudly on display, as well as keeping a small fold-away table for putting the digital devices onto nearby. Win-win.
Finally, provide a mystical, magical area for the kids to come up with their own imaginary adventures. Nail two hooks onto the corner walls and hang shimmery curtains across to create a triangular corner space that's their hideaway from the rest of the playroom. They can 'close' themselves inside by drawing the curtains and have a field day inside. Instead of curtains, you could also get the same look by building a fort. Who knows, you might crawl in there yourself – forts are for the young and the young at heart, after all!