Designing a playroom that empowers your kids

Child sketching in educational playroom

A successful playroom for children not only keeps clutter in check, but provides a space that empowers kids to learn and imagine. I think we can all agree that we learn the most from multi-sensory experiences -- within environments that encourage us to see, smell, listen, touch.

Indeed, a deliberate environment not only allows children to direct their own play, but to put the toys back on their own—a definite plus for parents.

Here's how to create an empowering space for your own kids.

#1—Create Open Bin Stations

Strike the balance between having a place for everything and keeping it easily accessible. Organize toys into categorized bins—trains, blocks, dolls, crayons. While dumping two bins out together can create new play, each item has its understood home space. Go a step further and collect the art materials into canisters and bins in one section, the books and pillows of a reading corner into another.

Home storage ideas for kids

#2—Cut the Clutter

More is just more. Having too many toys can detach children from appreciating and caring for individual items, argues Simplicity Parenting author Kim John Payne, MD. When the kids are gone, take out and assess all of their toys, and give away extras, as well as meaningless or broken ones. Rather than accumulate toys that only have one purpose, try to collect materials that expand with children—blocks, colors, magnets.

Creative playroom design for children

#3—Think Outside the [Toy] Box

If space is limited, remember that children have simple needs and are wired to explore. Even a few organized bins under a bed and a rug to dump them can spark imagination. Self-initiated play in "educationally sound" playrooms encourages a child to find the new, and to explore.

For more information about toys backed by Montessori educational philosophy and other resources, visit the store KidO by Lisa Maher, whose son is pictured above.

Margaret Everton is a freelance writer for CalFinder, the homeowner's source for all things remodeling.

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