If you are lucky enough to have some extra space in your home to dedicate to a play area for your child, we have some suggestions for you on how to make it great! The early years of a child’s life include a significant amount of brain development, so you want to make sure they are using their imaginations and have an enjoyable environment to develop their talents. Making sure they have a safe place to do this is essential. Here is how to get started:
You Must Be This Tall to Play
No matter the size of the room, there is something you can do to improve it for your child’s use. The most important thing to think about when the child enters the room is ease of use. Smaller chairs and tables, as well as fun colors and decor, will help set the stage and let them know that this is a space made for fun. Keep shelves lower and storage easily accessible, so whatever they take out can also be placed back there by them. This teaches them their first chores and responsibilities while simultaneously helping you out with clean up!
Let Creativity Flow
If your child has a particular hobby or interest, be sure to supply them with what they need to develop it. Whether it is art, photography, or books, be sure to create a little area for them to spend time creating and reading about new things. Provide books, a desk area, and arts and crafts supplies so they can let their imaginations run wild. Use a wall for displaying their work and create a safe spot for them to pause their progress until the next day. Knowing when to clean up items and leave them alone will not only show your child that you trust them, but it will let them know that you respect their space as well.
Sharing Is Caring
Finally, keep in mind that although they may spend a lot of time using this area as their own personal space, there are going to be times when they are going to want to share in it with others. This may include you, other family members, or friends. Be sure there is sufficient space not only for your child to play independently but for them to share the space and play well with others.
Have you created a play space before in your home? What do you feel are crucial elements of it? Let us know below in the comment section.
Pumpkin carving provides great Halloween memories for children and parents alike. Today’s pumpkin carving tools – available in most grocery and dollar stores – make the process even easier and more fun.
Here are a few pumpkin-carving tips when working with children.
Stay age-appropriate. For very little ones, have them draw the face on the pumpkin for an adult to carve. Or you may not even carve the pumpkin at all – instead use a set of colored sharpies to let children draw jack-o-lantern faces. This is particularly fun for them with the little desk-sized pumpkins.
Share the fun. If possible, let every child have his or her own pumpkin. If that gets too expensive, have one child decide on the eyes, another the nose or mouth, etc. so that everyone has a part in the final product.
Stay safe. Keep sharp knives away from children. Instead of lighting a candle for inside the pumpkin, pick up an LED votive candle for flameless light.
The photo on the right shows another fun craft for Halloween. Cut heavy paper into strips – with decorative scissors if you have them although plain strips will also work. Create a pumpkin shape and staple or glue in place. Top with green paper leaves and some curly ribbon.
Black construction paper can be cut into bat and cat shapes for walls and windows. Bend the bats so they look like they might fly away before tacking to a wall or door.
One other simple craft approach – using leaves – is easy to create but can provide intriguing and dramatic results as you can see in the photo to the left. Cut out scary faces with scissors when leaves are fresh and then let dry in a book to keep them flat. You can tape the final results to your windows to make your home look extra spooky and interesting this Halloween.
Halloween is a great time to get the family together to make decorations for your home during the season. Explore Pinterest and the Internet for other fun ideas for crafts that will help you make Halloween extra special.
Artistic efforts by children have been shown to improve their reading and math skills as well as their scores on achievement tests later in life such as SAT’s and ACT’s. Unfortunately, limited budgets have trimmed art budgets for many school-age children, but you have a chance to create opportunities for art in your home.
A dining room can become a temporary art studio with the right supplies. If you’re concerned about spills, stick to crayons or colored pencils like the family in the photo above. Some colored pencils have watercolor capability – dip them in water to create art that’s more like painting but with less chance for a mess.
If your dining room table may be damaged by your art plans, invest in an inexpensive vinyl tablecloth or head to your nearest fabric store for a length of oilcloth to cover the table. Either can be cleaned easily with a sponge.
For younger children, look for a corner of the family room or dinette with enough space to set a child’s table and chairs. Set up a shelf nearby with a collection of paper and art supplies. This proportional work space can invite children to bring art into their everyday lives.
To encourage your children to experiment with art, have a place for hanging their finished work. The most common option is the refrigerator, but you may want to hang a cork board as a changing display of current projects. Another option is demonstrated by the photo above. A simple line hung along a hall or family room with clips to hold the pictures allows you to showcase the family art.
Providing an opportunity to experience art in your home can help your child develop, but it is also a great way to get the whole family involved in a fun activity.