A playroom for children is a place where everything should be child-sized and designed to comfort, inspire, intrigue and stimulate curiosity. Not many homes these days have enough space for a room devoted just to play, but a child’s bedroom can be designed to serve both purposes.
New Born Babies
With a new baby comes a roomful of necessary furniture and equipment. A bassinet is not required, but if you have one – it should either stand alone or sit atop a sturdy table. Make sure it can’t slide or slip. Despite all the lovely images we all have of a baby’s cozy crib with matching bumper guards, blankets and cuddly stuffed toys, the experts are saying that there should be nothing at all in the crib.
No pillows, blankets, toys, not even bumper guards – nothing that might cause a baby to have trouble breathing if they manage to worktheir way to a position where their face is covered by the item.
Cribs today also do not have the gate that slides up and down. Considered a danger to little ones, the law now requires that these cribs can no longer be sold. If you have one, you might want to consider disabling the gate, so that it can’t move up and down.
Your changing table area should have lots of storage space for extra diapers, diaper rash ointment, wet wipes, the wet wipes warmer, soft baby wash cloths and a covered trash can for dirty diapers. This way, you have everything you need at easy reach and don’t have to step away, leaving the baby unattended.
Toddlers, age 2 -4, are little explorers. According to the Consumer Reports, www.consumerreports.org/cro/toys/buying-guide.htmbabies’ play is the means by which they develop problem solving, language, social and intellectual skills. Their toys should be items that enhance this development, such as stacking toys, toys with shapes, colors and patterns, toys that make sounds when touched or pushed.
Children of this age are very curious and everything is new and fascinating to them – including things like electrical outlets and cords, window blind cords and virtually anything within their reach. To get an idea of the world as a toddler sees it, try sitting down on the floor – about toddler height – and see what is likely to attract them. That pretty table cloth on the little table with the framed photos and vase of fresh flowers is too tempting not to pull.
Little fingers and small toys might fit into those funny little holes in the wall. And what are all those long black things in the back of the lamps and the TV? Be sure to put child safe shock lock plates in unused sockets, cord shorteners to reduce the length of exposed cords and cool-touch night lights – not only in the child’s room, but throughout the house.
Plastic corner guards on tables will help prevent bumped headinjuries. A soft thick rug secured to the floor with non slip tape will help make falling down less painful.
By the time a child reaches age 4 or 5, they have moved from the crib to a youth bed, or a twin size bed – and often no longer need the bed rail. By now, their room is their world, and can be decorated with their favorite theme: space, dinosaurs, cowboys, princesses, sea creatures, ladybugs, etc., or a Yo Gabba Gabba party theme, with Muno, Foofa, Brobee, Toodee and Plex from the Yo Gabba Gabba TV series on NicJr.
Each goofy monster character is a specific color, and these colors can be used in pillows, rugs and other accessories to tie in the theme. Felt cut outs of the characters’ faces can be glued to the front of the storage bins in the shelves. There are Yo Gabba Gabba design items available, such as a clock and a light switch plate.
Storage is key, and should be low for the child’s easy access. Low shelves with bins for their small toys, art supplies, etc. also make it easier for the child to put his toys, crayons and coloring books away. Toy chests should have safety lids that prevent a child’s head from becoming stuck as they reach in, and any locks should be removed or disabled.
Under-the-bed storage containers are available at Walmart and Target for out-of season items, etc. Never store heavy items up high where they might tip over and fall. Heavy furniture such as book cases, armoires, etc. should be bolted to the wall, to prevent tipping over onto the child if they try to climb it – and they probably will.
Lamps and light fixtures should be sturdy and safe, resistant to breakage if hit or knocked over by a ball or toy. For rooms with little or no natural light, such as a basement room, natural light bulbs will simulate sunlight.
Chairs for Children
Children love child sized furniture, and child sized chairs, sofas and tables are safer than adult sized, should a child fall from them. There are many designs to choose from, but for ease in cleaning, keep in mind that wooden chairs wipe down more easily than upholstered ones. Make sure to keep all furniture away from windows, and keep windows securely latched. If your windows have blinds, use the ones with the wand, not cords.
This room should be your child’s refuge, a safe place to play that contains only his or her toys, books and games. Adult items, such as hobby and craft supplies, exercise equipment, tools and anything else a child can get hurt by have no place here.
About the author: Kathleen August has been a freelance writer for almost 20 years in her native Southern California. Now a new grandmother living in Virginia, she enjoys writing about frugal tips for the home, frugal interior design tips, cooking. There are some fun theme party ideas for children’s birthday parties if you click here where you’ll see tips for projects to help strengthen family ties.