If You Organize It, They Will Play

 

I have a playroom for my kids that looks beautiful when everything is in its place, but is a visual nightmare once they have been playing for 5 minutes. So I set about making modifications to create inspired play spaces to encourage a little tidiness and a lot of fun.

Successfully organized play spaces, whether an entire room or a corner behind the sofa, share 3 common traits:

  1. Make it visible – Being able to see what they have not only helps your kids find their toys but also lets them know where to put them away. That’s a win-win mamas! Use bins you can see through or labels with words AND pictures and group like things together to get the job done.
  2. Make it accessible – Get down to your kids level {in height, not emotions} and place things so they are easily accessed. Storage will inevitably go vertical, but pay attention to where you place particular items. Put the toys they play with the most at the bottom and work your way up. Items like games can probably go higher since they will most likely be playing them with you.
  3. Make it fun – Pay attention to their imaginative play and create spaces to foster that imagination.  Do they love dolls?  Make a little nursery.  Tools?  Add a pegboard and workbench.  If they have to drag everything out and set it up they will be less likely to put it away.  So if you’ve got the space, use it!

Here’s how I changed up our playroom to make it more visible, accessible and fun!

 

 

I created some fun labels with graphics for the kitchen area using PrintStix Self-Adhesive/Removable/Restickable labels printed on my inkjet printer. They turned out great and I love that I can remove them later if I need to use the bins for something else.

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Creating “zones” is a great way to keep things tidy, like the kitchen and baby center. All of the toys that go along with those themes are grouped together in one spot making it a breeze to find toys and keep it contained. It also mimics reality, which kids love!

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I love storage from IKEA, like these KALLAX shelf units on the floor. The shelves are at the perfect height for my kids to play with the toys right where they are at, or low enough so that they can safely get the toys down to the floor on their own. Added bonus, the DRONA boxes underneath hold all of the toys that go with those big items on top {how did we get so many?!?!). Eliminate hunting for things by storing like items together, like I did with all of the balls shown above. Another IKEA find is the TROFAST wall storage. It is still hung low enough for my kids to reach and is great for grouping little items together, like Barbie clothes and accessories or Legos.

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I made an awesome Pinterest-inspired play market for my kids a few years ago with a couple shelves, PVC pipe and fabric…and then they never played with it. I loved playing that kind of thing as a kid! But this wasn’t about me, it’s about the kids and what inspires them. So I watched what they DID play with and it was overwhelmingly animals. With their input, I turned the market into a pet day camp, like one of their favorite show’s – The Littlest Pet Shop.  They LOVE it!! I found wire baskets for animal crates and attached mini chalkboard signs to write each animal’s name on.  Added a tree wall sticker and hung up their birdcage as if it were in the tree and threw in a few leashes {after making sure they understood leashes were for pets ONLY}.

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There has been a noticeable change in my house since we did this makeover. Not only are things put away, but my kids have been playing….A LOT.

Play is incredibly important for children. Childhood is so short, yet it influences the rest of your life. That’s huge! Make those early years magical, inspiring and most of all FUN.  Let you kids grow up believing dreams are possible, limited only by their imagination. I can’t wait to see what the future brings, but for now, we play.

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