Playrooms offer a great way for you to give your child an exciting and diverse surrounding to explore. As we have all heard, ‘a child’s brain is like a sponge’, meaning they quite literally soak everything up. Notable influences towards a child’s brain development come from several sources, including their surrounding environment and sensory inputs. By creating the perfect play space for them, you will be helping them to explore their environment and excite their senses. So, what exactly is the best way to utilise a playroom for your child’s development? Let’s first take a closer look at the aspects of sensory development, and then consider how this can be utilised when planning your child’s playroom…
Children’s senses and development
A child’s senses begin to develop from before they are even born and continue right through childhood. These senses include touch, taste, smell, hearing and seeing. Additional to these are what is known as ‘sensory processes’. This includes the five senses already mentioned along with proprioception, which is the positioning of the body, and vestibular input, which is the sensation of movement. By encouraging play in a diverse environment which stimulates these senses, children will be learning and developing as their brains store the information from the environment around them.
Playroom essentials to aid development
There is much play equipment available that you can use to help develop these senses. It’s what we encourage with our children as babies with the classic play mats equipped with reflective surfaces, bright colours and materials that make crunching sounds when touched. What we forget is that this process of learning doesn’t stop once your baby has grown into a child. Keeping their senses alive with the use of bright colours and various textured soft furnishings is a great place to start. This could be with artwork (including their own masterpieces of course!), rugs, bean bags and cushions. The key is to use different coloured and textured material, such as faux fur and silk cushions in a reading corner.
To further aid their development you can add larger pieces of play equipment. This might include some of the following:
- Playhouse with stairs and a slide
- Den with fairy lights
- Tunnel to crawl through
- Climbing frame to explore
- Balance paths
- Ball pool
- Soft play furnishings
Incorporating items that encourage movement, balance and coordination will all help. You can also try to encourage their imaginative and social skills with some role play items, such as a play kitchen, and a dressing up area. Seating is also of importance for any playroom, whether to read and relax, or get some creative artwork done. Once you have decided on the furniture for the playroom, try to ensure there is adequate floor space between items of furniture. By doing this you create more space for your child to play and move around.
Finishing touches and further sensory development
Finally, there are those little touches that really add some magic to any playroom. To decorate you could add an extra splash of colour with some wall decals and maybe include a personalised playroom sign for a unique finish. If your feeling especially crafty you could even create a chalkboard feature wall. By including some fairy lights or a projector you can introduce another element of magic and help your child to explore their senses even further. If you’re seeking to encourage the complimentary development of all the senses, you may even like to incorporate music and aromatherapy.
With so many diverse ways to encourage your child’s learning and development, a playroom is the perfect space to bring these all to life. With the right combination of furniture, colours, textures and lights, your child can have hours of fun whilst at the same time developing core cognitive and sensory skills.
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