Inside Play Space

Do you have an alternative play area to keep your children entertained and engaged during inclement weather?

If you have a playroom or basement, finding space is relatively easy. If not, consider limited-use spaces such as a formal dining room or a corner of the family room. Once you select your spot, take some steps to make the space colorful and intriguing.

Add a bright carpet remnant or inexpensive throw rug over the current floor to protect it and define the play area clearly. If you have a child’s play table, add that in on one side. If not, an old coffee table surrounded by floor cushions will work. Other elements such as a low bookshelf, child’s tent or storage bins will help make the space special and separate.

Once the play space has been created, make it an island of interest. Have a jar of ideas for activities – letting them pick one every day. Change out games, books and toys so every day the space seems different.

Use it as a reward for completing homework or chores. Allow children to use the space for a defined period of every day. Surprise them with activities and instructions, with the opportunity to report back to you. For example, one day they may find every type of measuring tool from rulers to measuring cups. Give each child an assignment to measure some combination of things and list them on a piece of paper. Or you could have them brainstorm the different things each tool could be used to measure.

Turn the next few months into an exciting time to help keep your children away from too much television during the cold days of this season. When the weather warms, you can dismantle the space until next winter, or keep it intact for rainy day play.