A Place to Explore: The Playroom

"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches."--Proverbs 24:4 If you've got kids underfoot in your house, you know that keeping it clean is a big challenge. Unless they are sleeping, our home is generally littered with stuff all over the floor. Lately, our boys are into Legos--the kind with all the little pieces. Within minutes, our playroom can look like a mine field. We have just learned to dance our way through the living room so those little pointy pieces don't jab us in the foot.

All ranting aside though, I have to say that I would rather have a messy house. Why? Because it means that there is life going on. Especially for little ones, their work is their play. And even as my kids, teens included, get older, I want them to be able to play in their home.

Whether we work outside the home or not, as women we have the privilege of creatively working with our homes to make it a haven for those that enter it. Whether that home is big or small, an apartment or a mansion, it doesn't matter, for it is not the nature of the house but the heart of the homemaker that makes the difference. Even if our home is not a model home featured on television, God has given me our home to steward and maximize for His glory. As a mother, I am passionate about making sure that our home has places for my children to create, learn, discover and do the work of play. Where do I start?

This week, my biggest task will be to go through the toys we have and pick out the very best and get rid of the junky ones or the ones that are outgrown. Toys seem to multiply like rabbits around here. Even if I get rid of most of them, more will take their place.

As a homeschooling family, however, I also have a secondary purpose for our playroom. I want it to be a place of learning and creativity as well. I dream of a wall where we can put books we are reading, sort of like this:

Source: Little Helping Hands

It's slim and doesn't take a lot of space, it doesn't require another purchase, and when we're done with this stage, we can simply remove the boards. It can also be a decor piece as well, as children's book covers are often beautifully illustrated and colorful. With a beanbag nearby, this can be an inviting place to curl up with a good book!

Besides a reading corner, I'd like to have centers for art supplies, dress up clothes, building toys, and games. If your kids are like mine, if they are all out all at once, they are either 1) overwhelmed by the choices, or 2) get bored easily. I plan to group my toys into rotations that I can easily switch out for something new. I like the idea of centers because it fits my philosophy of learning. I want my children to not just rely on me for information, but have a variety of interesting and enticing materials to explore on their own. But I don't want everything out all at once!

So I think I will need to sort out what I have, get rid of what I don't want, and then organize them into boxes of themes or graded by difficulty. The boys' closet will probably have to serve as my storage area. (Fortunately, my boys don't have lots of dress shirts to take up my precious closet space!)

Ideally, I'd like a little work table and a couple of chairs so there is a place to work without it getting all over the floor. That way, they can also keep out projects they are working on or things that need to dry. Something like this:

Source: Shanty 2 Chic

The last thing I will need to figure out is how to keep our games closet open and available for the older kids without the little ones getting into it and losing all the pieces. (Is my preschooler the only one who wants to do this? There is something irresistible about paper money, plastic chips and miniature metal weapons!). As my kids get older, they need less toys, but the games are something we still all enjoy. But they are bulky and the boxes are not a uniform size, making them hard to store.

Ultimately, I want our playroom to be wisely filled with treasures for our children and any guests that visit as well as a place for my children to discover educational "riches." I hope that this post will give you some ideas for how you can create a home full of precious and pleasant riches for your children.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing of play. In a world of rush and hurry, classes and clubs, our children often are shuttled from one place to another. May my home be a place where my children and all others who come be allowed to be a child, to discover, to create, to explore. And may it also be a place where even as adults, we are able to join them on that journey. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Cleaning and planning sheet for the Playroom