01 October 2010
We were curious, before we moved into our newly-built home in 2003, how our children – then aged – 3 and 4 – would occupy the space.
- Inevitably, they gravitated to the adults and to the kitchen/dining area for much of their play time.
- This area remains, 7 years later, HQ for major operations including Lego Cities.
- And so, when designing for young children, try to facilitate play in or near the kitchen – a couch, some toy storage, a rug and some hard floor surface would be ideal.
- If you do have a Play Room, try to choose a room near the kitchen. Think of it as a room in its own right – a room which is just a functional Toy Room will not be attractive and may well be be shunned. A rug and a couch could transform it into a proper “room”.
- Toy storage is a huge issue for all families – we have always followed the creche/school model of open shelving with appropriate baskets/containers to suit what’s being stored, all within child’s reach.
- Multi-drawered, adjustable plastic storage units, like the ones from Muji, are invaluable for smaller items. They have helped us keep track of an extensive lego collection, for example, by storing the pieces according to colour, type, size etc.
- Birthdays and Christmas can generate an avalanche of new treasures, so keep on top of changing needs by doing a cull/clearout in advance of such occasions – Charity Fairs and Bazaars present wonderful opportunities in this regard.
- You will want your children to achieve maximum independence at each stage. Empower them by making all necessary items accessible to them – think of wardrobes and cloakrooms arranged to make it possible for them to put clothes away themselves and of bathrooms where towel hooks are within their reach etc.
- Pause, as new hobbies and passions are adopted, to think how best to meet the needs these will generate.
- We have just created, for example, a small area dedicated to jewellery making for our daughter, following on from months of fruitless requests for her to tidy her workshop away.
- And so, as children grow, their needs will change and adjustments will need to be made to storage and to how spaces are used.
- As they enter the teenage years, they will require more privacy and somewhere to be with friends out of adult range.
- In some cases, such as ours’, this may even mean the need to provide more space in the form of an extension.
- Let’s hope the Bank Manager understands………..