The process of learning is complex, and it requires much more than parents’ attention, teachers and books. In fact, many experts often view the environment as the “third teacher”, because it enhances or interferes learning and independence. Playing, as a special form of learning, also deserves some attention, especially in younger kids’ rooms. Let us see the reasons behind this before moving on to some practical tips about creating these zones and making our kids’ childhood the best and most productive it can be.
The “third teacher” phenomenon
The way the kids’ room is set up will contribute to the overall atmosphere and affect children’s behavior and skills. Ideally, the environment should pose both challenges and opportunities. And while there should be easy-to-access objects and easy-to-tackle toys, kids should also be presented with some challenges that will motivate them to use their logic and motor skills to achieve a goal (e.g. building blocks). Also, it is very important for the kids to feel safe and protected in their rooms.
Isn’t the entire room a “third teacher” then?
Of course it is. Kids (especially younger) will learn a number of things in the most unexpected places, even in living rooms and kitchens, so you won’t be mistaken if you claim that the whole room is the kids’ learning space. However, when the kids acquire the basic skills and when they become ready for more studious learning, they should have a space where they can express their creativity and further develop their skills and intelligence.
Zoning the room
Although we should never set boundaries for our kids’ imagination, especially not in the space they think of as their own, zoning the room can help them focus on different activities. Here are some useful kids’ room zones you should consider:
- Reading nook: Reading is not something we were born into, it is something we fall in love with slowly, if we start early. Instill your kids with passion for reading early on, by designing an imaginative reading nook (throw in some soft pillows, hang a canopy or construct a tepee and install a bookshelf).
- Motor skills area: Depending on their age, this room zone can have various building blocks and similar toys, as well as indoor swings, floating ladder, swing hooks, gymnast rings and a climbing wall.
- Logic skills corner: Logic and problem solving are great tools for children to use throughout their education and life. For younger kids, that zone should be filled with different shapes, names and objects, etc.
- Arts & crafts nook: Creativity is an indispensable part of childhood and it should never be suppressed. On the contrary. Enhance your kids’ creative skills by introducing a drawing desk, collage papers, blackboard wall, interactive wallpaper, etc.
- Studying station: Studying (for school kids), usually requires a working desk, a comfy chair and some “office supplies” (pens, papers, notebooks, etc.). Some older kids will also need a computer, but you should make sure they’re mature enough to use the computer responsibly.
If you are going to introduce more of these zones into the kids’ room, you should separate them aesthetically and spatially. Leave some free space between them and find attractive rugs online to create unique spaces.
Let there be freedom
Believe it or not, the most important space in kids’ room isn’t packed with toys, books, or any kind of other things. On the contrary, it is completely empty. Kids feel cramped in cluttered spaces, where they don’t have enough room to run, jump and create all sorts of imaginative scenarios. So, make sure you leave enough of free space in the middle of the room, and also enough space between different zones so that they can move freely throughout their room.
Our children are born with immense potential. What they are going to do with it is primarily up to us, especially in their early years. Therefore, it is crucial to create a friendly environment where their knowledge and confidence can thrive.
Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She feels she knows a thing or two about raising happy, healthy and confident kids, and offers helpful advice in hers parenting articles. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”