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5 ways to Create a Playful Home Learning Space

⭑ SEEK a space in your home where you can create a playful learning space.

Choose a space in your home where your child can just be.  It can be a nook in their bedroom, a small table alongside your kitchen, or a designated area in your living room.  Whatever you choose, have it feel authentic to you and work well for your family.  This space will become a safe haven for them just like a classroom would.  One that is filled with familiar objects and opportunities to investigate the world around them.

⭑ FIND the intention behind why you’re choosing to design this space for your child.

Think about why you’re building this space in the first place!  Intention is essential. What kind of schooling environment are you looking to recreate?  What are you hoping your child(ren) will gain from working and playing here?  Learning is happening everyday in all of the little and big moments of their day, but when you set up an intentional place for your child to work, it creates a yes atmosphere for them.  It places strong value on what they are doing and offers a physical place where they can put their ideas and questions into action. As adults, we choose to set up our workspaces in an envisioned way because it enables our productivity and inventiveness to expand!  When a child enters a classroom environment that is not only beautiful but also practical and functional, it gives them the necessary tools to follow their curiosity. 

⭑ SOURCE materials from brands and companies you believe in.

Purchase items that make sense for your child and your family.  As an educator and mama, I’ve always stood by materials that are non-toxic because I believe this is better for my family’s general wellbeing, and also better for the planet.  In my home, I try to buy supplies that are open-ended, as they pave the way towards even more creativity and imagination. It’s also important to support the interests of your child(ren) and shop for items that meet them where they are developmentally.  It is helpful to write down a list of: fundamentals, manipulatives, art supplies, and books and go from there.  A good place to start is having a child-sized table where they can draw and write, and a floor space where they can experiment, tinker and build.  Having a shelf close by which meets their eye level is great too, where you can keep items in baskets or trays so they can be mobile. Your child can bring them to the table or to the floor to work.  Less is more!  When you offer less, children do more.

⭑ CURATE the supplies throughout your space in a thoughtful way.

I like to start with a blank canvas, just like an artist would.  You are the designer for your child, or depending on your child’s age, you can have him or her help you.  Everything should be accessible to your child and have a home that it goes back to.  This way, you are always setting them up for independence.  The materials will vary according to your child’s age, but something important to remember is that it is okay to have a mix of things for different ages, especially if you have multiple children.  My younger son is almost 6 months, and I’d like him to play alongside my older one, so the objects I have close by are safe for everyone.  Since my older child is starting kindergarten, I have other learning materials thoughtfully placed and tucked away so that they are only in his reach.  The space is shared and the materials within can be used in a multitude of ways to reach everyone where they are developmentally. 

⭑ CONNECT + INSPIRE as you watch your child take ownership over their space, discover and learn.

When your child or children connect with their space, they will feel motivated, energized, and prompted to take charge of their learning.  They will go there not just when you encourage them, but at other points during the day. Here, they can discover and be their own teacher.   Parents are wearing so many hats right now, but we can put a lot of power in our children’s hands so that they feel empowered and thirsty to learn.  Remember, you are the guide who has helped create this space and also their leader who can consistently model for them that their knowledge and education is important.   

Here’s a snapshot of my family’s playful learning environment. My boys are almost 6 months and 5 ½ years old. I've done my best to build a strong foundation for this space, but as they continue to grow,  it's going to be ever changing and evolving with them. As parents, we all do our best for our children, making sure they have what they need to thrive. What I have in my home will look different than yours, and what you create in your home will look different than mine.

We look forward to seeing the spaces you create with and for your children! Share a pic of your learning environment with us on Instagram using the hashtag #roseandrexplay to be entered into our giveaway for an item of your choice from our at-home learning collection. The winner will be selected at random in early October.

 

About the Author

Hannah Ruppel has been an early childhood educator since 2009. She received her master’s in general and special education from Fordham University and holds an Early Childhood American Montessori Society (AMS) credential. Hannah is passionate about wellness, creating non-toxic home and learning environments, and sharing her knowledge of mindfulness to young children and their families. She wholeheartedly believes that when we instill our kids with the vital tools they need across all areas of their development, they are better prepared to take on anything as they change and grow! She recently moved to Shelter Island, New York with her husband Tyler and two boys. They enjoy cooking, playing outdoors, and seeking new adventures.

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