Whether you’ve just moved into a pristine new designer building such as one that Clarendon Homes produce, or you’ve finally finished those endless renovations on a classic fixer-upper, you’re probably itching for a little down-time in your new home.
That’s where the kids’ retreat comes in, the perfect inclusion for Aussie families seeking a balance between happy kids and plenty of “me time.” Here’s what to include to get the best out of your designated kids’ space
Storage, Storage, Storage.
For a place dedicated to kids, storage will quickly become your most valuable asset. Make sure there’s lots of storage and that the storage space is practical – if you’ve got lots of little toys, don’t go for long and tall cupboards, but go for drawers or shelving instead. Boxes inside shelves are a great idea, as kids can put a box out to rifle through without messing up the rest of the cupboard, and it makes pack-up easy too.
Make sure everything that requires supervision is kept up high or in a locked drawer or cupboard, but try to have everything else easily accessible to kids can take control of their playtime and find their favorites themselves.
Tools for Imaginative Play
It’s important to encourage kids to make the most of their imagination and create their own fun. Often it’s the simple and less expensive stuff that kids spend hours playing with and using to engage in imaginative play. Toys like duplo, doll houses, even the classic cardboard box will provide endless entertainment for the imaginative youngster.
A dress-up box is also a fantastic addition to the kids’ retreat, they’ll love to adorn themselves with interesting items and get into character. Role playing is generally a great hit with kids and encourages a positive and playful style of learning.
Before we get to the glue and glitter, it’s important to have a designated craft area – somewhere with surfaces that are easy to wash. Carpet is great for absorbing stains, odors and catching as much mess as possible, so try to have the craft area (if not the whole kids’ retreat) in an area that has lino, tiles or wood flooring, something that’s easy to clean. You could also try easy-wash and/or stain resistant mats. A kid-sized table and chairs is a great idea, and usually these items will be easy to keep clean too.
Next is the crafty part – have some boxes full of craft supplies, you can collect these as you go. Whenever you find a great-looking candy wrapper or some colorful bottle caps, add them to the box. Keep things like glitter and play-dough in resealable containers. Water-based paints are ideal for young artists.
A Variety of Books
Even in this modern age of tech-savvy toddlers, kids will find plenty of entertainment and stimulation in books. Have a good mix of fiction and non-fiction, for example, pop-up books, picture books, science fact books, kids encyclopedias, and other factual books (like Horrible Histories or quiz books) that encourage learning but are fun and stimulating for young readers.
While it’s not ideal to encourage kids to spend lots of time glued to a screen, it’s great to be able to put on a movie and relax for an hour or so while they’re entertained by a Disney classic.
A TV screen with a DVD player are all you really need, but for older kids you might like to add a console, just make sure you’ve got designated game time that they have to stick to. Something like a Nintendo Wii or Xbox Kinect are a good idea as they keep kids active and moving while playing games.
With all of these elements, your kids’ retreat will be irresistible, leaving you plenty of time to chill out and enjoy a little time for yourself.
Written by Nathan Hanson
Nathan runs a real estate agency in Queensland, Australia. His wife owns a home building business. Nathan loves to share his expert advice to help people hunt for their dream homes.
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