Before we even dive in, you might be thinking-- "I don't have any extra rooms in my house for a safe play area." I feel you. Hear me out.
Once upon a time, I literally could not walk through my house without finding a toy (or 5!) in each room. Honestly, it was a good day if I didn’t step on one in the hallway. There were Hot Wheels in the master bathroom, tiny plastic dinosaurs in the living room, and art supplies in the kitchen. It made me crazy.
When our family moved a few years back, I
demanded politely requested a Yes space, which is a space that is specifically for children to confidently touch and explore. For us, that extra room in the new house turned into a safe play area. I’ve never looked back. Having a designated yes space at our house has been LIFE-CHANGING. Don’t have a spare room in your house? That’s okay! You, too, can create a safe play area in your house – a lesson I wish I’d learned in my younger years.
Photo Credit @bumpsandbottles
1. Find Under-utilized space
Start thinking of your house in terms of “under-utilized” space. Is there a funky-shaped landing at the top of the stairs? An empty corner? Extra space in your living or dining room? For younger kids, you can cordon off these areas with super wide baby gate and make a safe play area just for your little one anywhere! Add some cute storage bins and DIY book rails and you’ll have an inexpensive room makeover!
Pro tip: rotate those storage bins out for extra playtime! Keeping some storage bins in your play area and some hidden away in a closet is a great way to keep your kids interested in the toys they already have. Each time you rotate the toy bins, BAM. Brand new toys.
Photo Credit @hellomompreneur
2. Go portable for Your Safe Play Area
For even younger kiddos, a portable play yard is also a great option! It is a very safe yes space and folds away when not in use for houses that are short on extra space.
There is a version of play yard that also has a canopy. Your infant or toddler can be completely safe while enclosed in the play yard, but there’s plenty of room for toys!
Photo Credit @lualayse
3. Make the area fun and soft
If you do have the luxury of a playroom, (or even if you don’t!), a soft, easily-wipeable playmat is essential to include in your yes space. A playmat provides a designated play area, protects your flooring AND your kiddo!
Take it from me – a designated safe play area in your house is a serious sanity-saver. I won’t promise those toys will all stay in the yes space (they won’t), but it will be a dramatic improvement. Not only that but having a baby gate or play yard for your young ones can really bring peace of mind.
Do you have a safe play area in your home? Have you found it valuable?
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About the Author:
Stacy grew up in Minnesota but spent the next several years of her life traversing the globe, temporarily setting down roots anywhere and everywhere. Stacy is extremely passionate about the world of adoption and foster care, having spent a year in Uganda adopting her oldest daughter in 2008. Stacy married her husband Jesse in 2011, and they moved to Oklahoma City to grow their family. They currently have three children; a 12-year-old girl, a 6-year-old boy, and a 1-year-old boy. Though she will be parenting for the rest of her natural days, she deeply appreciates the age differences between her kids. Stacy obtained a Master’s degree in child psychology in 2007, but currently uses it only on her own children! A stay-at-home mama since Baby #3 was born, Stacy has stayed busy keeping her children alive and relatively entertained. She loves her little crazy crew fiercely and uses writing as her creative outlet. When she’s not chasing her kiddos, Stacy is likely traveling or daydreaming about traveling. She also enjoys coffee shops, copious amounts of “cop drama” shows, and perusing Pinterest for ideas that have little chance of ever getting done. But they’re good to have. Just in case.