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Setting up a preschool room in your house
Apparently when I do something I go all out because I decided that when I would preschool homeschool my girls that I would change our basement into a preschool area. Now wait, before you think I am totally crazy and run off to read another post hear me out! Play is such an amazing opportunity and necessary skill for our children that having a playroom set up in this type of way can totally be a game changer. There actually aren’t too many rules to how things are set up; and if you are a total DIY junkie like me this might just be the challenge you are needing in your life. So come on lets get started on setting up a preschool inspired playroom in your house!
Since having littles in our home, we have lived in townhomes. That means our basements are unfinished and that messy play is totally okay. If you have carpet everywhere in your house we will just have to get creative on finding opportunities to incorporate messy play in other ways throughout your day!
Preschool Room Rules
- Have specific areas for the different types of play:
Play is so fun! I am actually so super excited to be sharing this information because I know how much of a game changer it was for my girls when our house became set up this way. With play there are opposites. There is messy play. Which are your sensory bins, sand or water table, and usually your arts and crafts things. Then there is quiet play! This would be your book corner, writing center, puzzle area; where kids are usually quiet and focused. And then there are the opposites. When we take this into consideration we have to realize that we don’t want to have the messy loud play right where the quiet play may be happening.
- Have a clear path that the children can move freely from one activity to the next! Even in a play room there always needs to be a clear walking path so that the playroom doesn’t become one giant room of tornado where the toys have been dumped and it feels like chaos. Be intentional about creating those paths and finding ways to make sure that they stay clear of any messes!
- Have an area that is designated as a place to show your children’s artwork!
This totally just needs to be a post on its own but in creating a preschool area it is important to remember the message sent when children have their artwork displayed. When children have their artwork displayed it tells them that what they do is important. That they are celebrated and loved. Whenever the girls create artwork they come running to show it to me and I love it! I love that they are excited to put it on the fridge at home and display it!
- Throw all your toys in one place. I was feeling so totally overwhelmed by the path of toys that seemed to overtake every room of my house so I started to throw all the toys into the basement. I used a cube organizer and sorted the girls toys into bins. This has really helped to keep things organized and easy to find. When I have decided on a preschool theme I am able to dig through the bins that are already conveniently located in the basement to find whatever I am looking for. It makes it totally simple and easy to prepare!
- Have a designated spot for your circle time activities. You know the circle time activities I am talking about!! Doing your weather chart, the seasons, your daily calendar, reading your books and singing your songs. It is also in this little corner that I have my stuff stored in bins for learning activities or our arts and crafts things.
- Have a plastic mat down to catch those sensory bin spills or explosions.
On one of our shopping excursions I found something called a splat mat! You can just place it under your sensory table to catch those messes so that everything stay more contained. If you are not interested in spending any more money I have also heard of using fitted sheets under the bottom of the water/ sand table to catch those explosions.
- Remember to have some empty wall space!
We need to create print rich environments for our littles. I should create a post on this too!! But what print rich means is that there are lots of opportunities for children to make sense of the world through words and pictures. It is through our circle time area, our labeled centers and bins, songs we sing, poems we chant, rules we have, and so on. All these types of print help our children to recognize the importance of symbols and words that are used around them.
- Grab your camera and label those bins!
The absolute last thing that saved my sanity was taking pictures. I took pictures of the girls’ toys and placed them on their bins. This way the girls know specifically where the toys go and in what bins. Before the girls would pull out each bin to find what they are looking for and having the pictures saved everyone’s sanity!!
So really, a playroom turned preschool room is a sanity saver
Having all the toys in one area, that has deignated spots for play really helped encourage more meaningful play for the girls. We know that play for a child is their job and helps them make sense of the world around them. Play helps them to create, learn and explore; so children need to have adults scaffold opportunities for play. This can happen when we plan and organize. So remember have certain spaces available for the different types of play, have a clear path or roadway for people to walk, have some empty wall space for artwork and different print, grab some organization totes and label, label, label. You’ll thank me later!!
Because oh puh-lease!! You’ve got this momma!!