Ad. Do you ever wish you could turn the clock back a few decades and transport kids into a more innocent, child-friendly age?
Few of us would want to go back in time permanently. But there are growing numbers who want to be less reliant on digital entertainment and mass-produced plastic goods. Parents are looking for more mindful, sustainable ways to raise children and give them sound life values.
Playroom toys and activities are a good place to start. We’ve put together a few ideas on how you can make your play area a creative, happy, and exciting place with the help of some Montessori play styles and toys.
Choose Sustainable Toys
Avoiding plastics gets hard when choosing toys for the playroom. You might not manage it completely but keeping plastic to a minimum will keep the play area more sustainable.
Wooden toys come in a delightful range and provide activities for different interests and ages. They also manage to be both modern and nostalgic, so they appeal to parents as much as kids. Wooden toys with a traditional appeal are growing in popularity and becoming more widely available so you shouldn’t have to look far to find something special.
As well as having a gentler environmental impact, toys made from natural materials have more sensory appeal. Plastic toys just feel like plastic, whereas wooden toys offer variations in texture, taste, and weight. It adds another dimension to play, deepening kids’ understanding of the world around them.
Wooden toys also last longer. You can save beloved items for younger brothers and sisters to enjoy, or even preserve them for generations so your kids can give them to their kids.
Use Eco-Friendly Furnishings
Furnishings play a big part in a sustainable playroom. Like toys, eco-friendly children’s furniture is built to last, and made from natural materials like fabric, wicker, or wood.
Whether you’re looking for nursery items like cots and cribs, or you want shelving or tables and chairs, it’s all available in lovely, warm, and natural materials.
There’s no reason not to bring a bit of nature and gardening inspiration into the playroom.
Here are a few ideas:
- Window boxes or troughs to grow edibles from seed.
- Sprouting bean shoots in a muslin-covered jar.
- Growing carrot tops in a saucer of water – you won’t get carrots, but the tops will grow like small trees.
- Save a few eggshells when you’re frying eggs, paint a face on one half and stuff the inside with moist cotton wool. Sprinkle with salad cress seeds and watch the hair grow.
- A few houseplants, both foliage and flowering. Let children help water and care for them.
- Make a cactus garden.
- Create a small terrarium in a large jar.
- Make an indoor herb garden.
Some plants need more sunlight than others to grow, so if you’re not already a gardener you might have to do a bit of indoor gardening research. As a rule of thumb, east and north-facing windows offer good light for houseplants, while vegetables need different light so windows that face either south or west are better. Another alternative is to use LED grow lights in the growing area.
Choose Toys and Games that Engage
In all the haste and scramble of modern life, it’s good to take a step back into a quieter, more mindful state of being. Instead of bells, whistles, and recorded voices, it’s refreshing to hear kids’ laughter or role-playing conversations either with their friends or with their toys.
Many modern toys also do all the entertaining, asking kids to do nothing but sit and watch. Having toys that engage their attention by asking them to do something helps their development in all kinds of positive ways.
- How to fit shapes in holes.
- How to make blocks stack into towers.
- How to use different shapes to make houses.
- How to form tracks into roads.
- How to identify colours.
- How to manipulate small items.
All these types of activity encourage concentration and the development of fine motor skills. They encourage kids to identify puzzles or problems and figure out solutions. They’re having fun, but also learning vital life skills and becoming more confident in their abilities and choices.
Other kinds of toys, such as push- or pull-along toys, climbing frames and balance boards help children gain confidence in movement, burn energy, and grow stronger bones and muscles. It’s not always safe or practical for kids to play outside, but that energy must go somewhere.
When you’re looking for a sustainable, mindful way of creating a fun and nurturing playroom, these are a few of the touchstones to aim for. Hopefully we’ve given you some ideas to work with, and a bit of a springboard for your own inspiration.