Summer has come and gone, Autumn is here and South Africa is currently in a 21-day lockdown due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As parents, whilst we are adjusting to having to stay contained at home, we also need to keep our children safe and entertained during this time. It’s great to be able to get into the garden and burn a bit more energy if space allows but it is also important to suggest some balance as well with some structured or chosen indoor activities too.
Early learners are currently on Easter break but soon they will have homework and other tasks set by their school and whilst it is important to keep their minds focused it is also essential to break up work with play. It’s amazing how you can transform the quality and duration of their learning and play by providing a table that’s the perfect height and large enough for a wide variety of activities.
Whatever you and your kids are up to at home, we feel it is important to give them a dedicated, flexible space that satisfies everyone’s needs and requirements.
So with this in mind, we’ve put together our top tips and inspiration for creating a gender-neutral playroom that your child will love.
1) Rug or Floor Mat
Playing on a hard floor all the time is no fun. It does little knees no good! We think your child will have a lot more fun playing or reading on a super soft, non-itchy rug. A colourful rug will help create an inviting and vibrant space. If you don’t have a dedicated playroom and your home is more about open concept living, then a rug can help define or zone an area set aside for play.
Play mats are another great alternative. They can be treated like a rug and are perfect for encouraging kids to use their imaginations. They are also easy to roll up for storage when not in use.
Nest has several wonderful multi-activity play mats available from the award-winning range of toys by Melissa & Doug. Designed to spark imagination and wonder, these floor mats feature a skid-proof backing and reinforced border binding. Durably made to look great for countless hours of play time fun.
Why not give them the best seat in the house and a comfy spot to find some quiet chill-out time with a favourite read? A cosy beanbag chair, perfectly sized for kids, makes a great seat for when friends come around too. Find one with a removable, machine washable cover for practicality.
3) Play Table
We’re really proud of our play tables and haven’t seen anything to match them for quality and sensible design. A robust table and chair set at the right height is an absolute must for play areas. Ideal for a variety of activities, from playing a board game to Lego construction, painting and drawing or simply enjoying a snack.
Some of our play tables also combine storage, so they can keep what they need close at hand.
Consider furniture in white, as it’s guaranteed to work in any scheme.
4) Stationery Caddy
You’ll also need storage for stationery that will keep supplies and creative materials orderly. Even your untidy children will love our fantastic range of caddies. They are tough and trendy and the handle means you can carry them about, put them on the floor, whatever suits.
5) Easy-to-Reach Storage
Accessible storage will save your home from the rising tide of book and toys! Storage is a key element for keeping a playroom organised and inviting. Our exclusive, practical and very sturdy stackable storage is so versatile it can be used anywhere in the home. These large trunks stack together creating space saving storage. Used individually they are the perfect height for sitting on too.
6) Book Nook
Reading and picture books are a vital part of your child’s development and giving them a playroom with a place to take time out and practice their reading is just as important as a space for lively play.
Encourage your child’s love of books and get them ready for learning with our award winning Tidy Books children’s Bookcase. Unlike other standard bookcases, the Tidy Books Bookcase is easy for children to use – this original design is practical and helps to make books enticing. The front-facing shelves allow your child to pick out books for themselves, so you are more than likely to find your child curled up, reading! The wooden letters on the shelves are also a perfect addition if your child is still learning to read and occasionally needs a little extra help with their letters.
7) Blackboard, Art Easel or Wipe Clean Board
We all encourage our children to get creative with a paintbrush – and hope the creativity stays off the walls! Think how pleased your young Picasso will be when they are actually allowed to do it! A blackboard, art easel or wipe clean board (if messy chalk dust isn’t your thing) is a fun playroom addition and the perfect antidote to too much screen time.
8) Desk or Work Space
When planning a playroom, think about including a workspace. A designated space for homework is worth considering.
9) Wall Storage
Create extra storage space instantly by putting your walls to work! Peg rails are particularly good for keeping school bags off the floor or for providing hanging space for caps, jackets and more. Our exclusive Colourburst Coat Rack with its sturdy metal construction features a steel wire frame with shiny, cheerful, assorted coloured wooden balls on the ends of each hook. Inspired by the Eames ‘Hang it All’ coat rack, this cool design is a fantastic way to inject some fun into your kids playroom.
10) Art Wall
Display your child’s masterpieces on a wall where they can be appreciated. These finishing touches to their space will make all the difference – you’ll both feel so proud!
11) Decals or Height Chart
If you want to keep the walls fairly plain, a stand-out feature such as a decorative decal can add a burst of colour and a playful element, without requiring the room to be totally redecorated as your child grows older.
Why not track how fast they grow with our beautiful nature themed height chart? Measuring from 50 to 120 cm, this wall sticker makes a fantastic decorative piece in any room. Simply stick the main pieces onto a clean, dry wall and use the marker leaf to record the date and height of your child. The height chart wall sticker can be used with up to 2 children. There are also extra decorative stickers that can be moved around and used to encourage play. All the stickers are glue free and can be removed and repositioned without leaving sticky residue behind. The height chart wall sticker contains 81 pieces.
12) Pretend Play
And lastly, think about encouraging role play by creating an area that will ignite your kids imagination. Nest has some of the very best make-believe toys that are practically designed and look good too.
Inspire delicious fun for little foodies with the trendsetting, unisex KidKraft Farmhouse Play Kitchen with EZ Kraft Assembly™! Kids can show off their green thumbs as they tend to the adorable window box with planted carrots and purple onions that can be pulled and chopped on the cutting board with the wooden knife. Kids will love the fun crunch sound of chopping veggies, which can then be sautéd on the cooktop with light and sound. The importance of washing hands can be learned with the large farmhouse sink, which features lights and running water sounds! Learning to organize is fun for little ones with the large refrigerator with ice maker that dispenses pretend cubes, and the two wood-print storage crates. With convenient hanging hooks to hold the included spatula, pot and pan and a large chalkboard to feature the daily specials, this kitchen whips up fun and cooks up memories for little chefs. Exclusive to Nest in South Africa.
So, we hope we’ve given you some food for thought when it comes to creating a gender-neutral playroom.
Take this stretch to enjoy family life. Stay at home and do your bit to help keep your fellow South Africans safe. And while you may have some time on your hands, it may happen to be the perfect time to organise and shop around for your kid’s play area.
We are grateful for the ongoing support and loyalty of our customers and we look forward to continuing to do business with you safely.
Our office is fully functional. Our online store is live, orders are open and we have some great offers and a fantastic giveaway available.
We will deliver safely to your door within 3-5 working days once the lockdown ends.