Kids love to pretend play, whether by imitating simple actions and manners, using toys as though they are real, by dressing up or with imagination boxes. All these kinds of pretend play is essential to a child’s development as it gives them the chance to observe others and also stimulates creativity and thinking skills.
It is thanks to creative furniture stores, our kids were able to pretend play with mini-appliances like kitchen blocks, kiddie tables and chairs, and even tents. These items tailored for kids made it easier for them to be mobile and do stuff with less hindrance (imagine tall chairs and big tables for short legs).
Here are perhaps some of the best home integration, toys, and installation you can buy or make for your kids to give them their own spaces that isn’t overwhelming (not as high as the bedroom’s ceiling). (From a toddler’s needs to a growing adult’s.)
If there is a favorite that the kids would pick for pretend play, I reckon it would be a tent or a tepee – if not a playhouse. These, along with bed canopies, give kids a sense of privacy while being creative in their own little worlds.
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Toddlers, as cute as they are, do enjoy pretend play in places that also make them look bigger. When in a playhouse, with things that they can easily hold and take care of, toddlers feel more in control and confident.
Why allow your child to have a playhouse? One of the best reasons is that children look into their ‘sense of self’ as early as the toddler years. They start to realize that they are a separate and different person from those around and then begins to develop independence. This is the start of them saying ‘no’ to everything you say, remember that phase? This also means that they are ready to explore new skills and they are willing to learn what their limits could be. Thus, aside from their crib/bed and bedroom, giving them a space that’s just right to call their own is important.
A playhouse is the perfect space – it even has a door that they can close to separate themselves from the outside world. As a cat would with a box, a playhouse can be their recluse, or retreat that will give them a place to go to when they need quiet time. Giving them the freedom to do this – to be by themselves at any time they please will boost their confidence and assure them that there’s a place where they can hide and be safe in. And this is important and comes in handy when they are faced with difficulties as grown ups.
Mini-Appliances and Furniture
In the playhouse, kids are allowed to use forks and knives (not real, of course), they can even make use of a stove and pretend cook in their mini-kitchen. They can invite a friend over and have tea, with real tea too, served in baby teacups while sitting on their mini-stools. While kids do learn many things at the kindergarten, they can also learn a lot from playing house. Keeping stuff clean, putting things in order, being sociable, and some other life lessons albeit still all play.
Canopies and Blanket Forts
Canopies work best for babies and kids who are sensitive to light. Installing a see-through canopy over a crib also keeps insects at bay. Blankets overhead, strategically hung over the bed works the same way too. Make use of a flashlight or glow lights to make storytelling and bedtime stories more fun!
Pop-up Tents to Stylish Teepees
Indoor tents – one bought ready-made or DIY’ed is something the kids would truly enjoy.You can put blankets, a favorite pillow, a favorite stuffed toy, and a basket of books and leave your child to his own imagination.
Let a tent or tepee be a place where your child can calm down if need be. As it’s encircling, you child could feel hugged and safe in this smallish space alloted for him. Let it be a space where he can be happy and where he can also release pent up feelings of frustration or confusion.
Whether you opt for a tent or a tepee, both serve the same purpose: to offer kids a private zone all their own. Tents have zips to close the so-called door but make sure that the “door” is still somewhat transparent so you can easily peek and see if there are any untoward incidents.
Tepees often have velcro flap for closing, so it works ok too. Tents and tepees can be your child’s secret hideout (although you know this would be his chosen hiding place).
Never forget to fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks. If you can, setup a nook where kids can be comfy while reading their favorite daybook. It can be a rocking chair by the bookshelf, a smallish sofa bed at the bedroom corner, or a completely integrated lounge by the window.
A corner tepee also works as a great book nook, it gives a child a sense of safety while immersed in a picture book and his own imaginary world.
And because a tepee is easy to setup, you can also bring it outdoors for the kids to enjoy spring breeze and an afternoon nap at the garden under the blue skies and cottonish clouds.
Let your child’s imagination flow and allow their creativity to take flight with the help of not only books, but private spaces as well.
When setting up a tepee, make sure that you use a waterproof base under all the pillows to keep dirt and mud at bay.
Many movies depict the fun kids have when playing in tree houses. Oxford dictionary defines a tree house as a structure built in the branches of a tree for children to play in. Notice that it is particularly for kids, but I know we all won’t mind having one to escape to even at our age.
Having a tree house encourages children to explore the outdoors. In this gadget and technology-saturated everyday life, going out and playing close to nature works wonders for kids. Being around greens, all those leaves, and the blue sky helps reduce anxiety, stress, and even other mental health problems your kids may have that you may not be aware of.
A tree house, as a playhouse does, give kids a sense of privacy, only up on a tree! ^_^
Dens, Pods, Campers, and Cabins
What about older kids, or kids at heart? Getting them their own pods can be game-changing. Whether your child loves to draw, enjoys game designs, is fascinated with crafts, or likes to write poems, a space where he can be creative is a must.
Sure there can be different interpretations of what campers and dens could be. Campers would be a large motor vehicle with living accommodation, and one who camps is rightly called a camper. Dens, on the other hand are small team huddle spaces that are built from architectural office furniture modules, can also be bonus rooms, like family rooms, libraries, lofts, home cinemas, game areas, spare bedrooms, studies, or retreats. Getting the “den” idea from an animal’s den – a cave where wild creatures dwell, which could also be the origin of a “man cave.”
If there isn’t a spare room in the house, a garden shed or pod would be a perfect spot to be alone and be creative or just pass time. While there are containers that you can use as a pod, garden sheds will also do, you just need a little tweak here and there to make it look appealing for the young ones.
Camper vans are of course for those who can drive (of legal age). And it’s a convenient thing to have to be able to go around the country in the comforts of a so-called home.
There are of course a lot of additions you can bring with or integrate into a camper van to make it all the more convenient.
With different necessities, you’d be happy to know that Apres developed Campers and Dens pods and cabins, which is aimed for offices but can also be a wonderful integration for the home too. Inspired by an image of a VW Campervan with an awning, Campers & Dens pods will fit in most spaces and thanks for the many customisations available, they will also fit the style of any environment, whether indoor or outdoor. Campers and Dens also integrates smart use of storage, adaptable spaces and innovative ways to create zones that’s efficient and encourages creativity.
In addition, they also offer Campers&Den cabins – which are extensions that you can add to the Campers Meeting Pods, utilizing walls and creating free space between rooms or at the end of a pod.
Of course, having one’s own space to be creative can also be an intentional construction. I would also be glad if I can have my own space to write a book someday! Which space or nook do you and your kids enjoy? Let us know in the comments.