Play is important for kids. It’s especially important for kids to have active play as a part of their routines, since it builds imagination, physical coordination and other important developmental skills. Unfortunately, not everyone lives in places that are well suited for outdoor active play. Small yards, a lack of easy access to public playgrounds and excessively high summer temperatures can all lead to kids spending a lot more time inside than they would otherwise.
If your kids need more play in their lives and need an option that doesn’t involve going outside, it might be time to consider an indoor play space. Not only will this enable your kids to play regardless of the weather or other outside conditions, but it can also net you some serious “cool parent” points once it’s finished. There are a lot of possibilities for how you might tackle an indoor play space, of course, so here are a few ideas to get you started.
Climbing the Walls… Literally
There are many ways that you can add climbing options to an indoor play space. Climbing ropes, rock climbing wall units and even “trees” that are designed for climbing can help your kids have fun and burn off some of their pent-up energy. If you don’t want to go for one of these options, you could even add a smaller jungle gym or similar play structure. Regardless of what sort of climbing option you choose, the key to all of this is making sure that they are securely mounted so that nothing can come loose during a play session. Some added padding on the floor is also a good idea to help absorb any impacts in case your climbers decide to jump down instead of climbing all the way.
Another fun option for bringing the outdoors inside is to place a small trampoline inside the play area. There’s a little more to this than simply putting a trampoline together, of course; the trampoline will need to be secured and it should have netting and other protective gear installed to prevent injuries during play. The end result offers a lot of fun, though. Just make sure that you choose a trampoline unit that’s small enough to easily fit indoors but big enough that your kid can actually bounce around inside of it. Most likely you’ll want to get a 6-foot or 8-foot trampoline at most.
Bringing the Outdoors Inside
There are a number of ways that you can bring elements of the outside indoors for the play area you build. You can create an indoor “treehouse” that captures the look and feel of outdoor play within an enclosed room. You could also add artificial grass in place of carpeting to give some or all of the room more of a feeling of being outside. Creative paint and lighting can make the room more fun while replicating some of the feel of playing under a bright blue sky, and adding multiple or large windows can let in some natural sunlight as well. You could even add popular outdoor options such as a sandbox to give even more ways to play; just make sure that you have a plan in place to clean up spilled sand.
Open the Imagination
You don’t have to dedicate a child’s play room to a single play option or theme. You could have multiple stations within the room including a block table, a play kitchen, car seats, an “outdoor” area and more. You could even forego some of these formal stations and simply provide ample space for play and extra storage to keep it organized. You know your kids, so design the play space that will fit them and their preferences the best.