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Kids seem to have an unending stockpile of energy. Sometimes, just watching them run around makes us tired! One common problem this energy presents is finding a place to let them spend it. When the sun goes down or the weather gets nasty, children bring all that energy indoors. A playroom is the perfect place for them to do their own type of unwinding.
When setting up a playroom safety is priority one. Hard surfaces are a definite "no, no", as are materials that will break or splinter. Tough, durable, and stain resistant carpet is a good idea, as is overhead lighting. The placement of the room in the house should also be taken into account. A playroom for a young child should be close to a parent's eyes and ears. Finished basements, though great for an adult or teen hangout, are often too secluded for younger kids.
Dealing with a lot of toys means storage issues. Most would agree that kids should do their part cleaning up; a playroom's design should make this task as easy as possible. There are many ways to store things, but a lot of them are too tall for kids to reach without help. Before purchasing an expensive floor to ceiling storage system, it's wise to consider a set of low to the ground bins and shelves.
Kids need options the same way we do, and often even more. Games, toys, crayons and the like should all be easily accessible as well as easy to put away.
If the kids are old enough, ask their opinion about the color and style of the furniture and walls. This will, of course, be their space. It might even be a good idea to take them shopping with you to pick out one or two things entirely on their own. Keep in mind, though, that kids can be fickle. Dropping a month's pay on a bunch of Spiderman stuff might not be the best idea. Playroom decorating can grow with the child, as long as it doesn't cost a bundle each time a new blockbuster comes out. Maybe ask what his or her favorite color is; paint doesn't cost much and the room might need a new coat once a year anyway.
Furniture is a big part of playroom decorating, and kids often get a kick out of things sized to fit only them. However, children's furniture, much like their clothing, is kind of a catch 22. You want it to be durable and resistant to wear and tear. At the same time it's tough to spend a lot of money on something that will be outgrown before you know it. Check out thrift stores, yard sales, and classifieds (both in newspapers and online). Parents are often willing to part with kid's furniture for free or for pennies on the dollar. Save that extra money for college.
No matter how you feel about them, video games just get more and more popular every year. Each parent must make a decision about how much (if any) time their child should spend playing them. Those who lean toward little or none should start offering alternatives early. Encourage children to engage in, and provide them with, positive activities. Don't be afraid to get your own hands dirty. It's their space, but they'll enjoy it more if they see you enjoying it, too!
Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.