How much fun is it to be a child in your home? Do you ever stop to think about how the house looks from their point of view? My task for this week is to conduct a Child’s Eye Audit of our living space, to try and make the rooms more child- and play-friendly. The audit need only take a few minutes and might suggest simple changes to make to improve the play space.
To conduct a child’s eye audit, sit or kneel down so you’re at your child’s eye-level and consider the following things.
1. Safety first. Most importantly, the room needs to be safe and it’s useful t0 review this aspect of your home from time to time as children grow taller, become more mobile or more adventurous. Think about what your child can reach, what you don’t want them to reach and make any necessary adjustments.
2. Child’s eye view. Sit back for a minute on the floor and scan the room. What’s visible to your child at their height, and what’s not? You might display all their lovely paintings on the wall and fridge door – but are they too high for your child to actually see? Is their view just of empty walls? Hang some art work at a lower level or set up a low shelf or table with a display of things they can enjoy.
3. Within reach. Consider how accessible your toys are. Do you have an enabling environment where your child can independently help themselves to toys and resources to use in their play or is everything out of reach? Try to find a balance so you can keep the space tidy whilst still allowing free access. Open shelving and low baskets work well for us with some materials such as paint stored higher up.
4. Ring the changes. Do you always have they same toys out? Sometimes putting away familiar toys and bringing out some forgotten ones can spark new creativity and fun. Don’t have a complete change of resources though, as children do like to know where favourite toys are. With Christmas on the way now is a good time to have a toy audit, donating ones your child has grown out of to the charity shop and getting ideas for their Christmas list.
5. Invitation to play. Do you have any toys that never get played with, or activities that you child rarely takes part in? What can you change to make things more inviting? If you’d like to encourage some more reading, perhaps you could set up a cosy reading corner or story tent – with comfy cushions, a basket of tempting books and a favourite teddy to share with? If your toy kitchen has been ignored for a while, add some new resources to catch your child’s eye: a muffin tin and paper cake cases, some jars of real dried pasta, a recipe book from your shelf or lay the table for a birthday tea and surprise your child with a new play possibility.
Do you sometimes review things from your child’s point of view? What changes have you made to make your space more child- and play- friendly? Leave a comment and share an idea with us.