Everyone wants a Pinterest-worthy playroom, but creating a personalized space with your child's physical and emotional development in mind is key for their well-being.
We asked Occupational Therapist Justine Bedocs to recommend her five playroom must-haves that all kids will love.
1. Bean Bag Chair: All children need a chill out space. A bean bag chair works well for this because when a child sinks into the chair it surrounds their body and calms the senses. This chair also works to define and establish the child's personal space and helps with their recognition of personal boundaries. It is important for a child to understand and define their own personal space with others as it will help with facilitating positive social interactions and engagement as they grow. Sitting in a bean bag chair is also helpful to when the child is engaging in fine motor play and reading because it allows them to relax and focus.
2. Playdough and Putty: Sculpting, molding, rolling and squishing while using two hands, integrates both sides of a child's brain and body, while activating their imagination and strengthening their fine motor skills. Putty and Theraputty offer different grades of resistances, which helps to challenge and motivate the child in a fun way. All of these prerequisite skills prepare the child's body and hands for pencil and paper tasks that they will one day be required to do at school.
3. Rocking Chair: When a child rocks back and forth in this chair, it provides both a calming and grounding effect. The movement helps regulate the brain and helps with body awareness. When a child sits in this chair while pushing it with their feet, it's both active and centering. This experience provides information to the child's muscles and joints which allows them to learn where their body is in space and how to grade the force of their movements.
4. Balance Board: Balance boards are plain fun. Children challenge themselves and strive to improve upon skills and abilities. This helps with perseverance, confidence and strength. Using a balance board helps a child to increase and integrate sensory (visual, auditory, tactile, vestibular and proprioceptive inputs) information. It also works on a child's postural control, body awareness and coordination. These are all fundamental skills needed for a child to develop core strength.
5. Music Player: Music can have a profound effect on a child's emotions and body. Faster music helps to increase concentration, attention and alertness, while slower and rhythmical music can relax and calm a child. Faster music works well for gross motor activities and games like Simon Says and slower music is good for writing and yoga. I love Rhythmical Music and Modulation Compositions or you can use a metronome playing softly in the background, the strong beat and tempo help to ground a child.