Soothing Playroom With Learning Centers
I’m so excited to share this recent project with you! It was a little hard to narrow down all of the photos, so this post is a little longer than usual. Hopefully it will give you some inspiration and guidance on on how to set up a soothing playroom with learning centers for school aged kids. Although many of us don’t have a full room to dedicate entirely to this type of space, it has got me thinking about setting up small areas in our home to encourage the exploration of different subjects and interests. I hope you are as inspired as I have been throughout this project!
My client is the mother of 5-year-old twins (boy and girl) and wanted to create a holistic playroom that would serve as the learning and play hub of their home. She requested different learning areas that would include art, reading, science, blocks, games, dramatic play, and schoolwork. As a former preschool teacher, I could easily imagine these different “centers” and decided to approach it as if I were setting up a homeschool room.
My client’s most important request was to create a soothing atmosphere. Their old playroom was disorganized and a little chaotic with too many visible choices, which can be over-stimulating for kids.
The space they chose for their new playroom has two rooms, separated by a door. I decided to use the larger of the two rooms for the art, science, and schoolwork areas.
The smaller room was the perfect spot for a cozy reading nook as well as board games, blocks and manipulatives. Around the corner there is a tiny space where I added a light table and some translucent materials. In the other hidden corner there are large baskets and wall hooks for dress up clothes and a spot for their puppet theater.
After developing a plan and choosing products, I created a drawing and mood board of the room so my client could get a sense of what the finished space would be like. She wanted the style to be somewhat traditional, inspired by Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn Kids.
In order to minimize the stimulation from so many choices, my client asked if we could hide most of the art supplies from view. I decided to use their large bookshelf/cabinet from their old playroom and use streamlined baskets to hide the majority of supplies.
I also decided to keep her old art cart and organize it to hold a few supplies that might need to be wheeled around. This can be wheeled over to the easel for painting, or to the table to carry heavy clay.
Their previous playroom had an additional cart that was perfect for re-purposing as a science cart.
For this project I was super inspired by Playful Learning’s One Room School House. I that knew my client and her kids would love to have simple, inviting, science and writing centers similar to the ones from Playful Learning. So I pulled together all of their science materials on the cart in an inviting display and added a wall rack for writing tools.
I stored the rest of the art supplies in the large shelving unit. Inside the bottom cabinets are basic supplies like paper, stamps, glue, scissors, etc. Although they are behind closed doors, the kids can easily access these supplies on their own.
The baskets on the upper shelves hold extra supplies that can be brought down by an adult. Of course, labels make it so much easier to find what you are looking for!
The warm gray wall color adds a soothing element to this bright space, but also acts as a chalkboard and magnet wall.
The magnetic paint isn’t very strong, but it does hold fun site-word magnets (affiliate link). They are like the popular poetry fridge magnets, but they are made for kids!
For the second room I decided to create a simple reading area with big comfy chairs and extra floor space for playing. For the storage, I wanted to continue the use of streamlined baskets to hide the visual clutter. Here is the drawing and mood board of the space:
And here is the finished room:
This tiny corner nook was just the right size to add a light table and shelf. I left part of the shelf and some containers empty so that they will have room for new items that they will collect over time.
My girls were excited to see what I had been working on and came to visit me when I finished up the project. They loved checking out the new space! It was really sweet of my client to let them visit and I loved showing my kids what my work is all about.
Do you have a playroom or homeschool room that is separated into learning centers? Have you noticed how visual stimulation affects your kids? I’d love to hear your experience in the comments! Or if you are having trouble setting up your own art space, check out my e-guide, The New Playroom. It includes step-by-step instructions on how to set up a home art space for kids as well as ideas on how to introduce art supplies, keep kids engaged, and keep your space organized.