5 Tips for Creating a Magical Children's Learning Space
You've done a makeover on your workspace, but what about a space for your kids? While in the process of transforming an old school bus into an inviting makerspace, we discovered a few tricks that have the power to turn even the most uninviting or unimaginable of spaces into a place where kids can create, get cozy, and discover a love of learning. Here's a few lessons from the magic bus that you can try out just about anywhere...
Contrary to popular belief, kids can actually experience real learning in places other than a desk (or screen, for that matter...).
Crazy, we know.
For a truly magical set-up, try creating a seating arrangement that match the preferences of your little one rather than the preferred seating of 1950's schoolroom teachers. Do you ever find your kiddo reading while reclined? Try a couch, futon, or (in our case!) bunkbed with some kid-friendly clipboards as a workspace option. Or maybe your little one is a mover and a shaker? Try a small table turned kid-sized stand-up desk or a yoga mat for full work flexibility.
Swings, giant stuffed teddy bears, picnic benches, converted bedside tables -- there's no limit to what can be repurposed into unique seating (or standing, laying, 'downward dogging'...) arrangements for whatever work position is most appealing to your little learner.
You have to admit those Scandinavians certainly enjoy being cozy.
You know who else enjoys being cozy? Your kid.
There's just nothing better than finding the perfect, cozy spot to curl up with a good book to read, journal to write in, or even math worksheet to complete. After all, everything is better with oversized pillows, chunky blankets, good smells, warm lighting, and relaxing background music. Ah...
Thank you, Denmark. For inspiring us all to scooch a bit more towards the comfy side of life.
Find Kid-Friendly Storage Solutions
There is a reason why open shelving is so appealing (at least on our Pinterest boards), it's the draw of knowing exactly where everything you need is exactly when you need it.
Kids (Pinterest-ers or not...) feel the same draw for easy access. So why not give it to them?
Rather than putting supplies up high in top secret places -- increasing the chance that little project-doers will come to you over and over again to retrieve glue, paper, scissors, markers -- why not put frequently used supplies in kid-reachable spots in kid-friendly containers.
Super Glue? Hard no. Glue Sticks? Absolutely. Liquid Glue? We'll leave that one up to your personal discretion...
Display what Matters
We have to confess that it was sooo hard to say goodbye to our carefully curated education tchotchkes, but we very quickly realized that with about 100 square feet of floor space to work with, there simply wasn't room on the little bus to prioritize what we, the adults, wanted.
So yeah, space to display treasures was and is important. Just not our treasures...
When our first little guest boarded the bus with sprigs of the first blossoming branches of spring, 3 giant pine cones, and some original art, we quickly came to the realization that we needed some creative storage solutions that could show-off the things that truly mattered.
So think of ways to hang pictures, showcase stories, group collections, and present Lego towers with pride.
The tchotchkes can wait.
Turn Every Surface into a Creation Zone
If we thought floor space on the bus was limited, that was just because we hadn't dealt with wall space yet. With windows, vents, AC units, heaters and emergency doors, wall space was practically non-existent. This led to a real challenge in finding areas for kids to actually create.
Long story short, we improvised.
Painting furniture with whiteboard paint, sticking magnet words and letter to metal surfaces, covering doors with chalkboard paint, and adding useable pegboard to the backs of shelving and bunkbeds -- we found ways to allow kiddos to interact with practically every hard space on the bus.
You could do the same thing anywhere.
So why not give it a try? Get a little creative with your materials and surfaces to allow your little ones to get creative. Period.