We all know that encouraging children to read is a key part of their learning experience–but it’s not the only factor. PLAY is also an essential part of a child’s growth and development. For that reason, well-designed children’s library spaces aren’t just set up like a “children’s section” of a bookstore–they’re also designed to encourage play. Let’s talk about why this is important and how you can choose furnishings that promote more play among your younger library visitors.
Why Playtime Is Important in Children’s Spaces
Play is crucial for children’s physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development. It helps them to explore their world and figure out how it works. Through play, they learn important life skills like problem-solving and cooperation. And perhaps most importantly, playtime is when children learn to use their imaginations. Children learn through play, and playtime activates their imaginations so they have even more of a capacity to learn!
Now, obviously, a library also exists for reading and study, so when we talk about “play,” we’re not talking about “playground” play where kids are running around, yelling, etc. However, quiet play can be just as beneficial for kids as active, loud play (perhaps even more so)–and there are creative ways to design children’s sections of the library that are conducive to enjoying relatively quiet playtime.
Tips for Furnishing Children’s Spaces to Encourage More Play
Understanding how important it is to gear your children’s space for play–how do you accomplish this effectively? Here are some practical tips:
– Choose furniture that is comfortable and inviting for both children and adults. This could mean soft, plush seating, or tables and chairs with a variety of heights to accommodate different ages.
– Try to create a variety of spaces in the library–places where children can be alone with a book or story, as well as places where they can gather with friends to play games or build towers out of blocks.
– Make sure there are plenty of materials available for creative playtime–blocks, dolls, puppets, arts and crafts supplies, etc.–as well as books that lend themselves to imaginative play (fairy tales, adventure stories, etc.).
– Use bright colors and interesting shapes in your décor to stimulate the senses and engage the imagination of young visitors.
Furnishings that Specifically Encourage More Play
These days, there are selections of children’s library furnishings available that integrate work spaces with play spaces. Some examples include:
– “Discovery Tables”–child-sized tabletops with puzzles or building blocks integrated into the surface and shelving.
– Whiteboard Tables–child-sized tables with a whiteboard surface that encourages kids to draw right on the surface.
– Parent/Child Carrels–cubicles that combine an adult-sized workspace with a child-sized play space so parents and children can enjoy time together.
– Themed seating–cushioned seating in fun configurations like a train or caterpillar that spark a child’s imagination.
If you’re reimagining your children’s library space with more PLAY in mind, Creative Library Concepts can get you the furnishings you need to make it a warm and welcoming space. To learn more about our products, reach out to us today.