Calling all people with playrooms....how to get the kids to actually play in it?

(43 Posts)
icravecheese Fri 22-Feb-13 16:23:57

We are fortunate enough to have a largeish playroom (16ft x 7ft) which is basically a glorified toy storage room....the kids just seem to drag stuff out of it & into the lounge to play with.

I have tried to put in lots of storage, some tables to sit at, a blackboard, Ikea play kitchen, Barbie house etc, but unless I'm physically in there with the kids, they rarely play in there on their own.

Is it just my kids or do others find similar happens at home? What else can I do to entice them in there (& stay in there)? Ages are 6, 4 & 17mnths. If they're not going to use it as a playroom then I'll do something else with it!

ISeeSmallPeople Fri 22-Feb-13 16:24:41

Lock them in grin

FunnysInLaJardin Fri 22-Feb-13 16:25:23

a TV. That was the only way to keep my DC from gravitating towards the front room where the tv is

Waferthinmint Fri 22-Feb-13 16:25:39

Oi, the barbie house stays in the playroom or I'll confiscate it - usually works for me.

ChasingSquirrels Fri 22-Feb-13 16:27:41

they are very young - they want to be with you.
I put on an playroom extension when mine were 4 and 7, it is part toy-storage and part room to play in - but it is mainly used because it has double doors into the lounge and so when they are playing there they still feel like they are in the same place as me.
They are now 10 and 7, it houses the PC, the Wii, a large storage bookcase with various toys and games, an ikea kids table and chairs (but only cos I had no where else to put it) and the lego collection which ds2 plays with daily.

Watching for tips, the TV sounds like the best idea hmm

BuiltForComfort Fri 22-Feb-13 16:29:44

I used to have a playroom but have converted it back to a dining room /study/ playroom now as it was getting no use unless I was there too. IME dc want to be where you are! I suspect this only stops when they suddenly want to be on their own in their rooms ... Sorry not to be more help!

icravecheese Fri 22-Feb-13 16:37:05

Loving the locking in idea grin

But I guess you're right squirrels, I'm aware that they do just want to be with us at the mo (obviously don't expect 17month old to play in there on her own, but actually she's the only one who sits in there on her own, chewing bits of Lego!)....

Might try tv when they're abit older. The older 2 play beautifully together usually when I'm in there, but as soon as I leave room, even just to make a cuppa, their game finishes & they follow me, mooning around in lounge saying they're bored. Grrr...

Flossiechops Fri 22-Feb-13 16:37:38

Mine are 9 & 8 and still won't play in there. We even had a second sky box put in there in the vain hope they would use it. Nope they much prefer to be the main lounge all the time! Waste of space I think!!

MarianForrester Fri 22-Feb-13 16:43:27

Another one with the same problem! Maybe I should just change its use, from the sound of it.

forevergreek Fri 22-Feb-13 16:56:43

Growing up we had a playroom. It had a large corner sofa in and my parents used it as the main room in the day whilst we played. It meant that the Playroom door could be shut at the end of the day and the house was toy free.

Could you do something similar? Once they are also used to he idea over a few months then toys generally don't really get removed.

icravecheese Fri 22-Feb-13 17:01:01

Thanks forevergreek...I have thought about putting a sofa in there, so it's like a 2nd lounge stuffed full of toys (& keep main living room as adult evening lounge)....might scour Ikea website for cheap sofas....

roundtoit Fri 22-Feb-13 17:05:06

i had sofa and tv in my playroom and same as forevergreek used play room till the children were in bed then just shut door on all the mess and moved in the lounge.

ISeeSmallPeople Fri 22-Feb-13 17:06:57

Ours has glass doors. They can see me I'm not that cruel

Sofa with you on it is the only way. day dreaming of what you can turn the room into when they stop playing with toys, & prefer girls or computers, & how much you will have to spend when you've sold the non chewed Lego

FunnysInLaJardin Fri 22-Feb-13 17:09:29

we also have 2 huge bean bags and a small chair and table set. We also say that they are not really allowed in the main front room as that way it keeps gronwup and tidy for when we want to use it after they are in bed. We would never say they can't go in there but do say it's a grownups room and that they should play in their playroom.

agnesf Fri 22-Feb-13 17:12:28

In our old house we had a playroom which was also quite big and we basically banned the kids from playing in the lounge and did not allow any toys in there. We did this from when they were babies. So it did get used esp as it had a door out onto the garden. However they often ended up playing with friends in their bedrooms.

Now we have moved and have no playroom so they are stuck with bedroom or lounge if they want to Xbox.

AllDirections Fri 22-Feb-13 17:14:10

I found that I had the same problem so when we moved to this house I did what forever has described -

Growing up we had a playroom. It had a large corner sofa in and my parents used it as the main room in the day whilst we played. It meant that the Playroom door could be shut at the end of the day and the house was toy free.

I also put a tv in there with some extra digital channels and a desktop pc and it works a treat. My front room is boring now stays tidy and quiet grin

annalouiseh Fri 22-Feb-13 17:30:02

put in things they know there not allowed
Dh phone smile
tv controller etc
then the DH.... then lock and go out

midastouch Fri 22-Feb-13 17:36:05

No advice, sorry. We have a room in the cellar we use as a playroom for DCs --idea being that i could shut the door on a playroom and ignore all the crap all over the floor- but the same things happens in my house i end up with most of the playroom in my living room, and at the end of the day i have to find my floor again.

MousyMouse Fri 22-Feb-13 17:38:17

I'm just very boooroing mumsnetting on the ipad so they go there and pull everything out the shelfs play nicely for a bit.
they also have limited screen time and know that they are not allowed toys in the lounge...

MrsAmaretto Fri 22-Feb-13 18:02:21

I have a cheap ikea sofa in ours, son will stay in if I'm there (2.5 years).

dikkertjedap Fri 22-Feb-13 18:04:12

We have a sofa in our playroom, so one adult sits on the sofa if not actively playing and reads a book or just watches.

fabbadabbado Fri 22-Feb-13 22:25:09

TV. Had to get Virgin in other room thing with Cartoon Network to complete it (and tell them it was no longer available on the TV in the living room)

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 10:36:12

We had a playroom in our house - it was the conservatory.
So it had the added advantage of being the route to the garden, too.
And it housed the washing machine and pantry, so Mum was always to-ing and fro-ing. It had a huge glass window into the house so we could see everything that was going on in the house.
But we only really used it in the summer.

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 10:39:57

don't scour Ikea for a cheap settee- it's soooo going to get food mushed into it - go to a charity shop that specializes in furniture and buy a couple of cheap big chairs or settees from them.
They're usually very good quality and last forever!
and usually about a third of the price of even the cheapest new one.

forevergreek Sat 23-Feb-13 12:20:16

Nickel- if food stays at kitchen table why would it be smeared on sofas? A genuine question, we have no playroom but have white sofas/ white rugs with 2 children 3 years and under. The kitchen is actually open planned to lounge but no food is allowed away from the table. They even return to table to drink their water then put it back without being told ( in non spill beakers). Hands/ face cleaned after meals and bibs worn during. Surely it's just what they learn? Saves cleaning dirty hand prints etc also

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 12:35:43

food stays at the kitchen table?
shock

that's why - i have never successfully kept food at the kitchen table in my life.
as kids, we would basically eat dinner at the table, but everything else, especially snacks and breakfast would be eaten wherever we were.
still do that now.
so children inevitably drop food.

am very impressed that your food stays at the kitchen table.

but even if we're not talking food, then a playroom will probably have playdoh, plasticine, crayons, etc. things that do make a mess and are totally acceptable in a playroom.

forevergreek Sat 23-Feb-13 13:56:33

Maybe, but yes food, play dough, crayons etc all stay at the table. Playroom in my opinion is for toys/ games/ etc etc, not food, bits of dried play dough, paint smears.

MegBusset Sat 23-Feb-13 14:04:14

Playroom is exactly the right place for playdoh, it's not allowed in the rest of the house!

OP we have this problem too, we have a conservatory which we use as a playroom but the toys do tend to drift into the front room. I have given up worrying too much as long as everything gets shoved back in there at bedtime. To be fair it is freezing in there at the moment (only has a crappy electric heater) so I wouldn't want to play in there either.

We do have two armchairs in there (Ikea, £15, wipe-clean!) and in warm weather I sit in there with a coffee while the DC play.

midastouch Sat 23-Feb-13 14:38:36

We do not have paints, pens in the playroom thats done at the table--not that i dont trust them hmm-- nor do they take food into the playroom. And as for plalydo i hate the stuff! DS aunt brought him some for christmas it may have accidently got mixed up in the charity bag

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 14:49:44

i agree with Meg - playroom is for mess, rest of house, neat and clean (ish)

forevergreek Sat 23-Feb-13 15:05:59

But what about the other things in te playroom? I wouldn't want their nice dolls house painted, play dough stuffed in lego etc. ther stuffed toys would be coated in paint and clothes ruined.

Don't get me wrong they can paint and roll in dirt but there's a time and a place. Painting isn't done here without painting overalls and me on hands to wash hands once they have finished, and move paints away. Likewise they go out to the park and some home thick in mud, that's fine, but shoes/ coats/ dirty trousers taken straight off in the hallway and hands/ faces washed.

MegBusset Sat 23-Feb-13 15:08:07

I don't actually allow paints in the house at all. Or glitter <mean>. They get plenty of that at school/playschool.

Playdoh is the only really messy thing we have in the house, they are well trained to keep it on the little table in the playroom.

Whirliwig72 Sat 23-Feb-13 15:28:45

Yep we have the exact same problem - I'm currently sitting in playroom which is immaculate, children are in living room disembowelling a box of tissues! hmm

jaynebxl Mon 25-Feb-13 06:25:38

I keep paint and play dough for the dining table. We are hopefully moving soon to a house with a playroom. I'm under no illusions, I'm expecting my kids will bring their toys into the lounge or kitchen diner or wherever I am but I am excited that once those toys are finished with they will go straight back in the play room. Also when they have play dates over they will hopefully be more interested in playing in the play room then.

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 25-Feb-13 10:26:59

We had a playroom when we were teens. I guess it's a little different from your LOs age! We had a sofa, tv and a nintendo in ours. Friends got pool tables..

I think at their age, they like to be around you. So if you want them to play in it, you'll have to sit there and play with them yourself?

Yfronts Tue 26-Feb-13 23:54:20

can you start sitting in their room when they start playing and then when they are in full playing mode slip out? get them used to being in there

Startail Tue 26-Feb-13 23:56:58

it's useful toy storage, but they still clutter up the living room and their bedrooms with toys and play there.

deleted203 Wed 27-Feb-13 00:11:32

Hooray! Everyone else has the same problem! (I have no solutions, BTW).

Can I just say that we bought our house, pretty much on the grounds of the 'playroom'. Which is a fabulous, ex-stable in the garden that the previous owners converted. It sold the house to me!

How marvellous, I thought. It has a large room with a tiny downstairs toilet and sink. It has carpet, heating and electric. There is a sofa and a TV in there. It has wonderful stairs going up to a lovely carpeted room with a window. What a fantastic playroom it will make for the older DCs (then aged 7,8 & 10). They can have it for their own space, make as much noise as they like. Toys will be out of the way!

Nope. They none of them wanted to play in it. They wanted to be in the house. And they wanted to trash every room in it, forcing me to step on bits of lego/action figures/play doh.

Our playroom sits sadly alone and unused (even now the DCs are in their teens/20s). It is now full of unwanted junk!

yomellamoHelly Wed 27-Feb-13 09:49:11

Ours is used, but as others have said it's our daytime living room so I'm always in there with the kids. Have TV in there too (for my sanity / give me a break mainly). Dc tend to follow me round wherever I go, so it's the only way it works.

icravecheese Wed 27-Feb-13 13:00:21

oh no sowornout!! What monkeys your kids are! Can't believe they still won't use it when they're teens/20's!!
If I were you, I'd turn it into a little sanctuary for you - kettle, mini fridge / bar, sofa, tv....escape the house and disappear in there.

No doubt they'll follow you in....I guess at whatever age, kids just want to be near their parents!

Potterer Wed 27-Feb-13 13:56:28

We have a playroom, it does have a sofa in it. My two are much older than yours but we had a playroom in whichever house we have been in for 9 years.

So with the older ones they understand that a room has a purpose, ie a bedroom is where you sleep, you wouldn't sleep in a kitchen for instance, we don't take food into the bathroom, the dining room is where you eat (well it is in this house, no other purpose) so the playroom is where you play.

The living room is a no toy zone. I am happy to spend time in the playroom with them, but we don't bring toys into the lounge. They are free to have a toy travel round the house with them but it must go back into the playroom. I think it helps that their bedrooms are just for sleeping and chilling in, they do homework at desks in the playroom.

consonant Wed 27-Feb-13 17:18:46

a playroom needs to be near the kitchen or wherever you spend most of your time for the kids to be happy in there. we are in the process of resiting ours for this reason... we are reclaiming the old one as a study!

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