What Makes a Great Play Space?

Creating an enclosed play space in your home is a fantastic way to keep your child safe and entertained while you’re occupied with chores or work tasks. As your little one grows into a nursery-age child or toddler, you don’t need to watch them every second of the day. Placing your child in a cozy space where you can keep an eye on them will ensure they’re safe and supported while encouraging them to engage in independent play.

Most young children enjoy playing independently or with their siblings, which can promote healthy physical and mental development. According to research, play can help expand children’s creative capacities, improve their vocabulary and story-telling abilities, enhance their problem-solving skills, and much more. Play can also boost children’s confidence, independence, physical fitness, social skills, self-esteem, and resilience. Impressive!

With these benefits in mind, we’ve collated some helpful tips for creating a safe play space that will encourage your children to learn while keeping them away from household hazards like stairs, pets, toxic cleaning products, and more.

1. Find a suitable part of the home

The first step to creating the perfect play space is to select a safe and calm part of your home – preferably wherever you spend most of your time. Try to stay away from heavy-duty furniture, stairs, ornaments, TV stands, and anything that could topple over and hurt your child. It’s also a good idea to find an area where the floor is as soft as possible to ensure your little one doesn’t sustain any bruises during playtime. If necessary, you could purchase a soft play mat to cushion any falls and bumps.

2. Childproof your room

Once you’ve selected an area for your play space, it’s worth child-proofing the room to minimize hazards as much as possible. Vital steps to remember include:

  • Removing items that your child may put in their mouth
  • Covering plug sockets
  • Placing foam protectors over sharp hazards such as cabinet corners
  • Anchoring furniture to the walls
  • Removing hanging items such as blind cords and mobiles

For extra peace of mind, you may wish to purchase a baby gate to keep the whole room secure, particularly if you have an energetic dog or cat on the loose.

3. Invest in a playpen

A playpen is like a small playroom you can set up anywhere in your home. Despite being designed for children, many playpens lack even the most basic comforts like padding over exposed metal. To ensure the safest play environment possible, search for a playpen with padded rails, comfy floors, and child-proof locks to prevent accidents. By investing in a high-quality playpen, you'll instantly set up an excellent play space for your child without having to spend time and effort creating an enclosed space from scratch.

Hiccapop’s PlayPod Portable Playpen for Babies and Toddlers is one of the best playpens on the market, featuring a large play area to fit multiple babies or toddlers. hiccapop’s playard is ideal for both indoor and outdoor spaces, with a dome to shield children from the sun, tear-resistant fabric, anti-slip feet, a padded floor and top rails, and much more! It’s also easy to pack away and transport when not in use – perfect for trips to the park or a day out at a family member’s house.

4. Source age-appropriate toys

Once you’ve sorted the structural elements of your child’s enclosed play space, it’s time to fill it with toys they’ll love. Obviously, you should always remember to source toys that don’t present choking hazards. Avoid any items smaller than the hole of a roll of toilet paper. Here are a few examples of fun, educational toys your toddler will love in their playpen:

  • A drawing mat requiring only water pens
  • A large rainmaker
  • Rag dolls
  • Big puzzle cubes
  • Plush toys
  • A play gym
  • Picture books

If you want to look after the environment and curb your spending habits, it’s worth checking out second-hand stores for pre-loved toys or accepting hand-me-downs from family members. Young children often get bored of toys quickly, so minimizing your spending on new toys is a great way to make your play space as eco-friendly as possible!

5. Place a child monitor nearby

Ideally, you'll keep a relatively close eye on your child while they’re playing. However, we understand that you’ll need to dash to the kitchen or laundry room every so often – we’ve all been there! Just remember to keep the receiver on you at all times and keep the volume up so you can catch any problems immediately. You should also ensure any cords attached to the monitor are safely secured to prevent strangulation.

6. Clean up regularly

Babies and toddlers are programmed to explore the world by putting things in their mouths – this can present a health risk if you’re not careful with your cleaning regimen. Try to clean and disinfect the play space regularly using a sponge or mop, avoiding toxic cleaning chemicals that could harm your child. To maintain a tidy house, it’s also a good idea to invest in a toy box to keep your child’s toys packed away while not in use. As well as making your home feel neater and calmer, keeping toys off the floor will ensure adults don’t have any nasty falls!

Encourage play and help your child thrive!

Creating a safe play space for your child is a crucial step in nurturing a happy, independent, and confident child. By following the guidance above, you can minimize the risk to your little one and enjoy the peace of mind that every parent craves. While scraped knees and minor bruises are bound to occur from time to time, investing in a playpen can eliminate significant risks and encourage your child to make safe choices while satisfying their natural curiosity.

For more information about hiccapop’s versatile playpen, head to our product page. You can also get in touch with our friendly team if you have any questions. We’d love to hear from you!

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