Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Playspace Makeover

I am so happy that this mom emailed me this picture! I recently worked with this family and their playroom. The picture I posted is the "after" picture. Originally this space looked exactly like several other homes I visit: toy choices everywhere, bright warm patterns and a toy chest full of toys. Please note: There is nothing wrong with having a play space like this EXCEPT when you have a child with a vision impairment (especially CVI).

This is important: too many choices in a space is overwhelming for children with vision impairments. Too many choices create visual clutter!! It's too much for the child and it is often too much for other members of the family. The dad in this family mentioned that he was overwhelmed when I was discussing this room with them. That was another cue for me that we needed to change the dynamics in the room. It's important that parents and children feel good to work in the space.

How do you fix this space? Head to the fabric store and buy some black fabric in bulk!!
Step one: Reduce the toy choices and send half the toys on a toy vacation!! Pick toys that you know your child loves to play with.

Step two: Organize the toys in a way that your child likes. Some possible ideas are grouping toys by likeness (music toys in one bin), small toys on top shelf, big toys on bottom and super favorite toys at eye level.

Step three: Get a finished box! There should always be a beginning (picking a toy), middle (playing with the toy) and an end (cleaning up). Play time is also a great way to work on connected experiences for children. The children should be the ones who go to the toy shelf and pick something, play with it and they should put it away (either in finished box or back on the shelf).

Step four: Use the black fabric! This family did a great job of covering up the toy clutter. You can do this by using industrial velcro. Mom can pull up the fabric on one shelf at a time when her son is in the room.

Step five: Use a defined workspace! This mom did a great job of also changing the original carpet to a straight up black carpet!! The carpet does two things: 1) it's a defined workspace (her son knows that he has to keep toys on the carpet) and 2) the black is a clutter eraser for any toy. It will help with focusing on the toy and reducing clutter.

You can do this makeover in any space. I have also done a similar "cover up" in closets where there were too many clothing choices and have done this multiple times in playspaces.

The other thing that I love about how this room is that it still looks like a kids play space. The black did not pull away from the kid friendly energy. High five to this family! I had a great time working with them :)


  1. Hi- I'm so glad I found your blog. I am working on my son's playroom right now and I"m going to see if I can find a black rug.

    I added your site to my blogroll. I recently started a blog about my visually impaired son. Thanks for having such a helpful site. So glad I found it!


  2. Hi Jessica,
    Welcome to my blog! I am so glad you found me. Let me know if there is anything I can help with. Good luck on your playroom makeover!!