Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Parent Project: Little Room

Hi blogland! This week I am sharing an article that was printed in our agency newsletter for families. As with every time I reprint something, here's the credit: This was written by Gail Johnson (a super talented preschool teacher). This was too good of a find to pass up. Happy reading and happy constructing! 

Lou’s Parents Create a Play Space for Their Child
 Gail A. Johnson, Preschool Consultant

Remember what it was like to “hide” under a table with a blanket over it and play in your own secret place?  Several parents/teams have created play spaces or a “little room” for their children. The “little room” is a stimulating environment originally developed by Dr. Lilli Nielsen, a Danish psychologist, to promote active learning. Children lie inside these box-like structures with favorite toys, familiar household objects and items that have interesting sensory properties hanging from the ceiling and walls. Lou’s parents created a “little room” for him when he was just a year old and wanted to share the following story with other parents:

After hearing our TVI speak of the idea of a “little room” it made so much sense to me that I wanted to give it a shot for Lou.  The materials were easy to gather and so off I went to my garage one Saturday morning.  My wife and I were so proud of what I had made that we could not wait to have the TVI visit again and share it with her.  On the day she came we had a great unveiling and were elated to see Lou so alert and happy in his “little room”. 

Green had always been Lou’s favorite color so we used it on the light box that BESB had provided.  I designed the top opening to support the light box so that Lou could be relaxed on his back and be free to enjoy his chosen color. Often, if upset, the only thing that will calm Lou is to spend time in his “little room”.  He makes more pleasure sounds there than anywhere else and appears to truly enjoy using his vision as he lies on his back and looks up.  My wife and I laugh and think he looks like the Incredible Hulk in the glow of the green light.  It has been a great experience being able to construct something Lou enjoys.

Below you will find more information on how you can create a  “little room” for your child, including  photos, a list of materials, and a schematic drawing. Special thanks to Lou’s parents for sharing this information and showing us what real teamwork is all about!

   Lou’s “little room” with APH Lightbox:

 Even the family cat enjoys Lou’s “little room”:

 Schematic Drawing of a “Little Room”

 How to Create a Little Room

1- 4’x 8’x 3/8” AC Plywood
1- 1”x 6”x 8’ Pine Board
1- Pair of Hinges
1- 1lb. 1” screws
Approx. 1 ½ yards black material (felt or carpet)

Cut List
Front (1)- 6” x  23 ¼”
Back (1)- 18”x 23 ¼”
Sides(2)- 18”x 24”
Top   (1)- 24”x 24”
Adjustable Panel- 24”x 16 ½” (notch)
Corner Blocks
        Back Vertical (2)- ¾” x ¾” x 17 ¼”
        Front Vertical (2)- ¾”x ¾” x 5 ¼”
        Back Vertical (1)- ¾” x ¾”x 21 ¾”
        Front Horizontal (1)- ¾” x ¾” x 21 ¾”
        Side Horizontal (1)- ¾” x ¾” x 21 ¾”
Adjustable Panel Guides (2)- ¾” x 2 ½” x 17 ¼”
                                           (1)- ¾” x 1 ¾” x 17 ¼”
Door Stops (2)- ¾” x 2 ½” x 21 ¾”


  1. I came to your blog through Making Lemonade and just wanted to say hello. I have a daughter who has Lebers Congenital Amaurosis, and I am so glad I found this blog. She just started Kindergarten this year, and ECC is in her IEP, but we are still sorting her all out. We used to live in CT and had BESB, and we miss it!!