Can your playroom affect your child's brain?

4 reasons a thoughtfully, organized playroom positively influences your child’s success in school

How playrooms affect kids brains

Playtime is a very important aspect of every child’s day. Play is the true work of a child. Children are busy when they are playing, and they are learning when they play. 

For example, when children are looking, pouring, bouncing, hiding, building, knocking down, climbing, running, and play-acting they are still learning! However, a room stuffed full of toys will not invite creative, independent, sustained play. 

Playrooms must be well organized with learning centers where everything is in place so that when kids want to create, build or pretend, they have everything they need right at their fingertips. The Smart Playrooms team, Karri Bowen-Poole and Chris Simpson, share these four reasons why a playroom encourages success in school:

1. An organized playroom allows children to engage in creative, independent play. This type of play has positive effects on the brain and on a child’s ability to learn. In fact, recent research has shown that creative, independent play may function as an important, if not crucial, mode for learning. You can encourage creative, independent play in children by providing open-ended toys and creating an organized space for playtime.

Read more: "How can I keep my kids entertained inside?"

2. Creating a pretend play center will invite creative play. Studies reveal a link between pretend play and the development of language skills. It has been found that children who engage in pretend play have better language skills - both receptive language (what a child understands) and expressive language (the words she speaks). Pretend play can also help enhance their relationships with others as children grow older.

3. An organized block center with age-appropriate building materials and plenty of floor space will encourage children to build. Block play is linked to better math skills. Researchers found that 4-year olds who played with blocks were more likely to achieve high math scores in high school. In order to encourage powerful block play at home, it’s recommended that parents have an efficient system of block storage and organization in the playroom.

Read more: Manage the paper mounds!

4. Organized block centers inspire complex building and creating. This type of building teaches creative, divergent problem-solving. Psychologists recognize two major types of problems. Convergent problems have only one correct solution. Divergent problems can be solved in multiple ways. 

Because kids can put together blocks in a variety of ways, block play is divergent play. Recent research found that children who played with blocks performed better on divergent problems. They also showed more creativity in their attempts to solve the problems. Divergent play with blocks prepares children to think creatively and better solve divergent problems.