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Calming Areas

nature's hide-away within a treeSometimes during play it is important to take a break, a breather so to speak. By including sheltered, cozy spaces for children in your playspace, you give them the chance to hide from the chaos of the playspace, plan their next activity, or take a rest. These spaces can be incorporated in a variety of ways throughout your playspace. Quiet places should let children feel hidden from view or create an opportunity to be alone with a friend or an adult (depending on age). Sometimes sounds can be muffled to further distance the child from the active and noisy play. You may want to include materials that encourage quiet play in these spaces. Provide books, as well as paper and pencils for planning new play ideas. Also, provide some different textured manipulatives to explore.

Quiet spaces in playspaces might be tunnels, caves, or the childhood classic, forts! In outdoor playspaces, tree houses and natural groves (between trees, rocks, and hills) are also places children find peace and solitude. Indoors, create places for quiet in distinct rooms or even corners with lots of pillows. Inside and out, children love playhouses and lofts where they find nooks and crannies just for them.

Helpful links:

All the Daze. (2005-2006). Designing a quiet time space. http://www.allthedaze.com/quietmenu.html

Case, Nancy Humphrey. (Sep-Oct, 2004). Fantastic forts, terrific treehouses. Mothering. http://www.mothering.com/fantastic-forts-terrific-tree-houses

Forever Young Treehouses, http://www.treehouses.org/

Sobel, David. (2002). Children's special places: Exploring the role of forts, dens, and bush houses in middle childhood. Michigan: Wayne State University Press.

(Photo courtesy of Free Play Networks)