Family life has progressed beyond the days when all the toys and educational opportunities were relegated to a corner or a special room as to not interfere with home decor. Though I was a huge fan of Mad Men, it made me so sad to see those kids do nothing but put plastic dry cleaning bags over their heads or stare at the TV in a sparse living room.
Today, educational tools and toys go way beyond books and games in the family den or children’s rooms and don’t have to make your house look like Romper Room. At my house, evenings may involve spinning the globe in the living room in order to find France or looking at the framed Georgia O’Keefe on my girl’s bedroom wall and discussing the natural landscape that served as inspiration for her art. These and others can be found in the following ideas for inexpensive home decor elements that can keep your kids learning in every room of the house.
Most families have probably completed a puzzle on the dining table or completed homework in the kitchen during dinner prep, in which you are hopefully involving your kids so that they gain the learning value in cooking and following recipes. But you can also keep the educational activities going during the meal. Toddlers will love One Fish Two Fish printable placemats while older children can build their repertoire of words with placemats featuring vocabulary activities or some featuring science and geography lessons.
Yes, the bathroom. Periodic Table Shower Curtain anyone?
Rather than cute characters and your child’s name on the wall, why not adorn your son or daughter’s room with images of people, places and things that surround them with learning opportunities? My daughter loves her framed Georgia O’Keefe poster she got during a visit to the museum in Santa Fe. A solar system and animal kingdom poster above her loft bed, an alarm clock she sets herself rather than relying on Mommy, and Lego Friends all keep her brain busy.
The Living Room or Family Room
Books, games, and globes are certainly commonplace in many homes. But I’ve noticed some parents tend to keep these items hidden in an office or cabinet collecting dust. A key part of living a life focused on learning is having opportunities visible and accessible and incorporating educational resources into areas where children seek activities and entertainment. My daughter can access Harry Potter and a dictionary on the same shelf, or find Scrabble or her microscope kit amid craft kits and a telescope in the corner.
How do you arrange your home decor to help your child learn? Please share your ideas in the comments.