Incorporating Design for Kids

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Earlier this week AT:NY slinked House in Progress' "How to Incorporate Design for Children in a House?"

Jeanne wrote, "The designing for children I'm referring to doesn't mean decorating or wall decals or toy bins. It's more about designing space to allow children to participate in everyday activities with us." She goes on to write about Dr. Maria Montessori's finding that "given the choice between pretend play and engaging in a real life activity such as cooking, children chose to participate in real life activities. Providing opportunities for this type of independence helped to increase children's self-esteem." And she wonders about how to incorporate Montessori principles into a house.

[see tips below the jump]

We grew up in a household where kids and adults alike sat in Tulip Chairs at a Saarinen Dining Table. We kids performed tasks such as setting the table for dinner and feeding the dogs and cats, and we put our toys away at the end of the day. There wasn't special furniture or accommodations; we just lived. So...it's a different era, we don't have kids, and we wonder what you think about the suggestions that House in Progress' readers made. Are they practical and necessary, or are they extreme?

• Keep one low, child-accessible drawer or cabinet filled with kids' dishes, cups, silverware, napkins
• Put additional hooks on a halltree about halfway up the post so that kids can hang up their own things
• Have a child-height table and two small chairs in the family room that the kids can sit at when eating dessert and watching TV, and also use it as a play/craft table
• Keep a sturdy tall stool in your kitchen so that kids can sit on the stool and help wash dishes
• Keep a sturdy single step stool in every bathroom to allow access to sinks
• Keep a single step stool in the kitchen for the counter
• Make sure there is a child-sized chair in the kid's bedroom
• Allow for a small kid-scaled "away space," such as a walk-in closet that contains the dress-up clothes trunk and can double as a castle, fort, airplane, etc.
• Everything has a place, kids know it, and they can reach it. Lots of color coding
• Cubbies, and one toy per cubby
• Paint existing steel kitchen cabinets with blackboard paint, so they can host both drawings and magnets
Crate & Barrel has items such as small white plates and bowls, bagel spreaders that are easy to hold and don't cut hands efficiently and cocktail forks, spoons and knives, scoops
Ikea has the right table and chair from 18-months on up
Ikea has those drop leaf tables that are mounted to the wall at any height for kids to use for baking
Ikea has these tiny jars that little hands can open
• The Kik-Step is a great stool because it stays put
• Put a snack cabinet, table and a peg rack with a right-sized mop, broom, pail & sponge, feather duster and velcro (do-it-yourself) apron along one kitchen wall. Drill all handles and attach a leather loop. These items are easily adjusted for growth or easily removed when they're outgrown

Thanks, House in Progress!