Re: children's playrooms
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2004 05:48:21 -0700 (PDT)
We started with a "children's room" that quickly became a children under 5 room because the activities of children under five did not mix at all with the preteen set who were doing karate and playing basketball with all the children's toys, destroying them in the process. What we have settled on is the need for a small children's room and an "active play space" that also can be used for hanging out by teenagers and ping pong by all ages.

The small children's room is stocked with second hand toys and is heavily used almost every day by parents who bring toddlers there for an hour or so after dinner or during the day when they have other children visiting or kids just want to play together. The parents can sit in the room and chat or sit just outside the door in the sun room. Having a separate area keeps all the toys and some of the noise contained. It also keeps the children safe during large events although children are by no means confined to that room.

We did not build an active playroom and are very sorry. We need a hang out for older kids of all ages and activities like ping pong which allow generations to mingle. We have many adults without children who would like a structured activity like ping pong that would help them interact more naturally with the over 10-age group. Under 10 children are more open and easier to approach. Particularly since the older children have not grown up here, they tend to stay to themselves.

We are finding that we built too many small rooms in our commonhouse. Larger rooms that could be variously divided and changed from time to time would have been better. The small rooms (office, music room) become catch-alls and are not fully used spaces although their functions are important. We have just moved the piano to the living room which is used mostly for meetings and the piano is now used much more and is more available for sing alongs.

We still have a dilemma about a large workshop we built. It is perfect for active play but is used mostly for storage of community maintenance equipment. Some projects but nothing ongoing. The workshop people say that it is because we don't have the "real" equipment they need to really use the space. The facilities people say, where else would we put all the ladders, buckets, lawn mowers, shovels, etc. In the meantime it is under utilized and the discussion continues.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.