Many years ago I constructed a nature loft in the corner of the playroom to maximize the play space by building a low platform with toy storage below. In the loft I used a combination of real and imitation nature items to bring the outdoors in and create a unique area for dramatic play. . The children loved to play here – they had picnics, went camping, and pretended to be animals. This nature loft was small but that didn’t prevent all the children from gathering there together and it also offered a secluded area where children could go to relax and reflect.
A few years later I relocated the playroom to a different part of the house. As I planned the renovation I knew that I wanted the new nature loft to be bigger and better than before. I designed it to have two levels – the upper level had trees, flowers and animals like the previous loft – the lower level was like a cave with an undersea theme. The children really enjoyed the new spaces but unfortunately I found it very stressful. To allow for the lower play space the deck was 18 inches high – twice the height of the original loft. The children often carried toys as they scrambled up and down the stairs and I worried that someone would fall. This concern for their safety prompted yet another renovation – yes, I do make a lot of changes.
This time I chose to make the loft area a library and I moved the nature area to the small room off the main playroom. Here there was a large window and much more space than there had been in any of the lofts. The extra space allowed me to add more items – like the old Christmas tree from our attic (a wonderful suggestion from my husband). I had originally arranged all the trees and plants around the perimeter of the room but felt this didn’t create the sheltered ‘in the forest’ type of environment that the lofts had offered. So, this weekend I made some more changes. Our new nature area looks like this;