Solving Problems – Creating More

It was about 14 months ago that we did a major building project in the playroom space resulting in this combination block storage/housekeeping area counter;

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That renovation was done to eliminate a ‘runway’ to the nature area and gain more play space in the housekeeping area.  You can read more about it here.  I loved that design then and I still love it now but it had a minor flaw that became magnified when I made subsequent change to the music/workshop area.

Last winter I reconfigured my office area in the corner of the playroom – I was certain I had written about it but I went through the blog archives and could not find that post.  On the left side of the picture above you can see that the playroom originally had a 3’ x 3’ walkway that leads to a 4’ x 5’ music/workshop area.

This was fine for the workshop and housekeeping areas but when all the children wanted to play instruments and dance there was not much room.  So, I turned my desk which enabled me to add eight square feet to the music area;

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The extra space in the music area is wonderful.  Even when building projects from the adjacent block area spill over into the workshop area there is still room for a couple of music lovers to dance too.  The only issue was that the walkway was now very narrow but I figured it would be sufficient since it was just an entrance into a play area.

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Still, I did often have to remind children “Please keep moving, this is not a play area”.  I considered making ‘NO STOPPING’ signs or taping diagonal lines on the floor to designate it as a ‘no parking’ area.  Then over the spring and summer we spent most of our time outdoors and I didn’t think about the indoor walkway issue much.

Over the last few months several of our ‘old’ children moved away and new, younger, children have been enrolled.  Now that the remaining older children are at school I only have four children here in the mornings.  The oldest of the four little ones is not quite 2 ½ years old.  The walkway issue is bad – very bad.  In fact, the place where all four walkways converge has become the babies’ favourite ‘gathering’ spot and a dumping ground for toys.

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Sitting here they can see it all – my desk to the South, the music area to the West, the housekeeping area to the North, and to the East there is the hallway to the front door/kitchen and stairs.  They think it is the perfect spot.  These little ones don’t read signs or understand the meaning of diagonal lines on the floor. Even the older children are getting frustrated because the babies are always in the way.

They bring bins and baskets from other areas and sit together to play – effectively blocking all four walkways.  I sit on the floor in one of the ‘proper’ play areas and try to entice them to move.  They look at me, smile, and babble as if to say ‘If you want to play with us you’ll have to come and join the circle’.  I am outnumbered.

I have a plan.  I’ve been working on it all week – measuring, imagining, reconfiguring – I think it is going to work.  The indirect guidance necessary to solve the walkway problem but it also creates another one – my plan requires the assistance of someone with power tools.  My husband doesn’t always read my blog but if he’s reading this post – there’s a long weekend coming up, hint, hint….

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