Decorating Children's Rooms to Stimulate their Imagination
When we set out to decorate Alfie’s room this time last year, our mission was very much about creating a room that would stimulate his imagination. He was not quite 6 at the time, and known to be very “creative” both visually and imaginatively, so having somewhere that he could explore that side of his character was important to us.
He just liked the idea of a room based on travel, because by then he was well versed in my hectic travel schedule, and I suppose the theme allowed him to explore that, to see where in the world I was, within the boundaries of an environment that was comfortable to him. You can read more around the ideas behind Alfie’s room here.
The colours that we chose together, make this a happy room, primary bright colours, a huge amount of yellow, which from a colour psychology point of view, is a very happy colour. We wanted this room to be fun, but we also wanted to create a room that would educate him too, without him even realising it, and the choice of a World Map from Rebel Walls, did just that. He got a travel theme with a bit of whimsy, especially with the hot air balloons hanging from the ceiling, and soon, without even consciously realising it, he knew all of the continents in the world, because they were right next to his bed.
At night, when we were discussing where I was heading to that week, I could show him on the map, and in his own mind he then knew that he could look up from his bed and see where I was in the world, and know, rather than have to imagine, where and how far.
We also found an addition to our bedtime routine, we could plan holidays, we could talk about different countries and what was special about them, which ones I had visited and lived in, and which ones Daddy had too.
Soon, he knew a huge amount of geography, without really having to try.
But today’s post is less about the geography education and more about how Alfie’s room stimulates his imagination and supports his thought processes and well being.
This was never a post I intended on writing. It came about with a trip to Texas on the horizon and while I was explaining to Alfie about the culture in America, all while showing him exactly where I was going on the map. But, then I realised, just how much this room and it’s decor supports him and his growth and I thought it was a point worth sharing for those of you considering decorating a kids room.
Alfie asked if we could play dressing up. You can see the photos I took of him above and below, in his indian headdress with his suitcase and bunny packed ready to go. As part of this dressing up ritual, I explained that while wearing an Indian headdress was okay for him to do as a child, within the confines of his own home, many in people in the USA would find it offensive. Indeed, in choosing to dress up in this way, we had managed to discuss cultural issues, issues that matter to other people, without making it too big or difficult and issue for a 6 year old to understand.
He’s not sad that he is not coming with me, well subconsciously maybe a little bit, but this small amount of role play, with him understanding the country that I was visiting and the process of packing and getting ready for travelling that I go through, has made him feel less sad about me going. We created these pictures together so he can look at them while I am away, look at his map and know in his imagination, his version of the stories, what type of country I’m visiting, the history and the cultural things that matter. At this age, the accuracy of the facts is less important than his emotional well being, him being comfortable with me going so far away..
We also played with a new photography app, that allowed us to add to nature; clouds and trees to his room and create images that were fun and realistic of his Indian warrior role.
You can see below, we’ve created weather, as we talked about the types of weather mummy might get next week and how it will be very warm compared to here, where it may very well be raining or perhaps even some snow falling.
And we picked up on time, the fact that not everyone lives in the same time zone, and that as you move from left to right you travel backwards or forwards in time. He now understands that I will be 6 hours behind him, so face-timing me when he wakes up means he is very likely to wake me from sleep.
Phew, you see this was useful for me too!
And I thought that maybe that was that, but Alfie was now well into the swing of things, perhaps buoyed by the amount of laughter we had generated and some proper quality time ahead of Mummy going away for nearly three weeks, and so we carried on looking at themes that were important to him.
Now as a parent this is where you have to go with the flow a little bit, because I’m not quite sure how we went from Texas to a spooky Halloween Harry Potter theme, other than:
a) Alfie loves Harry Potter
b) We have just had Halloween
c) We were also discussing where Harry Potter lives on the world map
But it does’t actually really matter, because at the end of the day, the whole point of creating this room, this space, was to stimulate his imagination, for it to be whatever he wants it to be, and if that means we move from Texas to Indians to time and to Harry Potter and Halloween, that’s fine, because as you have read through this post, have you seen how much he has learned as well as how much we have stimulated his imagination?
So, I’m glad we put a lot of effort into this room, into creating a room that not only looks nice, but feels happy, that is educational, that stimulates role play and imagination, but also plays to his emotional well being, his understanding of the world and the countries we live in, (time and weather also), but probably most important for him, knowing where Mummy is when she travels, that he can imagine me, when he is missing me, and has a real idea of where I am.
The Girl with The Green Sofa