Great kid’s furniture can transform kids’ confidence and encourage their independence.
Kids’ play furniture can help build confident, independent kids. That might sound like an exaggeration, but peel back what kids’ furniture really allows your kids to do and you’ll see why.
At GRASP we're passionate about helping kids learn independently, building confidence from an early age in skills that will stick with them for life. Confidence comes from competence, so the more you can expose your kids to new challenges, the more they’ll learn to overcome new things and grow in confidence. To help kids enjoy discovering and learning about the world around them, we’re always looking at the power of different products and how to use space in our homes well to encourage kids to step out on their own.
When it comes to play furniture and the space to give it in your home, there can be confusion about what its purpose really is. It’s tempting to view it as just a way to help kids imitate grown-ups – in the same way role play and dressing up does. But while it’s certainly an important aspect of play furniture - we wrote about the 5 reasons role play and creative play are important for your child’s development here – that’s not all there is to it.
We tend to understand the importance of giving kids functional furniture around the rest of the house. In our bathrooms we have steps designed to help kids use the toilet or reach the sink by themselves. In the bedroom we know our kids need kid-sized beds to be able to get in and get up by themselves. We recognise that if want our kids to become more independent, not constantly needing our help all the time, they need this kind of help.
The best bathroom furniture that will help your kid grow in independence
- These great step stools for kids that are beautifully designed with great colour options to match any bathroom.
- These disposable, flushable wipes (not strictly furniture) but a great idea for helping kids learn to wipe up as they learn to use the toilet by themselves
- This toothbrush range designed to help your kids brush their teeth from toddler through to school age. Simple designs solving a big pain point for parents.
- Our very own Pebbl bath time brush to encourage kids to wash themselves. A typical sponge or cloth isn’t going to get them very far – even as an adult it’s hard to keep the soap on the sponge. The Pebbl is easy to hold – made from silicone and specifically designed for kids hands.
- This Hevea natural rubber, non-slip mat for the bath tub so you can feel confident they secure as they play about and learn to wash themselves.
How can play furniture builds kids’ confidence and independence?
The right functional furniture, designed specifically for your kids, can give them confidence in three ways. It shapes their sense of ownership about the space they live in, which gives them the confidence to be who they are. It shapes their confidence about what they can do in that space, helping them be pro-active in what they play. And finally, it shapes how accessible their things are which encourages independence and stops them passively waiting for the next instruction.
Space is not endless though, so you need some criteria for choosing the right play furniture for your kids.
3 questions to help you decide what play furniture your kids might need
- What space you have is probably the most important question to ask. In our limited-size inner-city flat, we’re all about optimising the space we have to give our kids freedom to play and get creative. Filling up the space with lots of furniture which dictates what they can and can’t do would not be a good idea. But with more space we would be considering how to use it to create unique spaces for them to own and move freely between different play.
- The next question is whether you want temporary or permanent setups and what the balance of these things should be. On the one hand, there’s enormous value in the temporary, for example having toys on rotation (or rented). Or temporary spaces like tents and tepees you can put up for a week at a time, which creates excitement without commitment to something forever. On the other hand, there are permanent set ups, like creating reading nooks using bookshelves or having a table and chairs set that give kids consistency for activities that will always be important to them as they grow up (no one gets tired of reading or crafts!)
- Finally there’s the question of integrated or separate play spaces. Do you want kids furniture in your general family lounge area or in their own space? Of course, that might not be an option with small bedrooms, but it’s an important question for how you use your space. Integrated living and play spaces give kids a space of their own in the heart of your families activity together, but play furniture in their own bedroom or play space can help encourage independence.
There are probably other questions to ask for your specific set up (colour schemes, size, budget etc), but these should help frame what sort of set up you’re looking for and the sort of play furniture you might be interested in purchasing.
We’ve explored three interesting sorts of furniture below with some specific recommendations and ideas to inspire your choices.
5 of the best table and chair play sets for kids
- The Lalo play kit combines curved wooden bucket seats with a simple, uncluttered design. Although on the expensive side, it comes with 2 chairs and a range of really stylish colours for you to choose from.
- Minera is a totally adjustable play set of chairs and table that fits nicely in the mould of play furniture that’s temporary and adaptable. It can be uses as a desk and chairs or slotted together to make great storage containers for toys
- This take on an old-school school desk from Ikea is a beauty. Maybe for slightly older children, but the perfect combination of easy access storage and easy access crafts.
- Magis table and chairs set is big on creativity. The hollow, transparent legs can be filled with your kids drawings, or you can add cups into them to store pens and pencils. It’s on the pricey side, but it’s a winner for boosting your kids independence.
- This simple, elegant table and chair desk set from Plan is stylish, and a great desk option for kids. Plus it’s got a blackboard top for chalk and ample under desk storage to keep craft gear tidy, but accessible