Not everyone who childminds is lucky enough to have a dedicated playroom in their house. Even some people who have the space for one, would rather tidy the toys away at night and turn what Ofsted calls your ‘childminding setting’ back into your family home. Here childminders share their space-saving tricks with you and how they manage without dedicated playrooms to keep childminding from overrunning their house.
Make a toy and activities selection book
When you are childminding from a small space, you can’t keep everything out where children can see it, so instead you could do as Claire Toms does and put photos of all the toys and play options into a book. The children can flip through and point to what they want to play with. Not only is this idea a perfect space saver for small spaces, it is also a great way to promote literacy.
Use the space under your sofa
These storage units are a perfect place to hide the toys at the end of the day after the children have gone home. Or, if your sofa is too low down to use these you can put a selection of jigsaws on a large piece of cardboard to pull out when you want them.
Roll-away art materials storage unit
Arts and craft materials take up a lot of space. Claire Toms keeps hers on a trolley that rolls away under the stairs.
Use every little space
Resources such as roll up sleeping mats or little fold away tables are very useful for small childminding spaces. Christine Emery stores the cushions for story time/cosy corner in a nest of tables! What a clever idea.
Make clever use of your hallways
This childminder minds from a small flat, so she makes the most of her space by using her hallway. The boxes of toys on the floor in the hallway are easy for the children to access but mean she doesn’t have to look at boxes of kid’s toys in her living room.
Use your radiators for displays
Becky Pattison has clipped a roll-able poster onto her radiator. She makes them herself. Then at the end of the day she simply unclips them and rolls them away.
Back of door display hangers
Therese Wallace uses back of door organisers for her childminding paperwork that lift down easily at the end of the day.
Notice boards that lift down and replace with a picture
Hang posters on strings that can be easily lifted down when the children leave or put photographs into hanging plastic wallet displays that can be removed. Aim to spend no more than 5 minutes preparing your walls for the children in the morning and have the whole house back to adult space 5 minutes after the last one leaves at the end of the day!
When you work as a childminder there are a few things that you are supposed to have on display at all times: your registration certificate, paediatric first aid certificate, and the Parent’s Poster showing the phone number for Ofsted etc. If you put these things onto a bulletin board, then you can take it all down each night and your front hallway doesn’t have to look like you are running a B&B.
Do you have tips for childminding in small spaces? If you do send your tip with a photo and your name to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will include them in this list!
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Kids To Go was established in 2008 and is run by Jennifer. Products include the Ultimate Childminding Checklist, The Super Summative Assessment and Tracker Pack and best practice resources promoting diversity and childminding in the great outdoors (Forest Childcare).
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