What does your dream playroom look like? Does it have a rock wall, climbing poles or a special craft zone? I’ll tell you a little secret. Smart playrooms can help you make that dream come true. They specialize in creating epic game rooms that are perfect for both playing and studying. We had the chance to chat with the founder of Smart Playrooms, Karri Bowen-Poole, to learn a little more about how these special spaces are created.
Here’s what we learned from the Smart Playroom founder:
Can you tell us about smart playrooms and how they differ from traditional playrooms?
A smart playroom is a playroom that is intentionally geared towards children, in which children can think and play openly and creatively. Our playrooms combine principles of interior design and functional organizational systems with a comprehensive understanding of child development.
How do smart playrooms integrate game-based learning? Do you have a playful learning background that inspired you?
I started Smart Playrooms over 10 years ago before getting my Masters in Education and teaching in a classroom for years. Smart Playrooms integrates all research into the design and layout of classrooms into a person’s home. It is understood that the design and layout can help achieve the desired results.
How would I design a smart playroom? Are there different options?
We offer family on-site design in and around NYC and three levels of Smart E-Design (for families outside of our area), each tailored to the age and interests of the children. At the beginning, Smart Playrooms send a customer access to our customer portal, in which the parents are asked to fill out our online questionnaire. Our team then creates a playroom layout, 3D renderings, a shopping list, and the design details parents need to implement the design in their own time.
What are some of the coolest features you’ve ever added to a smart playroom?
We have designed some amazing playrooms with so many amazing features. I think some of the coolest features we’ve added are climbing poles that fit right into a custom fortress with a giant tube slide, a ceiling net that requires access to our climbing poles and rock walls, an indoor zip line, and playhouses and corners with secret passages, mailboxes and creative lighting.
In your opinion, which physical, cognitive and social emotional skills develop most through playful learning?
I believe that game-based learning encourages natural curiosity, independence, creativity, imaginative play, problem-solving skills, and collaborative learning.
What are some suggestions for parents on how play and exercise can enhance academic learning?
Through play, children learn to express thoughts, tell imaginative stories, use language to communicate, convey their thoughts, and explore their surroundings. Movement can literally turn the brain on, as movement stimulates the prefrontal cortex, which helps children organize, plan, and focus.
Meet the founder
Karri has revolutionized the way children learn and play over the past 10 years. She has designed hundreds of playrooms for a wide variety of children – including the children of celebrities like Nicky Hilton, Dylan Lauren, and Dan Girardi – and tailors each one to suit the children’s needs and interests. Karri regularly receives inquiries from families around the world. Her innovative, educational designs have been featured in various magazines and newspapers, including House Beautiful and The New York Times. Karri’s 2019 renovation of her personal garage, which turned the space into a fantastic kids gym, yoga studio, and overnight stay for her family, was recently featured in Inside Edition last summer. Karri’s groundbreaking playroom concept offers children open, engaging spaces that grow next to them. She has developed a whole new way for children to play at home.