Playtime should be energetic and filled with unexpected twists and turns. To avoid headaches—for both you and the kids—work to avoid damage and accidents. Regardless of your preferred protective measures, savor these fun moments with your active, messy kids!

  • Elevate Breakables
    As a precaution, move glass, ceramic, and other delicate items to corner shelves and sturdy bookcases before the games begin. Have your children help you prevent items from tipping over with museum putty. Kids can mold the putty into fun shapes before you use it to secure your breakables to the shelf. Tucking valuable items further back on shelves reduces their chances of shattering. Or, move key items to your personal space, such as the bedroom, where playtime isn't allowed.
  • Add Traction and Protection
    Hardwood, tile, and laminate floors can easily get damaged. To prevent your kids' activities from becoming destructive—and to keep your floors scratch-free—add area rugs and hall runners with non-slip backing to the main play areas. This layer of protection keeps cleats and rocks that may be wedged in shoe soles from gouging the flooring. After installing the rugs, gift your children with new slippers to protect your floor from unwanted scuff marks.
  • Protect Edges
    Table corners, fireplace hearths, and stair steps often have pointed corners. If high-energy indoor play is a daily occurrence, consider baby-proofing furniture with corner bumpers. Though your elementary schoolers are way past the toddling age, furniture bumpers keep the kids safe and reduce their chances of chipping wood veneers or stonework. Encourage your kids to decorate the bumpers with paint, buttons, and pipe cleaners to turn them into mini monsters that protect the furniture. As they craft, declutter the main living space to reduce the number of items that could get damaged.
  • Arrange Main Furniture Pieces
    Your kids may climb on your sofa as if they were monkeys, but you can minimize their risk of injury by moving large, unstable furniture pieces to new locations. When possible, couches and love seats can go against walls to avoid tipping and tears. Rotate and flip the couch cushions regularly so they wear evenly—better yet, encourage your kids to use the cushions to build forts. The movement will fluff the cushions, and when your kids put everything back together the cushions will get rotated naturally.
  • Shield Table Tops
    Drape tablecloths, large blankets, or a shower curtain over tables and chairs in the dining room and kitchen before activities. This will reduce dings and scratches caused by toy car wheels or pointy pen drawings. You can even encourage kids to make and use do-it-yourself place mats crafted from their previous drawings. Seal them with laminating paper and you can bring them out when your kids are creating new art projects.

If it's common to witness your kids whizzing by in a living-room relay race, ensuring your home is safe and secure is a must. Impromptu, imaginative play is a great way to let your active, messy kids burn energy and explore their creativity, so help them do it without fear of a broken vase or a scuffed floor interrupting playtime.