Kindergartners and first graders work best in a setting that reminds them of their classroom, says Julie Morgenstern, the author of Organizing From the Inside Out. Divide the space into activity zones: reading, crafting, art display. Sprinkle in some punchy colors—or go bolder, with a whimsical two-tone wall—to boost energy and creativity.

By Betsy Goldberg and Elizabeth Passarella
Updated August 26, 2015
Jonny Valiant
Jonny Valiant

Create a cozy reading area

With a cushy landing spot right near the books, story time can happen spontaneously. Choose a beanbag or a love seat roomy enough for two (or more) and top it with a fluffy throw.

Make materials easy to get at

If they have to lift a lid, kids are less likely to use stuff (or put it away!). Instead, store supplies in clear, open containers or drawerlike pull-out ones.

Set out a mix of crafting tools

Peeling stickers, holding fat or skinny markers, taking tops on and off—all of these build fine motor skills in kids used to swiping electronic devices.

To buy (numbered from top photo): 1. Straight & Narrow book ledge, $25 each, 2. Eames Hang-It-All rack, $199, 3. Stuva bench (used as a desk), $40, 4. Vintage chair, from $35 for similar, 5. Ferm Living Black Lines rug, $159 (31½ by 55 inches), 6. Polka Dot beanbag chair, $140, 7. Rens sheepskin, $30, 8. Little Bert chair by Little Nest, $214 for two,