What to Include in Your Perfect Indoor Family Play Area

Indoor children’s play areas have become a popular addition to a range of family-friendly businesses in recent years. From shopping malls and family restaurants to gyms and fitness centers, airport waiting areas, hotels and resorts, rec centers, libraries, and more, indoor play areas offer a valuable service for families looking to keep their children entertained and engaged. These centers provide a safe and stimulating environment where children can play, learn and socialize, while parents can relax, catch up on work, or simply enjoy some downtime.

Indoor play centers offer an excellent business opportunity for entrepreneurs who are passionate about providing much-needed service to families in their community while generating profit. By offering a fun and safe space for families to enjoy, indoor play centers can enhance the overall experience of their host business and create a loyal customer base.

Here are tips for creating the perfect family indoor play area for any size of space or type of business.

1. Plan the Size of Your Space

Determine the amount of space you have available and how you want to divide it up. Consider including separate zones for different age groups, such as a toddler area and a separate section for older kids.

A play area could be located in a small room off of your main business area, such as in a gym or community center, or in the center of a food court in a larger business like a mall or airport. Let’s look at some examples of what this might look like.

Play Rooms

Playrooms can make great use of vacant store space in a retail location.

Stand-alone Play Areas

Stand-alone play centers are self-contained. Great for hallways or wide open spaces.

Small Play Structures

A smaller fort may be all you need for the space you have available, but it will inspire big imaginations all the same.

Yellow and grey camper themed kids play house.
Rec Center Play Room

2. Safety First

Once you have a space, safety should be a top priority when designing an indoor play area.

One of the most important aspects of creating a safe indoor play area is selecting the right type of flooring. Soft and cushioned flooring is ideal, as it provides a soft landing surface for children who may trip or fall during play. This type of flooring helps to reduce the impact of falls, minimizing the risk of serious injury.

In addition to selecting the right type of flooring, installing safety gates can also help to prevent accidents and injuries. Safety gates can be used to restrict access to certain areas of the play area to different age groups, such as keeping toddlers out of areas meant for older children.

Using age-appropriate toys and equipment is another important consideration when designing an indoor play area. Toys and equipment that are designed for older children may not be safe for toddlers and can increase the risk of accidents and injuries. Make sure to carefully consider the age range of the children who will be using the play area, and choose toys and equipment that are appropriate for their developmental level. We’ll get into more detail about the types of equipment in a moment.

Don’t Forget the Rules

A list of rules for parents and children to follow will also help maintain safety.

Your play area rules could include:

  1. Parental Supervision: Children must be supervised by a parent or guardian at all times while in the play area.
  2. Age Limits: Clearly state age limits for different areas or equipment within the play area to ensure that younger children are not playing on equipment designed for older children.
  3. No Roughhousing: Running, pushing, and other rough play should be prohibited to prevent injuries to children and damage to equipment.
  4. No Food or Drinks: Eating and drinking should not be allowed in the play area to prevent spills and potential choking hazards.
  5. No Shoes: Shoes should be removed before entering the play area to prevent dirt and debris from being tracked in and to reduce the risk of slipping and falling.
  6. No Sick Children: Children who are sick or have a contagious illness should not be allowed to use the play area to prevent the spread of germs to other children.
  7. No Bullying or Harassment: Bullying or harassment of other children should not be tolerated and will result in immediate removal from the play area.
  8. Clean Up: Children should be encouraged to clean up after themselves and return any toys or equipment to their proper place after use.

3. Pick a Theme

Having a theme helps create a cohesive and professional look to your play area, plus it is great for branding and advertising.

Your theme can be based on fun colors. It can be an out-of-this-world space or fantasy adventure. If you’re located in a coastal mountain town or a desert city, you can use your local flora and fauna to inspire you.

For example, the Westshore Town Centre shopping mall takes its name to heart, with a selection of shoreline-themed play structures including a climbable soft play bear catching a salmon, a whale tail slide, a lighthouse with a wheel that spins the light, plus so much more. This centerpiece play area reflects the brand of the mall along with the local landmarks guests are familiar with.

4. Choose a Variety of Age-Appropriate Activities

Select activities that are suitable for the ages of the children who will be using the play area. For example, a toddler area could include soft play mats, low-height slides, and ride-on toys, while an older kids’ zone could include climbing walls, ball pits, and interactive video games.

Hands-on Play

Hands-on play is great for younger kids as it helps develop fine and gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, and social skills as children interact with others. Hands-on play options could include Keebee playboards, sensory tables like bead maze tables or magnetic activity tables, large puzzles, building blocks, and coloring areas with markers and crayons.

Woodland rock game wall with Keebee play boards and video games.
Woodland rock game wall with Keebee play boards for toddlers.
A seaplane that allows kids to turn the wheel and use their imagination.
Giant foam play blocks.

Interactive play inspires imagination!

Soft Play

“Soft play” sculptures are typically made from high-density foam that is covered with a durable, waterproof vinyl material. This makes them safe for children to crawl on, climb over, and play with, while also being easy to clean and maintain.

Soft play sculptures come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including characters, slides, tunnels, vehicles, and more. They can be customized to fit any theme or color scheme, making them a popular choice for indoor play areas, daycare centers, and other children’s facilities.

Soft play foam sculpture slide with a goat sitting on a mountain side.
Soft play foam sculpture slide with a goat sitting on a mountainside.

Because soft play sculptures are soft and squishy, they are less likely to cause injury than traditional play equipment made from hard materials like metal or plastic. They can also be used to create obstacle courses and other interactive play experiences that promote physical activity and imaginative play.

Contemporary style, woodland-themed wall murals with deer, birds and squirrels.
A mall play area filled with soft play sculptures for children to interact with.


Slides are a popular and fun form of active play for children of all ages, and even adults can enjoy them. Sliding down a slide can provide a sense of thrill and excitement, as well as help to develop physical skills such as balance, coordination, and gross motor skills. And they’re just plain fun!

Yellow slide on a pirate ship themed play structure

Ball Pits

Playing in a ball pit provides a tactile and sensory-rich experience, which can be beneficial for children with sensory processing difficulties. The feeling of sinking into a pit filled with soft, squishy balls can be calming and regulating. Let’s not forget that a ball pit is simply a fun and enjoyable experience for children. It can provide a break from structured activities and offer a chance to dive in and laugh to their heart’s content.

Climbing Structures and Ropes

If your facility has the capability and space to incorporate climbing structures, tunnels, and rope courses, these can offer an exciting and engaging way for children to develop essential gross motor skills such as coordination, balance, and strength. Not only do climbing structures provide a safe environment for children to take risks and explore their limits, but they also foster the development of confidence and self-esteem as they navigate through the structures under supervision.

Video Games

While some parents may go to play areas to avoid digital stimulation, adding video games to an indoor play area for children can provide a number of benefits and can engage kids of different ages.

As technology continues to play an increasingly important role in daily life, offering video games in a play area can provide children with a chance to become familiar with and comfortable using technology in a safe and supervised setting. Many video games require players to use hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills, which can help develop these skills in children.

Kids playing on wall mounted gaming tablets.

Offering video games alongside other play options like climbing structures, ball pits, and sports activities can provide a generous range of play activities for children and keep them entertained for longer periods.

If you want the best of both worlds, a great alternative is floor-projected video games. These games encourage active participation by inviting children to jump and stomp on animated bugs, balls, and lily pads that are projected onto the floor.

An underwater themed reception area with a sculpted cave featuring a floor projected video game for kids.
An underwater themed play area featuring a floor-projected video game for kids.

TVs and Theater

While adding a TV to a play area can provide entertainment for children, it may not offer the same developmental benefits as active play options. However, it could be a viable addition to a play area depending on the needs of the business and the interests of the children. If children are tired from play but not ready to leave yet, it provides a quiet alternative for those taking a break.

Photo Op Characters and Backdrops

Parents are all about capturing fun and special moments with their children as they play. Providing the perfect photo opportunity for them is a bonus for parents and an even bigger bonus for your social media.

Parents who take and share photos of a fun day at your play park are creating valuable user-generated content that helps promote your fun services. Include your name, your logo, or even encourage the use of a hashtag to make the best use of this content.


5. Consider These Useful Additions for Your Play Area

Add Signs for Wayfinding and Instructions

An important part of any play area is letting people know you have it, where to find it, and how to use it (like the rules sign mentioned earlier). Signs can come in a variety of shapes and styles, from 2D to 3D.

Signs can also include your logo, hours of operation, and other useful information, like where the bathroom is located.

Keep it All Clean with a Shoe Rack

Adding a shoe rack outside your children’s play area can have several benefits:

  1. Keeping the play area clean: Children can bring dirt, mud, or other debris on their shoes when they enter the play area. By having a shoe rack outside the play area, you can encourage them to take off their shoes and leave them outside, which can help keep the play area clean and safe for children.
  2. Preventing slips and falls: Wet or muddy shoes can make the floor slippery, which can increase the risk of slips and falls. By leaving shoes outside, you can prevent these accidents from happening and keep your children safe.
  3. Encouraging organization: A shoe rack outside the play area can encourage children to take responsibility for their belongings and keep them organized. It can also make it easier for them to find their shoes when they need them.

Provide Comfortable Seating for Parents

Make sure to include comfortable seating for parents or caregivers to relax while the children play. Consider adding tables and chairs for snacks or drinks. If food is not allowed near the play area, consider adding a seating area nearby where the play area can still be observed.

Providing seating areas can create a social atmosphere for parents and caregivers to interact with one another. This can lead to new friendships and a sense of community.

Plan for Stroller Parking

Families with children of all ages will want to come to your play area. Make it as convenient as possible for them by providing a space for them to store their bulky strollers.

Providing a designated space for stroller storage can help eliminate any potential hazards or clutter that may disrupt the play area. Having a safe and easily accessible place to store strollers also makes it more convenient for families with young children, as they won’t have to worry about maneuvering a bulky stroller through a crowded play area.

The Perfect Indoor Family Play Area

The benefits these play areas can offer parents and kids alike make them invaluable. Now that you have this information in mind, why not consider creating one at your own location? With this list you should be on your way to making an amazing play area for children in any business or location. So don’t hesitate, let the kids go play!

Want more resources related to this topic?

The Secret to Attracting Young Families to Your Shopping Center

Playful Photo Op Inspiration

Don’t know where to start with creating your indoor playground? One of our Creative Consultants would love to help. Contact Imagination Design Studios (IDS) to get started transforming your facility from a mundane to a magical guest experience.



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Tips for Creating a Presentation Area in Your Children’s Library

Creating a Sense of Fun and Nostalgia for The Next Generation of Kids

Attract Families to Your Church with Decor for Kids

Tips for Creating a Presentation Area in Your Children’s Library

A library’s presentation area is a great space to engage with your community and draw attention to your library. Having exciting decor in a library’s interior area can be a great way to appeal to kids and families. Kids will be excited to attend events and visit the library knowing that it has a space built for them.

Here are ways you can enhance your presentation area and leave an impression on your visitors.

Select Your Space

When selecting a space in your children’s library that can be dedicated to presentations, there are several factors to consider to ensure it is appropriate and functional for the purpose.

Firstly, it is important to choose a space that is easily accessible to visitors, especially families with young children where stroller parking space is a factor to consider. Consider a location that is on the main floor, near the entrance, or in an area with high traffic. This will help to increase visibility and encourage visitors to use the presentation area.

Secondly, the space should be visible from various parts of the library. Choose a location that is visible from the circulation desk or other busy areas, such as the children’s section. This will help to promote the use of the presentation area and ensure that visitors know where to go for events and activities.

Thirdly, the space should be large enough to accommodate groups of children and their caregivers comfortably. Consider the average size of groups attending events, and ensure there is enough seating and floor space to accommodate them.

Finally, consider the acoustics of the space. Make sure that it is quiet enough for presenters to be heard without distraction, while also ensuring that it is not too quiet that it dampens the energy of the events.

Seating for Everyone

It’s important to choose seating options that are comfortable for children and their caregivers. Plan for all ages, from toddlers to grandparents. Floor cushions, bean bags, and kid-sized chairs are great options for children, while adult-sized chairs or benches are suitable for caregivers. You may also want to consider providing some tables for children to use for drawing or other activities during events.

The seating arrangement should be designed to allow for optimal viewing and participation. Consider a semi-circle or U-shaped seating arrangement, which allows for good visibility and participation for all attendees.

Adding a small stage or podium can create a focal point for presenters and make the presentation area feel more professional. A podium or stage can also make it easier for presenters to be heard and seen by the audience, especially if the space is large or if there are distractions from other library activities.

By considering the seating and layout of the presentation area, you can create a comfortable and engaging space that will encourage children to participate in literacy activities and events and promote a love of reading.

Add Multimedia Equipment

Adding multimedia equipment to a presentation area in a children’s library can greatly enhance the experience for attendees and presenters. Equip the area with multimedia tools such as a projector, screen, TV, and sound system equipped with a microphone, so that presenters can easily share visual aids, videos, or music with the audience.

If you can, add lighting or a spotlight to draw attention to your presenter.

By equipping the presentation area with multimedia tools, the library can create a more professional and polished environment for events and activities. This can help to attract high-quality presenters and improve the overall reputation of the library.

Decorate the Space

Make the presentation area visually appealing and inviting for children by adding colorful artwork and murals.

Creative Backdrops Set the Scene

Consider using creative backdrops within your decor to really set the scene at your presentation area. Depending on the atmosphere that your library is going for, you can have anything from abstract, contemporary art to fun and whimsical pieces on your interior walls.

theater themed selfie stage in pediatric dentist office

These unique pieces can also create fun backgrounds for photos that you or your visitors can use on social media when not in use.

Create Wonder in Your Library Presentation Area with a Theme

Consider choosing a theme that reflects the library’s mission or focus, such as nature, animals, or a specific literary genre. This can help to create a cohesive and visually appealing space that ties in with the library’s overall brand. Theming is also a great way to immerse your guests and keep them engaged during presentations.

New call-to-action

Themes can include having a woodland forest theme and surrounding your guests with the beauty of trees and the natural environment, allowing them to stay connected to nature indoors.

Or transport children under the sea with a sunken ship presentation area with sharks and fish eagerly watching the speaker.

Having a unique theme and characters that come with it can create a central landmark for your space and help focus attention on your little ones. These spaces can also be talking points for your presentees to help break the ice with their audience.

There are many ways that a library can add exciting, themed decor to its presentation area to appeal to kids and families. Creative backdrops, unique murals, and creating wonder are great ways to begin crafting the environment that you and your visitors will enjoy. With unique environments and themed spaces, your library will be filled with eager visitors and, even better, eager readers.

Engage with the Community

Ultimately if you want to build an amazing presentation area in your library, you need to engage the community. People are what makes your library a success!

Involve local schools, community groups, and parent organizations in the presentation area’s activities to build partnerships and strengthen community engagement. Plan regular events and activities, such as author visits, book clubs, storytelling sessions, or craft workshops, that can take place in the presentation area. Make sure to promote these events through your library’s website, social media, and other marketing channels.

By following these steps, you can create a presentation area in your children’s library that promotes literacy, engages young readers, and fosters a love of learning.

Check out these related resources for making your library an exciting place to learn:

Contact Imagination Design Studios (IDS) to get started transforming your library into a place that captures everyone’s attention!



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What to Include in Your Perfect Indoor Family Play Area

Creating a Sense of Fun and Nostalgia for The Next Generation of Kids

Attract Families to Your Church with Decor for Kids

Creating a Sense of Fun and Nostalgia for The Next Generation of Kids


The wistful yearning to return to a magical moment from your youth.

In recent years, there has been a sad trend of kid-centric places disappearing from public life. From the beloved McDonald’s Playplaces of the 80s and 90s to local ice cream shops and arcades, these spaces filled with fun characters, friendly mascots, play areas, and bright colors have been replaced with more mature establishments.

Places for Kids
Mascots for Kids

This grey washing of our public spaces may result in a generation that could be devoid of fun nostalgia as they look back on the places they visited in their youth. But what if we could bring back this sense of nostalgia; bring back color, bring back fun?

The Benefits of Fun Places for Kids

Millennials’ memories of play places in their childhood will influence how they view your business today. With decor aimed at children, parents will seek to take their children to your location to recreate those magical memories. While McDonald’s attempted to shift its focus away from children to avoid criticism for selling unhealthy food to them, many other companies that can embrace their child-friendly image. Examples include community libraries, children’s ministries, family hair salons, pediatric dental clinics, and mall play areas, which can enhance their appeal to families by incorporating child-focused decor.

Fun places for kids not only create a sense of nostalgia but also provide other benefits to both children and adults. These include increased physical activity, improved social skills and confidence, and strengthened bonds between parent/caregiver and child.

Creating Kid-Centric Spaces with Theming & Bright Colors

To create these much-needed kid-centric spaces, businesses should look at introducing theming, colors, and mascot characters into their establishments.

You can turn any business into a kid-friendly space with:

Creating Memories
Noah’s Ark Children’s Ministry Reception Area
Bayou Play Area
Full view of jungle-themed kid-friendly hair salon showing partition walls with 2D murals, a washing station with 3D sculpted sign, and large waiting area bench wrapped around a 3D sculpted waterfall and characters
Kid-friendly Hair Salon
Insect Mall Play Area

Even small changes can make a big difference – something as simple as introducing bright colors or adding a character can create an instant connection with kids while still appealing to adults.

Mushroom Library Reading Area

Compare those examples to what happened to Mcdonald’s. Great for adults, but not inviting for the imagination of children.

I don’t remember kids asking to take the fun away and replace it with beige.

By creating kid-friendly environments that are inviting, businesses will be able to capture the hearts (and wallets) of parents while also giving kids their own special place to hang out and have fun.

Become a Place of Nostalgia

While it’s true that many kid-centric places have disappeared from our lives over the past few decades, that doesn’t mean it’s too late to bring them back. By introducing theming and color into our commercial spaces – big or small – we can recapture some of the fun nostalgia of childhood for the new generation while providing significant benefits for all involved.

It’s time to bring back the fun!

Do you like this article? Here are a few other resources that you might be interested in:



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What to Include in Your Perfect Indoor Family Play Area

Tips for Creating a Presentation Area in Your Children’s Library

Attract Families to Your Church with Decor for Kids

Attract Families to Your Church with Decor for Kids

Churches today are competing for the attention of young families, so it is important that they create a welcoming atmosphere that appeals to children. The good news is that you can attract more families to your congregation by adding child-friendly decor that can turn your location into a destination.

Here’s how using child-friendly church decor like play areas, colorful murals, custom seating, and sculpted characters can create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for your congregation.

How to Attract Families to Your Church with Decor for Kids

Colorful Murals in Children’s Areas:

Vivid colors and cheerful images can instantly brighten up any church space. Consider adorning the walls of your church with colorful cartoons or murals depicting stories from the Bible or other religious teachings.

Not only will these images bring life to the rooms and hallways of your Sunday school or church nursery, but they’ll also provide children with an immersive learning experience as they explore each scene depicted in the artwork.

These murals can be placed within classrooms or hallways leading up to the sanctuary.

Have a large wall, windows, or fence outside your church? A large-scale mural with bright colors and uplifting messages can help set the tone for both old and new members when they enter your church.

An exterior window decal featuring a cartoon jungle scene with gorillas, monkeys, and tigers.
An exterior window decal featuring a cartoon jungle scene with gorillas, monkeys, and tigers.

Activity and Play Areas for Children:

One way to attract families with young children is by providing an entertaining play area where kids can gather and be engaged in activities during services. You could set up toys, games, and kid-sized furniture for them to enjoy while their parents attend services or classes. This will help grow your children’s knowledge of faith while playfully entertaining them.

Sunday School classroom with woodland murals.
Backyard themed game wall.
Pirate ship kids fort with a custom planked dividing wall accompanied by an underwater themed mural on interior walls
Sunken ship play area.
play tent with slide and medieval elephant guard in kids play area
Tent play area with a slide.

Additionally, if you have special services dedicated solely to children, having a play area can help make those times more enjoyable and memorable. Simple additions such as coloring books or puzzles can be effective when it comes to keeping kids entertained while they wait for service. This not only helps the kids but gives parents a piece of mind knowing that their kids are safe and having fun.

Theater and Presentation Areas:

Show families that you are dedicated to educating their children. A special space to watch informative videos (I still remember the excitement of watching Veggie Tales in my childhood) or listen to presenters is a great way to keep the attention of young children.

theater themed selfie stage in pediatric dentist office

Don’t just leave it up to the adults though! A theater or presentation area can be a space where children can express themselves creatively through drama, singing, dancing, and other performing arts. By participating in theater productions and presentations, children can build confidence and develop their public speaking skills, which can serve them well when they are sharing the Word with friends and families.

Custom Seating Made for Kids:

Custom seating specifically crafted for children can create comfy spots for them during services or classes. These seats don’t have to be expensive—even brightly colored bean bags or cushions would work perfectly!

By providing custom seating, your young patrons will feel included, comfortable, and secure knowing that they themselves have their own special spot during service.

Circular rock cladded stools with vinyl cushions.
Cladded underwater themed bench.

These custom seats can be themed to match bible stories to give your kids a more immersive experience when they attend mass. These seats can also be placed around your church to surprise newcomers and share the family-friendly environment throughout.

Sculptures and Characters:

Sculpted characters are a surefire way to be whimsical in any space! Whether it’s characters from bible stories or even just friendly animals that reflect your local wildlife, placing sculptures around your church will help make it more inviting for younger members of your congregation.

Are they reading about Daniel and the lion’s den?

Even better, these characters can act as great social media photo ops, helping to spread awareness of your church online.

Photo op for customers to promote your business on social media.
Photo op to promote your inviting church environment on social media.

Have an open space or a plain parking lot? Consider having a large landmark sculpture outside your church. These large-scale features can draw attention to your church and become memorable.

Giant sculpted whale landmark character on roof of pediatric dental office.
Don’t get swallowed by this giant sculpted whale landmark character!

What Do Successful Churches Have in Common?

All successful churches have something in common — they recognize that creating an atmosphere of comfort and familiarity is essential when trying to attract new members.

By adding child-friendly decor, you’ll make your church stand out and also provide a welcoming space for your children to feel excited about the important lessons presented in every church service. This kind of atmosphere makes all the difference when it comes to growing your congregation — so why not give it a try?

Want to learn more about transforming your church into a sanctuary for children? Click here.



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What to Include in Your Perfect Indoor Family Play Area

Tips for Creating a Presentation Area in Your Children’s Library

Creating a Sense of Fun and Nostalgia for The Next Generation of Kids

Improve the Experience of Pediatric Therapy Patients with Fun Decor

Children who need therapy, whether OT, PT, ST, or ABA therapy, often face a unique challenge. The journey of learning and recovery can be emotional, tiring, and at times, daunting to children who may not understand the outcome of their treatment. As a healthcare professional providing therapy to pediatric patients, it is important to keep their spirits up and make sure that they are comfortable in your environment.

One way to improve your patient’s experience is by creating fun and functional decor in your therapy space that will engage children while also helping them heal.

Patient consult with mother and daughter.

We will discuss the types of decor you can add to your space and how you can use this kid-centric decor to improve the therapy patient experience.

How to Improve the Experience of Pediatric Therapy Patients with Fun Decor

Using Colorful Wall Art to Transform a Space

Wall decor is the perfect solution for therapy spaces that require ample room for activities. By adorning your walls with eye-catching art, you can transform a bland space into an immersive environment that sparks joy and distracts from any anxieties.

The walls of your therapy space should be colorful, inviting, and reflective of your brand identity. When children enter the room, they should feel immediately at ease and excited to engage in therapy sessions. That’s why selecting wall art that reflects your brand is crucial. Whether you want to create a calming and relaxing environment or a space for fun and play, your wall decor can help you achieve that goal.

Smaller window graphic panels provide fun wall decor as well.

Fun wall colors and graphics are a great place to start. Take it to the next level with murals featuring exciting themes and landscapes. Colorful murals and graphics have been found to greatly enhance the patient experience at therapy clinics and pediatric therapy centers. For kids in particular, a theme can make a kid’s stay much less daunting. It can provide a visual escape from the task at hand and create an inviting atmosphere that feels safe.

Using Fun Furniture & Accessories to Create an Engaging Space

Pediatric therapy clinics can be intimidating for children, but by incorporating fun and comfortable furniture, such as bean bag chairs, colorful rugs, playful seating options, or even swings, you can help them feel more relaxed and comfortable in the space.

A variety of seating options.

Other accessories such as toys, puzzles, or games can add more fun elements into the mix while also providing opportunities for therapeutic learning activities during sessions. Children may feel anxious or stressed during therapy sessions, but by incorporating engaging accessories, you can help distract them from any discomfort or fear they may be experiencing.

Play-based therapy is an effective approach for children, and by incorporating playful furniture and accessories, you can encourage play and exploration, which can lead to better therapeutic outcomes.

Functional but fun furniture like shoe racks, bookshelves, and storage seating is a great way to add some exciting decor without taking away from therapy space.

A fantastical shoe rack.

To learn more about custom furniture pieces, click here.

Finally, adding plants into the mix helps create an even more engaging atmosphere. By adding natural elements to the decor, it greatly contributes to improving indoor air quality which helps boost moods further. Even creating an outdoor therapy area where kids can be outside in fresh air with trees can take your clinic to the next level.

Creating Comfort Through Accessible Design & Layout

When it comes to pediatric therapy, creating a welcoming and comfortable environment is essential for your patient’s success. A key aspect of achieving this is ensuring that all furniture pieces are easily accessible for children of all ages and abilities. Sharp edges and overly tall furniture can be intimidating and uncomfortable for young patients, so it’s crucial to choose pieces that are safe and inviting. By designing a space that feels like it’s made for them, not adults, children will feel more at ease and engaged in their therapy sessions.

A well-thought-out layout will also provide secure circulation paths throughout treatment rooms so every child can move around with ease, without feeling trapped or closed off.

Additionally, using accessible signage with pictures and colors can also make navigating the space easier for children who may have difficulty reading.

Wayfinding sign that reads "Hippo Room".

We, as adults often forget what it’s like to experience a space as a child. If you approach designing therapy spaces with the mindset of a child, you may be surprised at how much more welcoming and accommodating you can make it feel. By prioritizing elements like accessibility, comfort, and fun, you can create a pediatric therapy environment that encourages play, engagement, and positive therapeutic outcomes.

Whether it’s selecting furniture that’s the right size and shape for small bodies, or adding playful decor that sparks joy and curiosity, every detail counts. With a little creativity and attention to detail, you can transform your therapy space into a place where children feel safe, supported, and excited to learn and grow.

Environment Has a Big Impact on Children’s Patient Experience

The first impression your pediatric therapy clinic makes can set the tone for your patients’ entire experience. By creating a kid-centric environment with fun yet functional decor, you can instantly create an inviting and comfortable atmosphere that primes your patients for their therapy sessions. With the right decor, you can create a space that encourages play and exploration, making it easier for children to connect with their therapists and achieve positive therapeutic outcomes.

Mawish Baber, the operations director at the Andalusia Clinics for Kids Wellness has this to say about adding colorful themed decor to their clinic and therapy spaces:

“The kids love the theming. The kids that visit us have started referring to the clinic as “The Fun Center” cementing our desire to make this a place of wellness and development, not a place they are forced to visit.”

Interested to learn more? Check out these related resources for upgrading, renewing, and improving patient experience:

Practical Guide to Creating an Exceptional Patient Experience

Pediatric Therapy Facility Decor Inspiration

What is Patient Experience and Why Does It Matter?

Contact Imagination Design Studios (IDS) to get started transforming your office from a mundane to a magical patient experience.



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What to Include in Your Perfect Indoor Family Play Area

Tips for Creating a Presentation Area in Your Children’s Library

Creating a Sense of Fun and Nostalgia for The Next Generation of Kids

Unique Design and Decor Ideas for Children’s Libraries

Libraries are important places where children and their families can come to learn and explore.

As libraries struggle to remain a competitive alternative to various forms of digital entertainment, the need to create an inviting atmosphere that encourages exploration and learning grows every day. With clever decor ideas, you can create a space that is both inviting and unique. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can add fun decor to your library to make it more appealing to families and children.

Plus, you can use this opportunity to create eye-catching presentation areas for guest speakers and photo opportunities that promote your library on social media.

Decor Ideas to Help Transform Your Library into a Family-friendly Destination

Use Sculpted Trees to Create Interest

When I was little, my local library had a sculpture of a tree growing up the spiral staircase going between floors. The weekly visit to the library was a magical memorable childhood experience as I loved running up the stairs and looking at the tree. Even now as an adult when I return home for family gatherings, I will revisit that library to remember the delight I had as a child.

Trees are a symbol of wisdom, which is why they are so often associated with libraries (that and the fact that books are of course made out of trees). Using this imagery and adding sculpted trees to your space is another great way to spruce up your library. Choose trees that are native to your area or ones that represent something special about your community such as state symbols or local landmarks.

A children’s play area sculpted to look like a famous cypress tree in Louisiana, known as “The Castle” by locals.

A sculpted tree can become a backdrop to a presentation area or bench seating can be added to make it functional.

Use them as a focal point for a presentation area or have them grow throughout your space.
Bench seating built into the base makes this tree multifunctional.

These trees will help create an atmosphere of adventure and exploration while also providing a place for people to sit, read, or just relax in nature’s beauty without having to leave the library.


Themed Reception and Check-out Desks

A library’s information desk is often the first thing that patrons see when they enter the building, so it’s important to make it as welcoming and visually appealing as possible. One way to do this is to create an eye-catching, themed desk that reflects the library’s mission or the interests of its patrons.

For example, if the library serves a community with a strong interest in nature and the outdoors, a desk with a nature-themed design could be particularly appealing.

A desk can show guests that books will take them on a journey, whether it’s around the world or an escape into a fantasy world.

An eye-catching, themed check-out desk can help to create a cohesive and inviting atmosphere in the library, and it can also be a great conversation starter. Patrons who are drawn in by the unique design of the check-out desk may be more likely to engage with library staff and ask about the library’s services and resources.

Ultimately, a well-designed, themed check-out desk can be integral to creating a welcoming and engaging environment for patrons, and it can help to support the library’s overall mission of serving and supporting its community.

Fun Photo Opportunities

One particularly effective way to engage with your patrons (plus create user-generated content for your socials) is to set up a photo op at the library. This can be as simple as setting up a backdrop or props related to a particular theme and then inviting patrons to take photos and share them on social media using a designated hashtag.

Consider creating a mascot for your library. This is a great way to brand your library as a child-friendly place. Mascots create major benefits for marketing potential and for making your business appeal to children.

This library in a fossil-rich area uses a prehistoric mastodon as their mascot.

Fun characters are begging to be photographed, and parents are always looking for an opportunity to show off the great time they are having on an outing with their family.

Unique Seating in Library Reading Areas

Custom seating is a great way to make your library stand out from others. You can choose from cozy chairs with colorful cushions or opt for more stylish couches and ottomans. This will make it easier for people to find the perfect spot to sit with their favorite book or get comfortable while they work on their laptops.

For children’s libraries, consider adding bean bags or soft floor pillows in bright colors to encourage kids to curl up on the floor with their favorite books.

Go further and add themed benches or stools for a magical touch that will truly appeal to children. Themed seating allows you to transform your atmosphere without taking away space that can be used for books.

You can also add themed seating to areas used as a presentation or reading space for guest speakers to create a special place that stands out from the rest of the library.

Bright Colors to Make Your Library Pop

Using vibrant colors throughout your library is one of the best ways to bring life into the space. Add color via paint, murals, fabrics, furniture pieces, sculptures, and more!

Murals are an amazing way to transform the look of a room, especially in a children’s reading area. Create a mural theme around a genre of book, like a children’s area themed around old fairy tales.

Brightly colored walls or ceilings are also a great way to surprise visitors when they enter your library!

Library Design & Decor Matters

Creating unique decor ideas for libraries is not only possible but easy when you think outside of the box!

By adding custom seating options with colorful cushions as well as sculpted trees and fun colors throughout walls and furniture pieces you can create an inviting atmosphere that encourages exploration and learning in any library setting. Additionally, creating presentation areas with creative backdrops provides guest speakers with a platform they won’t soon forget while providing you with photo opportunities perfect for promoting your business on social media!

With just a few simple touches you can transform any drab library into an inspiring place full of possibilities! Start brainstorming some ideas today – your patrons will thank you later!

Check out these related resources for making your library decor unique:

Library Decor Inspiration

Tips for Creating a Presentation Area in Your Children’s Library



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What to Include in Your Perfect Indoor Family Play Area

Tips for Creating a Presentation Area in Your Children’s Library

Creating a Sense of Fun and Nostalgia for The Next Generation of Kids

5 Steps Churches Can Take to Create a Family-friendly Atmosphere

Help grow your congregation by taking a few extra steps to create a warm and inviting space for families. By building a family-friendly atmosphere and using kid-centric decor, you can keep your existing members engaged and help new families feel welcomed, especially if their children may feel intimidated by the space when attending church.

Let’s explore the steps you can make to create a more welcoming space for families in your church.

Here are 5 Steps You Can Take to Create a Family-friendly Atmosphere in Your Church

1. Provide Activities and Spaces for Children

Youth-focused activities such as Sunday school, or youth groups will keep your younger members feeling more engaged, have a sense of community, and have a chance to build friendships. Creating collaborative events such as group volunteering or church preparations allow your kids to become more involved and grow their critical thinking skills to prepare them for the future.

Consider giving children their own space within your church that will allow them to have fun, feel safe, and leave a memorable experience to look forward to next time.

Providing a space for kids can include themed play areas, age-appropriate activities like slides for youngsters and video games for teens, or a hang-out room with child-friendly furnishings. These themed spaces can bring life into a room and leave a memorable impression on both kids and new families alike.

Something as simple as custom murals can make all the difference in a room. Using colorful murals and kid-friendly messaging on your walls can help ease the nerves and show new families that your church cares.

Take it one step further and add murals to your windows. This can help make your church stand out and set the tone for what’s expected to come.

View of cozy daycare room with backyard-themed glass window murals
View of cozy learning room with backyard-themed window murals.


2. Create Accommodations for Families

Offering amenities such as changing tables, nursing rooms, and children-sized bathroom fixtures are another great way to create a family-friendly environment within your church. Having these fixtures will create both a handy and thoughtful area for your members. Theming of these spaces with bright colors and images can add a vibrancy that can cater to your children.

3. Nurture a Sense of Community

Creating a welcoming and inclusive environment will help your members feel comfortable and want to stay within your community. Be proactive when it comes to connecting with your members and ensure that they feel invited and welcomed to participate.

Ways to encourage a welcoming environment can include inviting new patrons to community events or classes, providing them with information on ways they can stay engaged with the church, or connecting them with other members that have similar interests.

4. Encourage Intergenerational Connections

Encouraging connections throughout generations can build camaraderie within your church. Involving the older and younger members of your church to connect can create opportunities for learning life lessons, building trust, and developing new skills.

Hosting programs or events such as recreational sports leagues, weekly community gatherings or keynote speaker nights can provide opportunities for your members to grow and learn together regardless of age.

You can even create special presentations or theater areas for children to watch and learn from others in a fun and inviting atmosphere.

theater themed selfie stage in pediatric dentist office

5. Provide Resources for Families

Providing informational resources to your members will further show that you care and are involved with your community.

Informational resources such as parenting tips, extracurricular activities, and information on caregiving can be stepping stones to building a strong family-friendly environment. These resources can be physical through pamphlets and printouts or can be digital by hosting a newsletter or blog online for your church.

Transform Your Church into a Sanctuary for Families

By taking these 5 steps, you can welcome families old and new, helping to grow your church community. When new families come to visit your church, they will be happy to know that the church they attend is accommodating, caring and resourceful.

Building a friendly community doesn’t happen overnight but with the right amount of consistency and proactive initiatives, your new members will be right at home in no time.

Want to learn more about transforming your church into a sanctuary for children with the help of IDS? Click here.

Want more resources for making your church family-friendly? Check out the blog below.




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What to Include in Your Perfect Indoor Family Play Area

Tips for Creating a Presentation Area in Your Children’s Library

Creating a Sense of Fun and Nostalgia for The Next Generation of Kids

The Benefits of Theming for DSOs

Dental Support Organizations (DSO) and Dental Group Practices are built by hard-working professionals who have established reliable partnerships to grow their business nationwide. They own and operate anywhere from 10 to 1000 dental practices.

Resourcefulness and efficiency are at the core of these organizations’ models – providing management and marketing support so location staff can focus on doing what they do best – providing quality care for their patients. With the combined knowledge and skills of everyone involved, this creates a well-oiled, efficient business.

Is this you? If so, it’s time to ask “What can I do to ensure success?”

Read along to uncover the added benefits of running a DSO or Group Practice, plus the new opportunities for the future of your operations with a secret ingredient that has proven to increase the success of dental offices – themed office decor.

What is IDS Theming?

IDS theming is the transformation of a mundane space into a magical place.

We specialize in the conceptualization, design, and creation of playful murals, engaging 3D decor, and interactive gaming for pediatric medical environments.




Many young patients experience high anxiety and stress when faced with dental and medical procedures. Themed healthcare offices can prevent and reduce patient anxiety, help create client satisfaction, secure returning clientele, and grow your business.

DSO locations and Group Practices reap the rewards of these benefits at a heightened level. Because they have multiple locations at once working under the same mentality of communicating dependable brand values and the promise of providing an exceptional patient experience through the deployment of consistent decor across the board. When people like what they see, their trust in your business is reinforced.

While you are noodling about your wildest theming dreams, continue reading to unveil in greater detail just how it can work for an organization.

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Create Consistent Brand Recognition Amongst Your Locations

Your brand is your “thing”. To have a strong brand you need to establish that “thing” you are known for and create a consistent experience for your clients location-wide. By eliminating the mundane and clinical stereotype of what a medical environment should look like, you are creating a stand-out brand for your business. That “thing” patients and parents will know you for is being fun & welcoming plus your endeavor to go above and beyond for their patient experience.

Before you came here, you already knew what you wanted your patients to think about you – that you care about providing them with the best of the best – the best care, treatment, and experience. Theming can help you create a consistent experience across your organization’s landscape.

Dr. Joe Yale, owner of an IDS themed office says it best,

I believe that our theme provides a visual manifestation of how committed we are to giving the best level of customer service and the best experience a child could have. It’s all about the people, the patients, and parents that we take care of.

Take this multi-location dental and ortho office as an example. The same reception desk, murals, and welcoming whale are found at each location. These familiar features make a friendly environment for patients, no matter which location they go to.

By taking the anxiety out of appointments with whimsical distractions, you’ll get parents talking – on social media, at family gatherings, and with their friends over coffee.

From Dr. Alexandra Jensen,

“We live in an age where the big thing online is the review it’s the facebook ads it, it’s the facebook mommy’s and just hearing word of mouth. That being said, I think the theme of the office gives parents something to talk about.”

And here’s how the process went for themed multi-office owner and CEO, Jennifer Kreidler-Moss,

IDS delivered exactly what we wanted. They took our grand ideas and turned them into cohesive themes suitable for our spaces and our budget. We loved customizing the small details and they walked us through the process every step of the way.

Each of her 11 locations has a different child-friendly sitting corner with fun seating and a branded photo op character.

Supercharge Your Marketing Plan and Make Your Building Your Biggest Advertising Asset

Speaking of photo ops, theming is a great way to add extra flair to your marketing materials and social media feeds.

Dentist and owner, Dr. Michael Lateiner has seen it with his own eyes,

Patients come into the office and are immediately comfortable and the parents can’t stop taking pictures. They made my office the talk of the town!!!

Photo ops, from characters to head holes to surfing waves, are a great way to get organic advertising for your business. Sharing photo ops with happy clients increase social media engagement. It also adds the benefit of ‘social proof’, the idea that consumers will adapt their behavior according to what other people are doing, and potential clients will see your business as trustworthy.

The most successful photo op is a mascot that represents your business. The dental market is now more competitive than ever, and you need to use all resources available to stand out from the crowd. Mascots are memorable, helping your brand become more recognizable. A branded mascot can increase a company’s profit and emotional connection with customers by up to 40.9%, according to Technicolour Creative Studio.

One of our most successful partners has created an entire magical world surrounding their mascots. Every location has a familiar face to greet visitors.

Exterior Landmark characters make a business’s exterior stand out visually to people passing by. They draw attention, stir conversation, and become a part of the community’s vernacular. “Turn right at the giant octopus” will become a common phrase heard around town.

Landmark characters completely changed the way owner Sheryl Wright saw her building,

“As a result of the theming, marketing has definitely improved. Even if patients cannot remember the name of the clinic, they know where we are and that our clinic is the fun place for kids to come play while they are waiting for their appointment. Telling patients it is the clinic with the octopus is an easy visual landmark to help them find us. This has helped get new patients through the doors.

Themed interior decor is a game-changer for creating marketing campaigns that stand out amongst the mass of dental reminder postcards and facebook ads. Featuring photos of your interiors with all the amenities you have to offer will get you noticed amongst the noise.

For Dr. Scott Savel, owner of 3 themed IDS offices, the horizon for future success is endless,

We found that theming has been instrumental in our success. By making the investment, it sets us apart. Especially in pediatrics, we walk into an area and we’re a category-killer in that area. We’re definitely planning on opening multiple offices and using theming for all of them.

Ultimately, when you have successfully established brand recognition within your clientele, they know who you are, what you do, and the level of service you provide – all the things they need to know to trust your organization which will help you grow your business.

Sensitivity to Ownership Changes

When you acquire an established practice, there are going to be existing patients and families that are connected and loyal to the previous provider.

With this in mind, as the buyer, you must be mindful of these existing clients’ feelings and find ways to communicate that the change in ownership will only make the place they know and love even better.

Change Can be Good

By joining up with a DSO, dental offices become infused with the latest in staff training, more efficient billing & insurance management, and access to modern technology. But those beneficial improvements might not be obvious to the average customer.

Decor upgrades to your space can be visual cues for patients to recognize this promise to improve their experience and help build their trust in your brand and services. By signaling your willingness to go above and beyond for the comfort of your young patients in ways the previous owners did not, you can help build those new relationships and create loyal customers.

Repeatability Makes Adding Unique Decor Easy

What we do over here at IDS is create original environments for our clients. With our team, you can develop a custom package of repeatable and on-brand decor for all of your locations.

From the initial design concepts, a Group Practice or DSO corporation is making an original, customized investment in their business. This investment is one that is unique to their brand but can be flexible in its conceptualization and execution so core design elements can be re-deployed across multiple locations.

We’ll be candid, there is a cost to the theming process. However, savings on economies can be amplified by theming all offices with the same foundational essentials – a mascot, desk cladding, repeatable wall murals, and more. Once design, brand, and execution are established, there is no starting from scratch when expanding to new locations.

For example, this carnival themed DSO has the same balloon-riding monkey photo op in each location.

Once the design is complete, we can adjust for size, position, and ceiling height in each location. We have installed 6 locations already, with 3 more locations getting themed this year, and more planned for the future.

The ROI From IDS Theming

Like we said, theming is a big investment, but it is an investment in your future success. The payback is unbeatable and our clients have experienced the difference themed decor makes in their businesses.

Even the independent dentists we work with have achieved so much success after theming they are able to open a 2nd, 3rd, or even a 7th or 8th office with the profits achieved from their first themed office.

From Dr. Bill Martin,

At first when I got into this I said to myself wow, this is a lot of money. But when I look at the benefits of it, it really is a marketing tool because you don’t have to put up a billboard when you have an office like this. I think undeniably this is the best marketing tool you can possibly use.

Check out the video below to hear what they had to say:

What’s Next for Your Business?

As previously mentioned, resourcefulness and efficiency are at the core of these organizations’ models. What’s next is asking if your offices are currently working for you in the best way possible to amplify your marketing and business success.

Theming helps add another level of resourcefulness and efficiency to your current business model by working to magnify and engage the added benefits you hold from running a DSO. Are you ready to take the leap?

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What to Include in Your Perfect Indoor Family Play Area

Tips for Creating a Presentation Area in Your Children’s Library

Creating a Sense of Fun and Nostalgia for The Next Generation of Kids

Optimize Your Healthcare Facilities for Patient Acquisition

Convincing new patients to choose you for their care is a journey – a journey that starts with the patient’s first appointment and develops through a series of good experiences with your clinic. Those positive results will typically point back to how well your office is optimized for patient acquisition.

That’s no small feat. These days patient interaction is skewed by your staff demeanor, your standard of care, the services you provide, insurance acceptance, and more. That also includes the design of your office which enhances or diminishes a patient’s impression of you, your team, and your skills.

Conscious Effort is Required to Attract New Patients

The cost of acquiring one new patient can total hundreds of dollars or more. Your total investment can vary from patient to patient depending on their responsiveness to either your office culture or future targeted marketing initiatives.

There’s also the competitive environment that hospitals and clinics exist in. Advertising campaigns can cross the line of sight of potential patients via direct mail pieces or online advertisements. Healthcare providers spend upwards of $10 billion on advertising a year in the US – that’s a lot of effort being poured into attracting new clients.

The conclusion that can be drawn from this is clear – the choice is in the hands of the patients!

And that is the problem you have to solve with your acquisition efforts – occupying a prominent place in their mind when they are making a choice about their health or their family’s care. You must be intentional in your actions to secure their attention and keep it.

Be Aware of the Environment You Have Created for Your Patients

Your physical space, clinic atmosphere, vibe, and overall culture can have a substantial impact on patient acquisition. New patients especially are discerning about specific things relative to your office environment.

  • Does the space mitigate their anxieties?
  • Does it feel like a safe and sterile environment?
  • Will satisfaction be consistent across satellite locations?

These factors align with what’s referred to as evidence-based design strategy. That’s the theory that you can create an office environment that helps you achieve the best possible healthcare outcomes.

And of course, this would strongly influence the acquisition of new patients.

The power of first impressions relies on how each patient feels the moment they encounter your practice. It could be the tone of a direct mailout, the glowing referral of a friend or online review, or the atmosphere of the office when they first walk in.

”Design choices matter. Approximately 24 to 35% of a patient’s overall satisfaction with a health care experience is influenced by the design and decor of the facility.” [1]

Design Details that Influence Patient Acquisition

Overall Design Details

Interior design and decor are important for setting a mood in your dental office.

Maximizing your office design extends from curb to exam room. Remember that one scheduled appointment doesn’t guarantee a second. Make a first impression that sticks like glue.

  • Apply conscientious design from the entrance to the reception to the exam & treatment areas.
  • Maintain and routinely upgrade your exterior and interior spaces.
  • Theme your office to connect with your patient demographic.

Create a Mood with Details in Your Front Office and Reception Area

The attention to detail you bring to establish the vibe of your entry areas will help your patients connect with your space. A pleasant and comfortable tone invites guests in and makes them feel at home. This feeling will have patients willing to begin establishing a long-term relationship with your practice. 

It has been amazing to see the overwhelmingly positive reaction of patients as they come in for treatment. Providing exceptional care and comfort are foundational to my practice. Since the installation, I have watched their joy increase immensely.

– Dr. Clyde Maxwell

When creating a patient welcome area, there are a few things you should try to accomplish.

Welcome your patients to your office with a smile. Your receptionists are the first people your clients interact with, and as such, are the face of your company. Use your reception desk or check-in desk as a beacon to welcome them inside your space.

Include natural features such as plants, nature art, outdoor views, soft lighting, and skylights that utilize natural lighting effects. Provide patients with a comfortable place to relax their minds.

underwater themed waiting room with custom murals, whale sculpture and fish
Village Family Dental Surgery

Include elements like reading materials, free wi-fi, and especially in the case of pediatric areas, themed decor, etc.

An important part of your reception area is entertainment. Turning the wait time into a relaxing or even a fun time with amenities like free wifi, snacks, or games for kids is a great we to turn your office into a welcoming space.

A separate play corner or room for children in waiting areas creates a special space just for them (and a space where adults can relax without the noise of children). A welcoming space for children will reduce their anxiety, but also put their parents at ease knowing they are entertained and occupied, and in the end have them both looking forward to their appointments!

Pikeville Medical Center Children’s Hospital
Gunderson Health System
Andalusia Clinic for Kids Wellness

Ultimately, the intentions are to create a space that your clients enjoy visiting and are motivated to return to when a future need arises. Patients, whether children or adults, will acknowledge and appreciate that you put effort into their comfort and entertainment by paying attention to the spaces they will be using.

Extend Friendly Decor into Your Examination Spaces

Bring the journey beyond your waiting room and into the rest of your space with themed decor. Bright colors and landscape imagery promise your guests a distraction from their ailments if they choose your services. After time spent in your space, patients will know your priorities are giving top not services and a positive experience. 

Pediatric wards can especially benefit from transformative decor in exam and recovery areas. Young patients will feel at ease and parents will have a great distraction for their children. Here are some great examples of how themed office decor has transformed office spaces to create a positive pediatric patient experience.

Surf’s up in this exam room mural.
Jungle murals brighten up a sterile treatment room.
Patients will feel like they’re going on a walk through the wilderness in this treatment area hallway.

At the end of the day, it is the vibe you create in your business space that helps patients feel more engaged and in control of their relationship with you as their care provider.

Theming on the Building’s Exterior to Grab Attention

Visibility, parking availability, ease of access, and exterior aesthetic are all factors that set the tone for patient acquisition success.

At IDS we are all about making the best first impressions for pediatric healthcare environments. We work with family-friendly businesses to design both big and small themed elements for the exterior of their locations. Whether it is a giant blue whale perched on top of a building, a pirate ship busting through the wall, or a quirky photo op, people will begin to associate your business with your theming choices… “They promise a friendly experience!” or “These people go above and beyond for their clients.”

And here’s the thing with exterior theming, suddenly your building is advertising for you 24/7. Exterior theming will not only attract new clientele but spread the word around town about who you are and what you do.

 “As a result of the theming, marketing has definitely improved. Even if patients cannot remember the name of the clinic, they know where we are and that our clinic is the fun place for kids to come play while they are waiting for their appointment. Telling patients it is the clinic with the giraffe and alligator is an easy visual landmark to help them find us. This has helped get new patients through the doors.”

– Sheryl Wright, Family Nurse Practitioner and Owner of Reelfoot Pediatrics

Relationship Development Details that Affect Patient Acquisition

Not all relationships start at a good place. In fact, for many healthcare appointments, there might already be a strike against you.

It’s nothing personal, it’s just that individual health is well, personal. Put in the work of creating the right environment and match that with good relational skills to help dissolve your patients’ natural existing anxieties.

Pay Personal Attention to Your Patients

It’s easy for patients to feel like a number in a long line of appointments you have throughout the day. Every patient interaction or conversation provides you an opportunity to deepen your relationship with them.

Your top relational skill is listening!

It helps to rely on your office design flow for enhanced listening. Meaning, that it’s a good idea to have patient conversations in a designated, comfortable consult area.

Patients will feel more at ease and you and your team members will be better equipped to truly listen to what your patients share with you.

This consult area is designed to put kids at ease as they sit with their parents.

You can also offer additional points of contact beyond an in-person exam and consultation. Making yourself or resources available to your patients beyond office hours will help them feel valued and connected.

Leverage Your Knowledge to Build Trust with Your Patients

Patients know it’s a good idea to take care of their physical health. But they’re often lacking the “why” behind it.

Trust is a defining element in any relationship, but is particularly central to the patient-physician relationship. Trust is built through knowledge and being able to convey that knowledge to your patients in a way they will understand. Patients who feel informed are more likely to have a positive experience. And that positive experience leads to an increase in your patient acquisition success.

  • Listen to their specific questions, and find a solution that is unique to them and their situation.
  • Encourage them to ask questions about your standard of care, technology, treatment outcomes, financials, and more. Freedom to inquire (without judgement) enhances the doctor-patient relationship.
  • Have resources available that they can take home or look up online beyond the appointment to help them feel empowered.

Patients who trust their healthcare providers are more likely to have longer relationships with their physicians.

Schedule the Next Appointment

Relationships require consistency. The same applies to maintaining health. Your intentional efforts to set a patient’s next follow-up appointment confirms that you consider their healthcare as a priority.

Staying connected to you and your office and their health maintains consistency that is essential. Those levels of consistency confirm that you’re on the path to increasing your patient acquisition percentages.

Keep in mind that acquiring patients is fundamentally a two-fold process. It is one part environment and one part relational.

Optimize your clinics around each and you’ll increase your successful patient acquisition.

Check out these related resources on these strategies that lead to an increase in patient acquisition:

6 Dental Office Images That Show How Intentional Design Impacts Patient Experience

What is Patient Experience and Why Does It Matter?

A Practical Guide to Creating an Exceptional Patient Experience

Contact Imagination Design Studios (IDS) to get started transforming your office from a mundane to magical patient experience.



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What to Include in Your Perfect Indoor Family Play Area

Tips for Creating a Presentation Area in Your Children’s Library

Creating a Sense of Fun and Nostalgia for The Next Generation of Kids

Top 7 Interactive Waiting Room Ideas

We have seen a shift in how people place value on a service – where once people were only concerned with how effective their treatment was, now they are concerned with how fun or enjoyable their experience in your care was as well.

As a business owner, you see the value in the services you offer because you are delivering a product or service you are both skilled at and passionate about. Patients and their families will appreciate your skill once in your exam room, but what about the time they spend in your waiting room?

By providing the visitors to your office an engaging atmosphere, you can get a jump start on establishing positive relationships with patients the second they walk through your door.

Create a Positive Patient Experience with these 7 Interactive Waiting Room Ideas

1. Interact with People – Welcome Your Patients to the Office with a Smile

In our technological age, we understand how tempting it is to bring digitization into your business, especially when you have already worked hard to provide external digital affordances like an informative website, online booking calendars, chatboxes, or even mobile diagnostic apps. As a result, mobile check-in services and electronic kiosks are enticing to implement to save on resources… but where’s the interaction?

There is an unmatched value in staffing your waiting area with a wonderful individual or team to greet your visitors who want to have some human interaction, rather than relying on a virtual receptionist.

These individuals are the first people your clients have interaction with inside your business and as such, should be thought of as the face of your company. They can brighten your visitor’s first moments in your space with a positive and cheerful interaction. It is this interaction that can impact their frame of mind heading into their appointment.

Face-to-face interaction extends the convenience of connectivity and this is essential to building genuine trust and loyalty that your clients will have with your business.

2. Interact with Entertainment – Add Digital Entertainment to Your Waiting Room

However, after saying digital greetings are impersonal, we must assure you that digital conveniences aren’t all bad.

People are eager to have an exciting outlet to take their mind off waiting, which is typically a mundane experience. Whether it’s a theater experience, video game tablets, or something more special like an interactive floor projection game, digital entertainment is a way for guests to disconnect from the mundane waiting process and connect with the fun vibe of your office experience.

Cozy theater space for your waiting room.
Fun theater area for the whole family.
Video game station for children and teens.
Floor projection game for kids.

Visits to medical environments can often be anxiety-inducing. Offering a moment of relief through a funny movie, thrilling video game, or interactive simulation can make waiting feel like an opportunity to relax and feel secure in the space they are in. Additions like these have been uniquely constructed in office spaces for both children and parents to engage with and feel welcome by making them feel like they are a part of the space.

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3. Interact with Play – Active Waiting Room Play Areas for Kids and Tots

Like the theater and gaming areas discussed above, another interactive convenience you can add if you have a child-friendly business is a play area with active entertainment like slides, KeeBee playboards, an I Spy wall mural, or even a giant Litezilla light board.

Slides to help burn off energy.
Playboards for younger kids.
An I Spy wall mural with hidden pictures.
Litezilla giant lite brite.

If you cater to both kids and adults, you can create a special kids area or playroom just for them. IDS designers are experts at helping offices create a memorable space that is equal parts fun and functional.

A designated room for kids with a themed entrance.
A play structure for kids to play inside.
A divider wall in a large room creates a play area for kids.

Telling a child to sit still and wait is a taxing job. Parents will be appreciative of a space for their children to escape and play while they can relax knowing their kids are in a safe and fun environment.

4. Interact with Learning – Entertaining Education for Kids

While keeping kids occupied with different activities, why not add some education into the mix? Any dental office can benefit from a tooth brushing station where kids can practice brushing and flossing. A tooth model with some icky cavities shows kids why brushing is so important.

Interactive brushing model for kids.
Interactive tooth models showing healthy teeth, cavities, and roots.

Kids can play and learn at the same time, helping them remember the lessons of the day when they get home to brush their own teeth.

5. Interact with Amenities – Charging Station and Free Wifi

When children are distracted by your engaging entertainment, parents have a moment to themselves and will turn to their own entertainment – their phones. Supplying your waiting room with a charging station and a free wifi hub is a thoughtful way to offer additional convenience to your visitors while they wait.

Wireless charging has improved by leaps and bounds, so don’t think of a charging station with a mess of wires. You can even add a charging table with hidden wireless charging spots to your waiting room.

Wireless charging is easier than ever.

Providing your guests with a hotspot is an enticing opportunity for your guests to share their whereabouts which will extend the name of your office out into the community. Maybe they will share a picture of their little one having a blast playing on the slide or a video of them making an artistic design on the LiteZilla lite brite.

6. Interact with Memories – Photo Ops for Your Guests

Create a social media moment and give your clients something to pose with while they wait. Photo ops are a great interactive form of entertainment that doubles as a marketing tool for your office. Parents will share photos of the fun time they and their kids had at your office with their friends and family.

7. Interact with Tastebuds – Refreshments and Snack Stations

For an extra indulgent treat, supplying your waiting room with a snack hub can make or break a patient’s patience.

We have made a few tasty stations over the years. A few of our clients even have ice cream machines!

A few tips:

  1. Make sure there is a variety – ensure you have healthy options, allergy considerate, tea & coffee, sweet & salty. Your guests will be wowed and appreciate the thought behind the options.
  2. Have a suggestion box – pique their interest and have them looking forward to their favorite tasty treat when they return next.
  3. Brand your items – create custom stickers for your water bottles or tag your snacks with a thank you note. This additional step will leave guests feeling valued and aware of the extra mile you go for them and their comfort. 

At the end of the day, just show your clients who you are – the most caring provider in your community! Take these tips and modify them to suit you best and your clients will have no trouble recognizing the effort you put into your practice and space to make them feel involved and appreciated.

Including them through interaction with your space is an open invitation for them to return.

Check out these related resources for making your waiting room a fun place to spend some time:

Tips to Make Your Dental Practice More Inviting for Pediatric Patients

Top-Shelf Anxiety Books for Kids to Add to Your Clinic Waiting Area

Contact Imagination Design Studios (IDS) to get started transforming your office into an anxiety-free dental experience for kids.



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What to Include in Your Perfect Indoor Family Play Area

Tips for Creating a Presentation Area in Your Children’s Library

Creating a Sense of Fun and Nostalgia for The Next Generation of Kids




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