Before we had kids, we swore we would not be those people with too many toys. Alas, 4 Christmases, 6 birthday parties, numerous yard sales and countless hand-me-downs later, we are.
When we moved into our new house, we knew the bonus room would be the perfect play space for our kiddos and their friends. We dumped the majority of our toys in there and it quickly became just that…. a dump. The kids would create such a mess (as they should) that it became overwhelming to clean up. Eventually even their play was distracted and disjointed.
With a lot of work, help from our friend Pinterest, and some ingenuity, we have finally created a play space we are excited about. By creating zones and adding in some organization, the kids are able to play more freely and really get into whatever they want to do. It is also far easier to clean up. Our 4-year-old knows exactly where everything goes, and even our little ones are able to identify what goes where. Here are some of our favorite areas:
We have several comfortable places to read throughout the playroom, but we also wanted to provide a quiet area where the kids can retreat with a book if there is too much hubbub going on elsewhere. When the kids are older we will put fun beaded string curtains up, but they are not safe for the ages of our kiddos at this time.
We created inexpensive bookshelves using plastic gutters. Facing the books forwards is a proven strategy to entice readers. Our oldest has always been an avid book lover, but since installing this in our playroom, the babies have shown greatly increased interest.
I created these letters using wooden letters, scrapbook paper, and Mod Podge. I am not going to lie, it took a lot longer and was much more stressful than I anticipated. I may have even said a few choice words to old Ms. Mod Podge. However, I am very happy with how they came out, so it was worth it in the end.
Kids need a space to create. We laid down foam pads that will be easier to clean when inevitable spills occur, found this awesome table at a yard sale to enable the kids to sit together comfortably, stocked the above cabinets with paper, crayons, scissors, markers, play dough, paint, etc. (Ideally, this would all be out so they can use it whenever the mood strikes, but since our twins are still in the eat-it, write-on-walls stage, we opted for safety first 🙂 ) Our piece de resistance- a giant chalkboard wall created with chalkboard paint. As you can see, it is a huge hit. Even our teenage cousins loved it when they came to visit!
We created this dress-up “closet” using an old media center. We gave it new life with a fresh coat of paint, stenciled letters, knocked out a few shelves, and inserted a tension rod. We are debating adding a mirror (fun vs. vanity). The part that says “Imagine” opens to reveal smaller shelves that hold mustaches, necklaces, badges, and eventually princess shoes I imagine. It keeps the dress-up clothes from ending up all over the floor, gives extra life to Halloween costumes, and encourages imagination and dramatic play. Our son will go through several outfits in a matter of minutes- he certainly comes out with some interesting creations at times!
Filled with trucks, cars, blocks, and a DIY train table (we prefer letting the kids use their imagination to create their own tracks instead of a pre-designed one), children can zoom around to their hearts’ content.
We actually made this for our son’s second birthday party. At the time we got a lot of flak for all the work we put in, yet here it is still going strong two years later! When it is time to officially retire the barn, it will become something else- a spaceship, pirate ship, castle, house. With a box, paint, and duct tape, the sky’s the limit!
I had seen people fill baby pools with balls, but wanted something with higher sides to contain my meandering duo. Enter the Pack-n-Play ball pit! It was such a hit, even the four year old climbed in. Now that they are older, they don’t like to be contained for long, so I often put this in the garage as a holding cell when I am loading or unloading the mini-van.
BINS Bins Bins
Bins are a toy organizing savior. They are perfect for storing smaller toys- Legos, balls, puzzles, figurines, etc. The key to keeping them from becoming a receptacle for gathering all randoms is labels. Use both the picture and the word to help non-readers know what goes where.
By leaving the walls neutral and using decals, it is a space that we can adapt as the children grow. Eventually the baby toys will make way for a couch, the train table will become a foosball table, the books in the reading nook more complex, the artwork more intricate. (I already have big plans for a Lego table!)
Our hope is that this room always remains a place of joy, memory making, learning and growth.
I would love to see pics of your favorite playroom spaces as well!
Thanks to the following Pinspirations!
Money Saving Sisters https://www.pinterest.com/pin/395753885982364970/