Swings (you need one!)

Processed with VSCO with acg preset

Planning an outdoor play space for your favorite tiny human! Make sure to add a swing (or even better, two). On top of the gross and fine motor benefits of swinging, it’s a really lovely social activity for friends of any age. Little ones will feed off each other’s giggles and glee, and older kids will open up and really chat! It’s also a naturally calming activity and amazing for sensory integration, so it’s no wonder swinging just makes you feel good!
Looking for the perfect place to hang a swing but lacking that magical perfectly placed tree branch? We had the same issue. The solution for us was to build a simple arbor to hang them from. To add some greenery we grew banksia roses up and over it – a really lovely fast growing thornless climbing rose. The arbor now also acts as the unofficial (and I think very beautiful) gateway to our boys’ main outdoor play area.

End your day with a quick play space refresh (your kids will thank you)!

The kids are asleep and you’re ready to turn in too, when you walk past their play space and realize your darling babies did not do a very effective job cleaning up. The temptation of course is to walk past and let them deal with it in the morning, buuuuuut I have another suggestion. Stop and spend the time cleaning up and setting out play invitations for the morning.

  • Don’t just dump things into the nearest basket, but spend the time to sort and put things away in their correct home.
  • Make sure the baskets and shelves are inviting and their play kitchen doesn’t resemble the aftermath of a huge dinner party.
  • Run the vacuum over the floor – guaranteed there are traces of snack and play still afoot.

Because here’s the thing, when your child wakes up in the morning and sees a beautiful clean space with inviting play invitations (think the start of a block tower, or a tea party set up at their little table) they are 1000 times more likely to want to play and engage with the space, which in turn increases your chances of extra sleep and a little time to spend on yourself. #everyonewins

DIY combo light table/train table/coffee table (aka, the furniture dream).

c0b8cab5-d801-4296-92a1-ed01dc1f2b3b
Light Table
f31eb521-3d95-4f48-9794-0ec7c339d997
Train/Play Table
e3144cda-12e6-4a52-bae0-d1328d3d49a3
Coffee Table

I am forever getting these big ideas, so it’s rather lucky that I am married to someone who is willing to make them a reality. Case in point, when our oldest was a baby I decided he had to have a light table, that also doubled as a train/play table, and that we could also use as a coffee table. It needed to be beautiful and affordable to make too. Easy right?

With lots of planning, some tool lending from friends, and lots of tweaking to get the lights just right, my darling wonderful husband built me this! Four years and another baby later, it still gets used daily. The light table element is definitely the most popular layer, but it is used in all its iterations. Don’t you kind of need one now too? 🙂

Lillie Foulé’s Bedroom/Play Space Makeover | October 2019

Lillie Foulé’s bedroom doubles as her play space (and at times as a play space for her baby brother too). Her mama reached out to me because she was feeling overwhelmed by the space, which had become cluttered and wasn’t fostering independent deep play. After an initial consultation it was evident that the main issue was LF had too much stuff.

Being her bedroom, the room needed to have a bed and a space to store all her clothes. It is also the access for her parent’s bedroom door, which is in the finished attic. Being her play space, there was a lot of toys, stuffies, art supplies, and lot of miscellaneous. Lillie Foulé is a vivacious creative four year-old, so finding a way to create a calming sleep space as well as an inviting play space was the challenge.

BEFORE and AFTER

Continue reading “Lillie Foulé’s Bedroom/Play Space Makeover | October 2019”

An indoor cube ‘clubhouse’ (as my boys like to call it).

Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset

A couple of years ago my lovely husband built this cube for our boys for Christmas. They ending up only wanting to play on top of it, so it was relegated to the basement. Fast forward to now, and while working on building a bookcase for a family using fun legs from DIY Hairpin Legs, I had the happy thought that our boys would love the cube if it was lofted vs sitting on the ground. So I bought some fun super tall hairpin legs for us (our house is tiny, so the space under it needed to still be usable too) and voila, this magic happened today. A ladder* still needs to be made, but for now our trusty Tripp Trapp chair by Stokke works perfectly.

*update – a ladder has been made, hooray!

Drowning in STUFF? Just get rid of it.

70878995_10156982011488172_7968477464496177152_o

It’s funny how much anxiety ‘stuff’ can give you, and when you have kids you seem to always have a lot of ‘stuff’. Take the PlayMobil in our house. I had never heard of it before moving to the US and for awhile I would find (and of course buy) bags and bags of it from thrift stores – especially the vintage stuff. I organized it beautifully and placed it out for my oldest to enjoy. And he did love it, but the way he played with it was ALWAYS tip it all out and ultimately leave a trail of pieces all over the house, with ‘junk piles’ of PlayMobil placed in vehicles and other various places. I’m all for toys being played with in open-ended ways, but this game made me miserable. And trust me, it’s not worth being miserable over a toy.

So one day when his interests had shifted, I packed up 99% of the PlayMobil and donated it. Just like that. Did my son ask for it and miss it? Not really. I kept the few key pieces I knew he loved, and by removing the rest of the pieces, he actually started to really engage and play with the PlayMobil vs just exploding them like a volcano. Click HERE for a great article about why fewer toys will benefit your child.

So often I hear from parents that they are hesitant to give away toys because 1) their child might miss it, or 2) it was given by a friend or family member and they worry about upsetting that person. Let me tell you, 1) your child will thank you for creating a cleaner more organized play space. It’s overwhelming for them to be surrounded by so much stuff and it’s hard to focus and play when you don’t know where anything is. Nobody needs 30 stuffed animals or 100 broken crayons. Do yourself and them a favor and purge! I know it’s good practice to get your child involved in the process, but for most kids, giving away their toys is next to impossible. My advice, and what works well for my family, is to find a balance. Continue reading “Drowning in STUFF? Just get rid of it.”

Ring Ring! Old Phones are the JAM for Play! | #unexpectedtoys

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

I have a weak spot for old things – people, pets, and play materials included (haha). When we moved into our house there was an old house push button phone, which we immediately put into our kids’ play kitchen space. It has been used 1000 times over since then to ‘call’ all sorts of people. We did the same thing with an old flip cell phone we had, and most recently I bought a beautiful old wall-mounted rotary dial telephone from a yard sale and added that to their play space. What I’m saying is that old phones* make excellent toys. They are the perfect dramatic play accessories that can be used to order food, call family and friends, dial in for a super hero, call the fire department, share spy messages etc etc. So next time you thrift, or you’re at your parents or even grandparents house, see what you can find and bring home with you. Your kids will thank you!

*I don’t recommend using iPhones or other touch screen type phones as a toy, because when dropped the screens can easily shatter and make tiny pieces of glass that are primed to cut skin.