Clay | A fun first introduction (warning – its’ messy ;)

48a885b8-b8ea-4985-a1ca-5efe5df5d1c1Wednesday’s are for #humpdayhangouts – a weekly play date I host with friends and their little ones. This morning’s session was taken up a notch with an unexpected acquisition of a lovely chunk of clay. I know your instinct might be to give each child their own little piece to work with, in the same way you would play dough, but I find that young children need a chance to fully explore the clay as a whole before they are ready or willing to create individually.

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For today’s play invitation I laid out a large plastic drop cloth and put the whole piece of clay in the center of it. Around the clay I placed various tools and materials – kitchen utensils, tongs, rocks, seed pods, little branches with leaves, a large log, yard flamingoes, and a bowl of warm water with little sponges. The children watched as I set it up and naturally were interested in taking a closer look. They took their cues from each other as they played and explored, learning about how the texture changes with the addition of water, or the ways the flamingoes beaks made such a lovely little finger sized hole.

fdf75f3d-8a92-4265-aaac-15965e140e37The first part of the play was really just getting familiar with the materials, then play arcs started to take shape. More tools were gathered from the sandbox area. The clay started to be shaped into things. Games started evolving. All of this with very minimal adult direction or interaction. Just beautiful independent social play with friends. #myheartishappy

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

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Light Table
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Train/Play Table
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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).

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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!

Audra’s Play Space Makeover | October 2018

Unfortunately I seem to have misplaced my final ‘after’ pics, so you’ll just have to use your imagination for this one with the pics I took while a work in progress.

Like every family who has their first baby, you start to collect an insane amount of stuff. Gear, toys, clothes, books etc – the list is long. As your little one grows you often don’t want to let go of the baby things, because what if you have another?! It’s also hard to let go of all the tiny cute baby things (I get it, I’m there). As a first time parent it can also be a bit mystifying knowing when to make that jump from baby stuff to toddler stuff.

Audra’s parents are in all those categories. Being very much a toddler now, they hadn’t made that switch yet from babyhood with her play spaces. Audra has her own bedroom, which they wanted to update into less of a nursery and more a space she could grow into. They also use their living room as a place for her to play, and they have a huge finished basement just begging to be a play space too. Budget was also a big factor, so it was important to work with what they had as much as possible.

Here’s what I did in each space.

BEDROOM

  • Removed the nursery decals from the bedroom walls and replaced with family photos, artwork, and a mirror.
  • Rearranged furniture to create a more functional footprint in the room.
  • Replaced the curtains.
  • Added a small bookshelf for additional book storage.

BEFORE

AFTER

Living Room 

  • Downsized the toys and books that were in this space and reorganized them into baskets. This made things easier to find and clean up for Audra.
  • Removed the small table and chairs to the basement space and added a coffee table (no picture of this, whomp whomp). This gave a Audra a space too work and the family an extra surface for drinks etc.
  • I also added new open ended toys like a train track and trains to this space, vs the plastic ones that were here previously.

BEFORE

AFTER

 

Basement

  • I removed the large plastic play pen that was serving no purpose anymore.
  • Similar to Evie and John’s play space, I used a Kallax shelf the family already had and some decals to create a little play kitchen along with toy storage.
  • Added an Ikea Raskog cart as an art cart and built a wall mounted easel.
  • Hung a large engineering print using a favorite photo of Audra.
  • Utilized the whole room to create different areas where Audra can play. The family weren’t ready to ditch the foam tiles (sigh), so we used them to delineate a little building nook like we would a real rug.
  • Added a lot more open-ended toys and materials, and removed a lot of plastic baby toys that were no longer age appropriate.

BEFORE

AFTER