I can hardly believe that it is already November, and the holiday season is officially upon us. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to share something that I am incredibly thankful for- our playroom.
The playroom, and all of the elements within, are a staple in our household, so I wanted to share a few of these elements here with you today. From the foam mat where I introduce and execute all of our music, sensory, and fine motor skills activities, to the interactive boards and chalkboard walls, every element of the playroom has a function and a purpose. Our playroom is an ever-evolving organism, so I will definitely share updates as they change, but hopefully this will give you an idea of the different elements that help us get the most out of our playroom.
I figured that I would jump right in and address the focal point of our playroom- the teepee.
This was a birthday present for T from her incredibly talented Nini, and I seriously don’t know what we did before it came along. We are literally in the teepee EVERY DAY! We love the teepee, and from storytime to just playing around, we find ourselves in there a LOT. I feel like just about every catalog that comes in the mail these days has a teepee for sale, so don’t think that you have to be super talented (or in my case have a SUPER talented mom as she made literally every part of this teepee down to the pillows and fabric pom poms). I have seen teepees featured in Pottery Barn Kids and Land of Nod catalogs, and I have even seen them for sale at Hobby Lobby! With Christmas right around the corner, I think these would make an amazing gift, and I swear you will get your money’s worth out of any teepee that you purchase. Here are a few elements about our teepee that I think you may want to look for when purchasing a teepee yourself:
- A soft and REMOVABLE pad at the bottom. Seeing as we have hardwoods, it is nice to have a soft mat to sit on when we are cozying up in the teepee. When I commissioned my mom to make the teepee, I asked that the pad at the bottom be removable because I knew that we would want to wash it from time to time. This has been a really great element of the teepee, and in my opinion, a must for your own.
- Pillows! We have a variety of different sized pillows in the teepee, and it really makes it that much more cozy and inviting. The great thing about the pillows is that we throw them around the room for a variety of activities on the floor, so we get a lot of use out of them.
- One of the other things that I really love about our teepee is its ability to close. We keep it open for the most part, but it is nice to have the option to close it if we would like. We have been known to play hide and go seek using the teepee, and can’t you just envision future sleepovers incorporating the teepee down the road?!?! That, at least, is my plan!
- The last element that I’m going to suggest for your own teepee is a light, yet sturdy, frame. The frame of our teepee is built out of PVC pipe, which makes it incredibly light should we want to move it from one room to the next.
No matter the elements, find the teepee that fits your family, and your budget, best! At the end of the day, it will be a worthwhile investment that the kids will use for years to come.
Chair Railing/ Ledge
When we went to install the chair railing in the playroom last winter, I knew that I really wanted a ledge that I could set books and other objects upon. When I first told my husband about this, he thought I was CRAZY, and he said “No Way!” I asked him to trust me, told him my vision, and I’m so glad that he did! This seriously is one of my FAVORITE elements of the room. Being a former elementary school teacher, I have TONS of books for every day, season, and holiday. I wanted to incorporate these into my day to day activities, but I needed a way to “display” them in a way that the kids could not reach them. Hello tiny toddler hands and ripped paper pages. Right?!?! Hence, this amazing ledge.
(All of my tech savvy friends… I have tried and TRIED to rotate this image, but it keeps inserting this way. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!)
All there is to it is crown molding with a board “sitting” on top. (Sorry if I’m not using the correct builder terminology. Haha!) A little caulk, some trim paint, and you are good to go. Obviously I set my books on this little ledge, but I also use it to store some of our other materials that I want to keep out of reach from little fingers- color “discovery” jars, magnets, chalk, etc. I would HIGHLY recommend doing this type of railing in your playroom, or even in your child’s bedroom to display pictures and other knick knacks.
In a previous post about Art Tuesdays I talked about our chalkboard walls, and they really are such a fun element to the room. The definitely help to give it a kid “feel,” and the kids and I totally LOVE coloring on them from week to week. Refer to my previous post using the link above and read up on all the tips to find the right paint, etc. for your room. Chalkboard walls can be messy, but embrace the mess because you are building so many skills- fine and gross motor skills, a love of art, and even learning opportunities for letters, numbers, and colors. The possibilities are ENDLESS, and the good news… You can wipe it off and start fresh every day! 😉
A really important part of our playroom is the storage element. I am totally type A, so clutter drives me CRAZY, and everything needs to have it’s place. The most obvious storage element in the room are the wire baskets- one is from Wal-Mart and the other from Hobby Lobby. We put everything from toys, instruments from our Music Mondays, and books in these baskets.
I also use the mason jars on the ledge to store a variety of items used on our interactive boards.
(Again, apologize for the lack of rotation going on… Sorry!)
More to come on a storage element that I’m hoping to unveil after Christmas. Since I’ve been EXTRA good this year, I’m really hoping that Santa will bring it my way. 😉 Fingers crossed!
Interactive Board Wall
Another favorite area of the room for me is the wall that I use for our interactive boards. If you have been following along from the beginning, you probably remember reading about the magnetic board I created, as well as the sensory board, and most recently the interactive felt board. I love that all of these boards are interchangeable with three simple command hooks. I had my hubby hand screw these into the wall for added stability, and they work perfectly with these boards. Because of the movable nature of these hooks, I can easily interchange the magnetic board for the felt board for the sensory board, etc.
(Once again, sorry for the user error)
I HIGHLY recommend doing some type of interactive wall, as we use this wall at some point in the day EVERY day. It really is a fun and EASY way to incorporate another element of interactive play into the playroom.
Hopefully this has been an insight into the elements that have helped to bring our playroom (the nucleus of Bivone at Home) together. I wanted to add this little side note, however- the pictures above are not the “normal” state of our playroom. I am a REAL mom in a VERY REAL toddler world, and I took this picture early this morning while T was still sleeping. I had to clean it up for picture purposes. Haha! I just had to throw that out there because I know that we ALL can get caught up in the “comparing” games, which I am just as guilty of doing. I have to tell myself, and others, on a daily basis, “excuse the mess, we are making memories!”
What are some of your favorite elements of your own playrooms?!?! Always looking for ideas from you all!
Speaking of input… In the spirit of Thanksgiving, would y’all be interested in me sharing some of our favorite toddler friendly recipes?!?!