Thursday, April 7, 2016

spaces: our creative play space.

We spend the majority of time in our basement.  Our family room and play space are one large area and since we don't have a tv on our main floor, this is the spot where we gather, play, watch movies and relax.

The playspace seems to be in constant evolution as our children grow.  One common trend that has stuck over time is the idea of keeping it simple, but always a space that will inspire creativity.  I am proud to have gotten to the point we are at now with our "stuff".  We have worked hard to declutter and keep toys and activities to a minimum.  The play things we have kept inspire creativity, building, problem solving and imagination.  I didn't "decorate" the space with excessive decorative items because I wanted the space to feel airy and clutter-free with room to build, create and play.

desk area.

The long desk spans the length of the playspace.  We DIY'd the desk using two BESTA cabinets with legs and the desk top is made from a wood piece we found at IKEA in the as-is section. In it's previous life, it may have been a door to a piece of furniture.   The desktop is anchored by the BESTA cabinets and a wood bracket is screwed to the wall under the mid-section for added support.

Above the desk we hung the IKEA DIGNITET curtain wire to display kid art.  They are so proud to hang their creations.  A tray holds pencils, markers, crayons and chalk.  The BESTA cabinets provide ample storage for craft supplies and art books.

On the wall, two metal pantry baskets are home to a library of favorite books.  Above the baskets, I repurposed a LEGO MAN blueprint from Hank's room.

lego storage. 

I did something I never, ever thought I would do... and I'm still not convinced of it.  I SORTED OUR LEGO.  Growing up, I had LEGO in one large bin.  I would dump it out on a blanket and play for hours.  Up until now, my kids did the same.  Between my three kids, the LEGO would never stay on the blanket and we'd spend just as long, cleaning it up.  I loved the hunt for just the right pieces and I think it's part of the fun and play.

I sorted the LEGO based on colour and used an IKEA HELMER drawer unit for storage.  I designed little tags for each drawer.  Atop the desk, we sorted jars of people and parts, wheels, and special pieces.

So far, I believe it provides more structure and less overwhelming play, but they definitely don't play LEGO as often as when we used to dump the bucket and build.  Do you sort your LEGO?

toy storage.

We've had the four white wooden stacking storage bins from for nearly 6 years now.  They are a knock off to the Storagepalooza bins from Land of Nod. These bins are great for our foam building blocks, Duplo, Little People, Imagninext and wooden train set.  I have a cubby filled with puzzles and games that I swap out every once in awhile.

One large canvas bin sits on the floor and is home to random musical instruments and stuffed toys.

We are lucky to have a double doored closet filled with wire shelving where the majority of our toy storage is.  These clear plastic bins from IKEA work so well for toy storage.  They're sturdy and see-through so no labelling is required.  We have a one bin at one time rule but it's loosely followed!

Like our mudroom, we have one IKEA STUVA drawer at the bottom of the closet that we use as our "Tickle Trunk" for all of our dress up clothes and accessories.

chalk wall.

By far the best addition to our creative play space is our enormous chalk wall.  It provides hours of endless entertainment for the kids... and I!  After two years, I recently gave it a fresh coat of chalkboard paint which is why it looks so fresh and clean.  It's anticipating scribbles and doodles now.

The chalk wall makes very little mess.  The chalk dust falls to the baseboard and I give it a wipe every once in awhile... and we usually stick to white chalk.  We are lucky to have installed some leftover laminate flooring and that helps with keeping it clean.  If you have a carpeted play area, I may think twice!

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