The Perfect Play Space

by Deb on October 4, 2010

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After enough drama for an Oscar, our new house is finally, hopefully, fingers crossed, settling tomorrow.  We won’t be moving straight away, so we have a chance to get everything organised before we go in there.

The house is up on stilts, an adult can walk under it very carefully but kids have no problems.  The first thing we are doing is having a deck and roof put on the back of the house so there will be a large undercover area.  And the very exciting part is that as well as their shared bedroom we will have a dedicated play room for the girls, we may even be able to give them a direct door out to the deck.

So now the question is: How would you create your perfect play space? Given unlimited time, resources and space, what would you do?  Not to say we have that, but the walls, furniture and storage system are all up for grabs and I’d like to brainstorm it with all of you, I think between us there will be some fabulous ideas 😀  The one thing we won’t be getting is more toys, we already have far too many of those, but the question is how to get the most out of them.

We already have some plans – the girls have each chosen a beautiful print for the walls, plus some acrylic heart mirrors.  We’ve chosen which letter wall stickers we are getting, have some butterflies and glow in the dark sky stickers coming and are dithering over other decorations (WANT!).  We want to get a large whiteboard/magnet board so they can play with the magnets and put their artwork up, but the chalkboard will be outside!  So will things like painting and water play, we’re looking at a trough or sink out there at their height.

The little one desparately wants her own desk, although seeing Mummy is getting a study (Yay!) and they won’t see me on the computer any more that may change.  On the other hand, the big girl will be starting school next year and while we certainly won’t be doing homework, she already likes writing.  And we want this setup to last and grow with them, so if there’s such a thing as children’s desks that can work for different sizes let me know.

We’re thinking that under the house can be a nice cubby so I’m tossing up whether that is a good place for the kitchen and home things and how to store them and keep them in good condition.  Bookshelves will be going into their bedroom, we have to decide whether to keep them in the one queensize bed or split them into two, especially considering neither of them are good sleepers and we spend a lot of time in with them.

So how about it?  What is your favourite type of children’s furniture?  Given that I’m notoriously disorganised and messy, how do you keep things in place?  Do you have the perfect children’s clock or other gadget?  What about the floor, currently gorgeous jarrah floorboards?  How do you protect and/or clean everything?  Basically, what works for you, what do you long for or what would you recommend?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle October 4, 2010 at 8:22 am

Wow! Sounds great. What a big question! I’ll definitely have to come back here if we ever do build our own place.

I don’t have too many answers, but I do really like using drawers for things – they hide a lot of mess and kids (well at least my daughter) quickly learn which is the dress up drawer, which is the craft drawer, which is the puzzle drawer etc etc. I find it helps me clean up too as I’m also notoriously messy.

We have a couple of sets of the IKEA Trofast drawers – I like them because the tops are just the right height for DD – in her room we’ve glued bookends on them to double up as bookshelves.

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Deb October 4, 2010 at 4:37 pm

We have some bookends, that’s a good idea everything keeps falling off the top.

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rivqa October 4, 2010 at 9:55 am

I envy friends’ Ikea Expedit shelves. They’re cube-shaped and can fit various containers so they work as drawers.

Our playroom is carpeted so we do arts and crafts and other messy things in the sunroom. For me the most important thing is that everything has a place, otherwise the toys encroach into the rest of the house and become trip hazards.
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Ange October 4, 2010 at 2:52 pm

We have a set of low _very solid_ shelves (3 shelves high, around 2m long), we got from an ex-govey furniture place – it also has a cupboard at one end with changeable shelf heights in it. I use plasetic boxes rather than drwaers, and prefer them, as the kids can take a box of blocks, puzzles, dressups, animals, musical instruments, cars, drawing things, whatever – to where they want to play with it, and have the box handy for packing up afterwards. Using clear plastic boxes means they can see at a glance what’s where on the shelves, and things can be rotated into and out of their favourite shelf spot. We also do chalk, painting and playdough outside so there’s no mess to worry about. what about some hooks near the painting space for smocks (if you use them), or just hooks wherever at their height for hats and jackets for going outside – works a treat here. I know it IS possible to get tables with legs you can adjust the height on – though they are more school-ish tables than desks.[govt. clinics such as speech pathologists have them] .montessori have something similar too http://www.kidadvance.com/Store/Category.asp?catid=51&offset=12
so much food for thought….
HAVE FUN!!!

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Deb October 4, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Thanks, those tables are the sort of thing I was thinking of. Hooks are a great idea, currently all our hats and umbrellas are in a drawer, a row of hooks would make it easier.

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Marita October 4, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Seconding the shout out for the IKEA Expedit shelves – I :heart: ours http://leechbabe.com/2008/11/28/reconstruction-deconstruction-construction/

My mother in law painted one wall of her playroom with magnetic paint – she painted an island and the ocean around it. Then she made little magnet sail boats, people, houses, fish and so many other wonderful pieces. It looked just amazing and the grandchildren had hours of fun playing with it – even the grown ups did as she did the painting from floor to ceiling.

I’m finding in our own playroom that I really love the wooden floors – so easy to clean. We’ve gotten separate shelves now for the reading books and the activity/homeschool books. Also I love that we have a clothes rack the girls can hang up their dressup clothing on.

I want to to more with our ceiling space, we’ve got the plants hanging up and they glow in the dark, but I think more could be done with it 🙂
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Marita October 4, 2010 at 3:15 pm

The planets, not the ‘plants’ hanging up on the ceiling.
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Deb October 4, 2010 at 4:44 pm

MAGNETIC PAINT???? I gots to get me some of that! There’s one decision made.

I’m glad the wooden floors are easy to clean, I was thinking they would just need a vacuum but wasn’t sure. I have some clothes racks, great idea.

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Julie October 4, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Wow! I’m so jealous!

If we had some kind of playroom, I would definitely be painting one wall with magnetic paint. That way you don’t need a giant whiteboard, magnets will go straight on the wall, and you can attach artworks etc with magnets easily.

Enjoy your new space.

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katepickle October 6, 2010 at 10:54 am

Oooh how exciting to have a nice big play space to dream up!

I really love play spaces with loads of natural materials in them, so if we had the space I’d probable sand smooth and bring some of our big wood stumps. I also really love the Steiner inspired play stands… they are so versatile and can become so many things. They are not cheap but I’m sure I’ve seen plans online to build your own…

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Deb October 7, 2010 at 9:11 am

I hadn’t even thought of natural materials, I tend to think of them as outside toys. We don’t have any large tree stumps, but I’ve been watching Teacher Tom’s tree part toys progressing. I’ll have a look around next time we’re at the farm.
I’ve only seen the Steiner play stands a couple of times, I’ll have to check them out.

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brie October 7, 2010 at 9:44 am

we had fantastic cupboards in our old place, in our opinion much better than shelves. the kids knew which things went where, and the room was ablw to actually look tidy occasionally. will have to get some magnetic paint here too.

most important tip? not having doors in every wall of the playroom. make sure that the path from one door to another is not over the very middle of the room where there are sure to be toys and other stuff layed out.

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Deb October 7, 2010 at 9:49 am

There will probably be doors on two opposite walls, I like the idea of making an actual ‘path’ from one to the other, then they know there’s one area that must be kept clear.

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Melissa @ chalkboard stickers for wall February 14, 2011 at 11:55 pm

This sound so much fun! I would love to see pictures of the room! I’m sure it looks very good and your kids love it!
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