Playroom Necessities – Top 10 Must Haves

Playrooms are a both a luxury and a necessity in my humble opinion. We didn’t have one when I raised my girls. We (I) worked hard at keeping toys in bedrooms and fought an unending battle against kid clutter. And then they grew up and I had a nice, tidy home. For about 5 minutes. Having a second set of kids to raise has meant having toys and kid stuff all over the house. Again. Love them. Hate the mess.

I’m seriously fed up with the amount of toys that I’m constantly stepping on so we’re building a playroom. Like this week. The boys are relatively good sleepers so I moved them in together over the weekend. And then I sat myself down with a notebook in our future playroom to figure out what our must haves would be. Who loves a top 10 list? We do!!

 

 1. Storage

Playrooms should have easy access storage for little hands including open shelving to hold bins and boxes as well as closed storage to tuck away smaller pieces. We’re looking at a couple of bookshelves to hold our bins and and either a shelf with cupboards or a dresser to hold smaller pieces and miscellaneous toys. As much as I love the look of nothing but open shelving, we’re just too messy to have that work out for us.
Pottery Barn
Preston Storage Wall System

I doubt we’ll be investing in anything so elaborate since we’re moving in the new year so I’m also considering using a dresser to hold smaller items. We’ve used the bottom 4 drawers in our living room media center for toy storage up until now and it’s worked fairly well.

 

2. A Reading Area

Playrooms aren’t just for playing and a reading nook is a must for us.
Project Nursery

3. Arts and Crafts Area

All of our arts and crafts are supervised and most of the supplies are kept out of the boys reach right now. FASD and all that good stuff makes them pretty impulsive with short attention spans. I like the idea of a craft corner that could evolve into a homework center as children grow older.
Tinkerlab

4. An “Art Gallery”

I’ve got loads of art that the boys have made at daycare and the fridge could be covered with their gems in no time. I love the idea of having a spot for kids to show off their masterpieces right in the playroom.
And Next Comes L
art area
Random Thoughts of a Supermom

5. Make Believe Props

Kids love to dress up and play grown up. Including some play clothes and props is always a great idea along with play stations like work benches and kitchens.

 

 

 

Play kitchens aren’t just for little girls. Boys benefit from the message that cooking and cleaning up isn’t just for the ladies. You’re welcome future daughter-in-laws.

 6. Forts/Tents or Any Other Hideaway

Teepees, tents, forts, clubhouses, playhouses and castles. Kids love a place to hide out. Sew it, glue it, or buy one already made. We bought this one! The boys love it but the dog loves it even more. It gives her a way to hide from the kids while being close to them. #stubbornLhasatricks
Jenloveskev
Amazon

7. Comfy Seating

 Regular sized furniture is are great if you have the room but kids don’t mind piling on the floor either. I like the idea of bean bags and poufs in smaller spaces.

 

Emmylizzie

 

Benches are another great option that add storage to the space.

 

Home My Design

8. Open Floor Space For Playing

Kids need room to spread out and use their imaginations. I love watching the boys line up their toys and then act out their visions. And if you’ve got a cute area rug to spark the imagination…even better. We added this one a few months ago. The boys love jumping over the “river”.

In The Little Yellow House

We added a city road map rug next to it so the boys can go from country to city.Playroom must haves- Cool area rugs

9. Color

Having a playroom is a great opportunity to let loose with whimsy and color. You might not want a polka dotted ceiling in your kitchen but you can go wild in the kids’ space.

 

Simply Sadie Jane

 

Poppytalk

 

Sisteroo

10. Television/Media Center

I’m not sure everyone is going to agree on this idea and if you choose to keep media out of the playroom that’s great. But I’m a little tired of Minions and Shrek marathons in the living room. Every. Single. Day. I’m moving the small tv/dvd player from our trailer and it will be going in to the playroom asap. I can still set the screen time and control what they watch but I might actually get to watch something I like every now and again.
I Heart Organizing


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10 Great Staycation Ideas For Families

Nothing makes me happier than going away, even if I’ve been there a hundred times. One time I went to Hawaii all by myself on four days notice. True story. I really love vacations. So when our vacation plans fell through a couple weeks ago, I was pretty bummed. Because I didn’t want to completely give up on the “new and different”, I figured I needed to challenge us to take a “staycation” that week instead which is something we’ve never done before.

I tried to plan our staycation the same way we normally had our vacations….intentional, relaxing, a few fun events, and time together as a family. I wanted to make sure we just didn’t drift into lazing around the way we do when we have a couple of days at home with nowhere else to be.

In an effort to keep the vacation feel, I pulled together some fun and budget friendly ideas that can be tweaked to meet the needs of any family. Go bigger if you’ve got older kids or kids who thrive on new things. My guys have FASD which means one event per day max or they get completely overwhelmed and out of control for the rest of the day. Our version of the staycation plan was modest and simple but still fun. Stick to our version of you have little ones or kids with special needs.

 

1. Plan or Plant a Garden


We started our staycation with some gardening. I pulled weeds from the front bed (ok, the only garden bed) and they took turns throwing them in the composter. Once we had some space we spent sime time talking about different flowers and plant. From there we headed to the garden center to pick something of their very own. We decided before we got there (always make a plan!), that each fellow could pick 2 plants. Purple for Aiden (his favorite color) and pink for Liam. (I may have led him a little bit in that decision.)

 

We headed off to the nursery to find some flowers. The boys had a ball trying to use their walking feet, smelling all the flowers, and finally picking some plants to bring home. BONUS- There was some kind of charity hot dog stand on site that day. Lunch and an outing for the 3 of us came to around $20!

Once we got home, I dug holes and the boys took turn putting their plants in and watering. Occasionally they watered each other.

Bigger kids can be more involved with planning from drawing up a plan or even starting their own little gardens. Let them research different kinds of plants and help them draw and plan a garden bed.

2. Find Your Local Tourist Attractions

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Most people rarely visit the tourist attractions in their own towns and cities. Staycations are a great opportunity to do just that. I had to use TripAdvisor to figure out what the tourist attractions are in our area. You know. Because we’ve only lived here for 12 years and all. I think I just made my own point.

We skipped the big stuff (too big, too loud, too much for my guys) and went to Clovermead Farms. I can’t believe we’ve never been here before. The boys had a great time seeing all the animals, learning about bees (and even holding one!), tasting all the honeys, and playing in the play areas. I pumped them up by letting them watch Bee Movie before we went. We had such a great time that I’m tempted to buy a summer pass.

10 Ideas for a Great Staycation
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3. Visit a Local Farmers Market
Hit up TripAdvisor and search out activities in your own area.

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Even if you grow some of your own food (I wish!), it’s still fun to visit a farmer’s market. We are blessed with an abundance of markets in this area. I took the boys to the on of the smaller farmers market in the middle of the week (less people) when strawberries were just coming to an end. We had a nice couple of hours buying a few things for dinner and talking about what we could make with all of the strawberries we bought. Which was a nice lead in to the next days adventure.

4. Chef For a Day

My boys are too young for a total day experience but we used the following day to get busy in the kitchen whipping up some strawberry recipes. We started with strawberry lemonade popsicles and moved on to make strawberry muffins. I probably should have stopped with the popsicles. If you look closely, you’ll see they’re starting to get manic and Aiden’s popsicles are dribbling everywhere.

Sometimes I forget the “one thing a day” for FASD kids and wind up peeling the boys off of each other and the ceiling. I scrapped the rest of the cooking plans and turned them loose in the yard to run it off.

Older kids could use the time at the market to make menu plans for the next few days and come up with different ways to use all of the fresh in-season produce they’ve found. I know my kids are always a bit more adventurous with their willingness to try new foods if they had a hand in choosing and preparing the meal.

5.  Water Day

Florida 2015

Beach, river, water park, splash pad…. you get the idea. I had planned to take my guys to a local water park but their escalating behaviour the previous couple of days was a great clue that they wouldn’t be able to cope. We filled the inflatable pool and dumped all the beach toys in and let them run wild. Bonus points if a boy can learn to pee standing up in the grass.

6. Go on a Picnic

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We often have a picnic lunch when we’re at the beach. My guys love it. And why not? It’s not like they have to do anything but show up. Older kids can get involved with the prep and packing and even helping to choose the location.

My guys were on overload (yes, again) the day we decided to have a picnic dinner. We went ahead with the plan but moved the location to the back yard. I had a hunch that anything public would have involved me chasing kids all over the place. Sitting isn’t their strong point.

7. Backyard Camping

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I considered trying this with the boys but two things stopped us. I sold our tent earlier this year thinking we weren’t going to use it with having the trailer and all. I did consider picking up a used one on Craigslist if the price was right but then I remembered that our yard slopes significantly and that wouldn’t be ton of fun. But if you’ve got a tent and a relatively flat area in your yard, backyard camping is crazy fun. I did it as a kid and loved it! Get out the sleeping bags and flash lights and give it a shot.

8.  Local Festivals

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Summer is a great time for festivals and events. There’s a festival of some sort almost every weekend within a hour of where we live all summer long. We took ourselves to Sunfest for a couple of hours one afternoon and had a grand time wandering our way through the booths. We’re really looking forward to Ribfest next weekend, too.

9. Movie Night

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We had more of a movie day, spending a rainy afternoon and early evening watching all things Shrek. That’s what happens when you let a 3 year old pick the theme. I kid you not. Shrek, Shrek 2, Shrek 3, and Shrek Ever After. All in a row. I was lucky enough to spot some Shrek toys at the thrift store earlier in the week and that made our movie day complete. I’m pretty Shreked out to be honest and we totally blew the APA’s recommendations around screen time but the boys loved it. We made “movie food” with some popcorn and other finger foods and skipped dinner completely. I loved having an excuse to do nothing but lounge on the sofa that day and I really appreciated that there was no after dinner clean up.

If the kids are older or not so close in age, let them each pick a movie and have it after dark. Bring in the props like tickets, popcorn boxes, and comfy seating with lots of pillows and blankets. Or go all out with a projector and an outdoor movie night.

 

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10. Spend a Night at a Hotel
Find an inexpensive hotel in town and check in for the day. Make sure there’s a pool and a hot tub and the kids will have a blast.

Western Lamplighter

Eat in a nearby restaurant or order in room service. Bonus points if there’s a free breakfast. In many places you can check out and still use the amenities until you’re ready to go home. We actually did this with my girls years ago. The hotel staff were terrific about letting us stay around for a few hours after check out because we were locals.

10 Great ideas for a fun staycation- Check into a local hotel and use the amenities

Have you had a staycation? What sort of things did you get up to?