Like most people in the UK, I’m spending a lot of time at home right now. But the difference between myself and a lot of those people, is that I’m quite used to being at home! We love to get out and about but as a stay at home mum to two under three, I’ve had to find ways to enjoy being at home too. I’ve often wished we had a designated playroom so that I had somewhere fun to contain all of the toys (and children!) that I’m always finding around the house. But rather than sit and mope about my lack of playroom I’ve instead made the best of what we’ve got. And, to be honest, I love our current set up. As much as a playroom would be lovely, it’s also wonderful to have the children, and their belongings, interspersed with us and our ‘grown up’ spaces too.
Our lounge is the biggest room in the house and one of my favourite features is the bay window. Bay windows are lovely but are also notoriously difficult to furnish, however, for us it has turned into a great little space for the kids to have as their own. It’s the perfect size for a small table, a couple of comfy bean bag chairs and we have a toy storage unit there too. They love having a space that is totally theirs and it’s really nice all being able to enjoy the same room, in our own ways.
No Playroom, No Problem
Great Little Trading Company have a campaign called ‘No playroom, no problem’ and I was thrilled when they asked me to be involved as it is so perfectly in line with how we do things at our house. I’ll link their post on the campaign here but I’ll also tell you some more about it now. The idea behind the campaign is all about making room to play. A lot of us just don’t have the space for a separate playroom but that doesn’t need to stop our children from having their own space to play in.
There are four main points within this:
A room within a room
This is simply creating a space within an ‘adult’ room that suits their needs but that also doesn’t look out of place. Our bay window alcove is the perfect size for what we need but you can create a space for your children with what you’ve got in your house. Maybe a corner of the room that doesn’t get much use, or you could use a storage unit to create a little nook for them. Think outside the box and see what you can come up with. It’s not about separating them from our space,more about giving them a place that is theirs.
The Goldilocks rule
Having ‘kid sized’ chairs and tables is ideal, not only for them to play on, but they are also smaller within the room and take up less space. My two love sitting down at their table for play doh or drawing, and then they also have their bean bag chairs for relaxing. By relaxing I obviously mean throwing themselves at with incredible force… Having small furniture also means that it is all easily moved throughout the day if needs be.
Mess & clutter sorted
Make sure everything has a place. Storage units, boxes and baskets are ideal for this. I know that my children are a lot more engaged in play if things are tidy and semi organised. They like pulling things out of boxes and rummaging to find toys. If things ever get too messy I find they are much more likely to get bored or just want to watch the telly. They like space to play.
Keep it cosy
Children like comfort as well as play so keep things cosy as well as fun. My two love their beanbag chairs and we often keep blankets in baskets close by so that they can grab one out to cuddle up and read a story.
Here are some more details of our little play zone for the kids, I hope that they can provide some inspiration for anyone looking to do the same. Great Little Trading Company kindly sent us some items to feature in our space so I will share those too. They have a new collection on their website and it’s all beautiful, so if you need any more inspiration then head over there (once you’ve finished reading this of course!).
There are two main focuses of our play zone. The first is a little child sized table and chairs, ours is from Ikea but you can pick these up at lots of different places. They use the table for all sorts, the main things being: painting, drawing, lego, play doh, eating lunch and probably a million other things.
The second is their gorgeous children’s bean bag chairs which are from The Great Little Trading Company. They adore these, and the prints are so lovely within the room. The dinosaur print is my favourite and Darcie’s too, she has claimed that one for her own which I’m sure will be fine until Ernie decides he has an opinion! The grey stars fit the decor of our lounge perfectly and goes really nicely with the dinosaur print too. They love reading books, playing silly games and watching TV on these. The covers are removable and washable which I love and the quality is obviously really good. I can see these lasting a long time. They’re also pretty comfy for an adult to sit on too!
Next up we have some storage. Our grey unit is from the Range and can either be flat against the wall or pulled around (like in the photos) to create more of a nook for them to play in. We have a couple of toy storage baskets at the bottom and some of their favourite toys in the other sections.
I love a pretty storage solution as much (if not more) than the next person so next we have two beautiful pieces also from The Great Little Trading Company. The bear book cart is so adorable and can be used for storing books, toys or blankets. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t also sometimes occasionally used for little brothers. Then we have a rope storage basket which can also be used for storing anything required at the time. I don’t really do a specific toy rotation but the majority of their toys live upstairs in their bedrooms and so things just naturally rotate around the house.
I put a couple of rugs in the alcove too as it just makes things more comfy for them. We have laminate flooring which isn’t the most comfortable so it’s nice that they have rugs for sitting and playing on the floor. One of my favourite things about this little space is that it changes throughout the day, the furniture gets moved and used for different purposes, they can enjoy it fully, but then at the end of the day it can easily be returned back to normal and our lounge becomes an ‘adult’ room again once they are in bed.
Before I created this space for the kids we just had a small sofa in the alcove and this is such a better use of the space. We’d had the sofa for years and it was quite broken and dirty from the kids jumping and eating on it. It’s so refreshing to have this new little area for the kids to have as their own instead. I encouraged both the children to help me in creating the space and Darcie in particular enjoyed helping me put the rug down and arrange the furniture. It gave them ownership of the space from the beginning and I also encourage them to keep it tidy themselves too.
I hope this post has given some inspiration to anyone struggling with space to play at home. I think a lot of us are working on little projects around the house at the moment and this would be a perfect thing to get stuck into, which will also make your life easier in the long run of keeping the kids happy when you’re at home.
*gifted items. I was gifted items in exchange for this blog post but all opinions are my own.