Affiliate links included. I only promote what rocks my world, and this definitely did!
Over the last few weeks I have been reading two ebooks that were sent my way for review, and that I assumed would give me maybe a few interesting nuggets of wisdom.
But I was mistaken, these two ebooks, which are both about creating a space in your home that invites creativity to come out and play, have actually been quite transformative for me, personally, and for my girls.
The first ebook is called The New Playroom, and whether you have space the size of a shoe box, an entire room, or anything in between, this ebook will give you great ideas on how to create a space for your child where they can feel encouraged to be a little maker.
As I was reading through the book, thinking about carving out a little nook somewhere for my kids, I was particularly struck by a piece of advice the author, Megan, offered. She cautioned against putting your child’s art space in a tucked away corner or anywhere that would be far away from the action in the house, as that’s honestly where kids want to be.
This gave me a lot of pause, because I was thinking about using a little corner in a back room for the art area. And then I turned my attention to our living room, which is part of an open area that also houses the dining room and the kitchen. It is certainly the heartbeat of the house. And in that area I have a piece of furniture with clear doors that houses crystal vases and fancy serving pieces. They are lovely items, but they are very rarely used. And yet, they are taking up some of the best real estate in the house. I decided on the spot that I would be changing that, and making my home more functional for the kids. We moved around a bunch of furniture, made a few purchases, and came up with this work-in-progress.
Let’s zoom in closer on the containers I was able to find for the art area. In the ebook, one of the recommendations was to give a bit of forethought to how you wanted the space you are making to come together. Having too much variety in your storage elements could lend itself to a chaotic look, so one suggestion was to look for clear items, and to look for more natural color schemes. There are also examples of more colorful options that are done well, but the clear/natural look appealed most to me.
I will admit that I was a bit skeptical at the suggestion in The New Playroom that many storage items could be found a a thrift store. I LOVE shopping at thrift stores, and try to make it to my favorite store here in town once a month, if possible. But I know all too well how hit-or-miss they can be. And the options at The Container Store, pretty though they are, can really start to add up fast. So I found myself asking if I had more time or more money to put into the project. In this case, I opted for taking more time, and I hauled myself to the thrift store, assuming that I’d need to make multiple trips over the next few months to scrape together what I needed.
I also found this see through genie bottle!
Does anyone know what this is supposed to hold? I thought it would be fun to hold our small supply of yarn. Also, it was $1, and I just couldn’t pass up a funky glass container for a buck! I scored the turquoise plastic bin (it actually came as a set of 2) for $1 at Family Dollar. It holds our ribbon and washi tape.
I did make some purchases on Amazon, as well. I thought the prices I paid were fair, especially since they included NOT having to leave my house and go from store to store hunting similar items.
The Boon Stash was probably my favorite purchase. At $19.99, I thought it was an affordable and visually appealing way to store a variety of items that might otherwise proove tricky to house effectively. Because my daughters now have easy access to their paint brushes, they are asking to paint much more often. They are also doing more mixed media projects thanks to the googly eyes, beads and the cut out shapes. This is an item that I’m really glad I purchased, so if you are on the fence, I say go for it!
I also purchased these acrylic containers ($19.99 for a set of 4). They were bigger than I thought they would be, although that’s my fault, as the dimensions are listed. But once I started adding stuff to them, I was actually glad for the size. They do come in smaller sizes, though.
And finally I decided to get salt shakers to hold glitter. I got a dozen for under $8, which I thought was fair. I saw a similar idea online somewhere (can’t remember where…just check Pinterest and you’ll see it in a few places!). The glitter we have so far is just from The Dollar Tree. I prefer to have a wide variety of colors, rather than buying the larger containers of glitter that only have 1 color. That’s just me, though!
For the rest of the storage, I honestly just looked around my house for some things to use. This pretty basket was holding my scarves, and perhaps in some ways that is a better use of it, but I’m very glad to have all the drawing and construction paper housed nice and neat in one area, instead of scattered everywhere like how it used to be. In the end, it was a reasonable trade.
We also moved a folding desk area that used to be tucked away in a corner, and because of the location it used to be in, it was NEVER USED. We still need to do some clean up with the television wires, but already this desk is seeing some action! Layah loves to use it when she is doing some intense marker work, especially.
Both Tim and I agree that since we moved the art supplies to a space where the girls can see them and easily access them, the amount of time that is spent “doing art” in our home has quadrupled (and that’s a conservative estimate).
Megan also has an ebook that gives you 30 days of Invitations to Create and I VERY strongly recommend this ebook for anyone out there who is not especially good at coming up with these types of ideas. I royally stink at it, so having a picture and a list of items to lay out on a tray for my kids is extremely useful to me. Not every invitation to play has been a hit with my girls, but each one has gotten some response, and some of them have been very well received. They have also helped me to develop some new ideas about ways we can interact with our arts and crafts supplies to do some cool new stuff.
I absolutely LOVED both of these ebooks, and for me, they have made a very significant difference in how my home looks and feels, and especially how my girls feel in this space. As we look toward summer (just a few weeks away for us!) I am not nearly as anxious about the kids being out of school as I usually am. I feel much more equipped with fun things to do around the house!