I am very fortunate to have a friend who is an “ah-may-zing” person and mother! When I saw how she turned her old spare room into an educational playroom, I just HAD to share her story. So I asked her to write a guest post for me. She’s incredible, I’m sure you will agree that what she’s done with this room will bring so much joy to her little one!
After finding out we were pregnant, I found myself lying awake at night worrying about the responsibility we would have to teach our little girl the rights and wrongs of the world. Not to mention all the things she would need to know. I am not a qualified educator, how on earth would I be up to the task of teaching a little person? Especially when there are still so many things I get wrong?
My answer, create a playroom that would hopefully help take some of the weight off my shoulders.
Here is our journey….
I am a bit of a neat freak so I wanted to develop a room that I could shut the door and walk away from when the mess got too much. I also wanted a room where I could put little miss and know she was safe. From these ideas, the room took on a life of its own. Now it is my favourite room in the house. I find myself leaving the door open even when she isn’t in there so I can catch glimpses of it when I walk past! Go figure!
We are very lucky to have a nice big room that we could dedicate to a playroom. Originally, I thought the previous owners were a little silly in converting the double garage back in to a room of the house and leaving it reasonably unfinished. Now I am so grateful. I didn’t really appreciate this until little miss started crawling. She now scoots around the room and is able to touch bricks, concrete, rough wood, timber flooring, glass and a shaggy rug. I didn’t have to do anything to achieve all of that sensory work! Go me!
I did not imagine I could ever create a wonderful and educational space but by chance I think that’s what we’ve got. It started with one rainy afternoon spent on Pinterest, Etsy, Facebook and eBay. Seriously, what a dangerous and deadly combo for a bank account. I quickly realised how things could add up and that I might need to get my creative on. So this is what I did, however, I took one strong message from Pinterest…
“Many people forget to use the roof. I imagined the three of us lying on the floor together and looking at the roof and learning as a team”
The three of us jumped in the car and went on an excursion to buy some supplies. Many sheets of cardboard and four packets of blu tac later and we were home. I started with the alphabet and when I looked at the cardboard colours I had picked, I realised I could do so much more than just the alphabet. From the 26 letters on the roof we are also able to teach her vowels as I marked them with a star as well as warm and cool colours. I was so excited!!
Numbers were easy to identify as the next step. Upon looking at the roof, I felt it looked a little segregated. One morning when I was checking the weather on my phone it dawned on me, let’s add the weather to the roof! The roof was complete. She never looks at it though the little bugger!
Then one day little miss started pulling at my watch. Another idea was born! How will we teach her the time? Why not a massive moving clock on the wall? Pretty sure at this point my husband started rolling his eyes when I started a sentence with “how about we”. So you guessed it! Another trip in to town for supplies and that afternoon we had a clock on the wall. My husband comes home each day and checks what time little miss is learning to tell the time. At the moment she is 10 months old, pretty sure she just thinks I am a crazy lady, but oh well that is where unconditional love comes in right? She has to love me, even if I am a little crazy!
At this point we reassessed where the room was going and thought about the other items already in the room we could use. An upright freezer, hello, instant magnetic board. Check! A space for a chalkboard. Check! Space to make a nice little reading nook. Tick! My husband loves reading to her, so it was extremely important to create a little space for the two of them to continue that. Enter the cute teepee by Stina’s Style.
It was important to start encouraging her independence. I was dictating what toys she would play with by getting them out for her. They are now all displayed on the bookshelf. I sit her in the middle of the room and she makes her way over to the book case and picks what she wants to play with each time. I also pack up her toys in front of her before each nap. Hopefully this will rub off!
I wanted to create a room with a heap of different textures, colours and heights. I also wanted to fill the room with a lot of different positive messages. I think girls in particular are subjected to a lot of scrutiny these days and I wanted to reinforce “Dream Big”.
What’s left? The simple answer, HEAPS!
Her needs are going to change as she grows. Next are more items to inspire active indoor play. We already have the swing. A low balance beam and some large foam shapes for her to climb over will complete that picture. A felt board is also on the wish list. This will allow her to build on her creative streak and tell us stories.
Once that is complete, outside is my next target. A cubby that will encourage outdoor playto get her a good and safe dose of Vitamin D!
This was such a fun project for me. My biggest advice, HAVE FUN WITH IT!