Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Z's New Play Area!

As soon as we discovered that we are going to have another baby, we started to consider if we need to move into a larger home.  Unfortunately, that just isn't a realistic option for us right now - so we've started to think more creatively about how to best use the space we have and rethink what we want or need to keep. One thing I really wanted was a defined play space for Z. He plays in his room, obviously, but I was hoping to find a place where I could see him playing while I prepped lunch or emptied the dishwasher. We found a great solution!

Z's play yard in its old spot. 
Before, Z had a play yard that basically just sat in the middle of our living room.  It was alright, but he hated it if I ever had to lock him in for a minute.  I honestly didn't blame him.  It was a small area and I had the keep the amount of toys down so that there was actually space to play. It also made our living room feel like it was constantly being hit by a toddler tornado, so it was a little hard to relax after Z had gone to bed.  I wanted a defined space for him to play, and a defined adult space that didn't feel too chaotic at the end of the day.


Where is it?
Finally, inspiration struck.. Who says the dining area has to be a dining area? We moved the dining table over to the wall where the play yard had been, and raised the hanging light so that you could walk under it comfortably. Then we opened up the play yard in the back and used it to enclose the former dining area on two sides.  The result gives Z a ton of space to play and store toys, plus wall space to make the area more kid-friendly.  As a result, all of his toys can stay is his new play area (however chaotic it may be) and the living room feels like a room grown-ups want to be in again!

What's inside?
I'm blessed to be both daughter and daughter-in-law to two wonderful women who have a passion for education and a wealth of knowledge and experience in classrooms.  Of course, this also means that they have a wealth of charts, curriculum, books, etc. that they've saved over the years and passed along to me to use with Z. :)  I've got a few posters on the wall from them, as well as a calendar chart that I bought online for about $20. I also purchased a little 3-cubby storage unit on sale from target (about $15, I think) and an activity rug from Amazon for about $30.

We've lived with this arrangement for a few weeks now and we love it! Yes, the dinner table is in a kind of strange spot and it's up against a wall, so if we have company we have to pull it out a bit - but the trade off is well worth it!  I'm hoping this larger play area will be a big asset once the baby arrives and I need to know Z is playing safely while I change a diaper or but the baby down for a nap! We will see!

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