When I married into the family I did, I married into 12 amazing, nieces and nephews with beautiful souls, who were between the ages of 7 and 17 at the time. I learned much from my super-smart, amazing mom, SILs about what toys they kept, forever. They were in fact, a few steps ahead of me, and always will be! In J’s house, in the room my own kids love most, are a chess table, a piano, and a basket of wooden building blocks. In L’s house, lots and lots of places to make art, and all the supplies. In M’s house, collections of all kinds of things…so, so, many, beautiful wonderful things. In M’s house, books, just tons and tons and tons of books. And we were gifted, after we had our first child, the family dollhouse. There’s a long story there, that’s for later. I learned though quickly, that a house, of any sort, for imaginary play, is just a natural draw for kids and can be filled with almost anything to spark their imaginations. A place to hide, or to hide stuff, and to cuddle is special. And that if you give them a place to make art, it’s just magic what will come out of them. And that my friends, is the simplest recipe I can give you for what you ‘need’ to create a play space that grows with the littlest of littles through many, many years and fun to come. Where to find that stuff? Start here for affordable, fun and fantastic kids’ home and decor finds!
Our sweet little friend JuJu walked right in as if the dollhouse and all its found wonders was just sitting there waiting for her. She made friends instantly and proceeded to rearrange everyone’s place. She smoothed their hair or turned them upside down, which by her estimate was actually right side up. Love toddlers and their brilliant sense of the world! And so she put them where they actually belonged. Obviously we just didn’t know who belonged where, nor how. But no worries, she sorted us all, live friends and stuffed, right out into toddler-correct order.
And of course, 90% of what was in that house, was taken over to be introduced to Mom, and then put back in its place. One. Friend. At. A. Time. Phew. Kids log miles in the tiniest sweetest sneakiest of ways!
Quiet, Comfy, Hiding Spaces
And then it was naptime, or so said JuJu, when she moved all the friends from the dollhouse to the tent, and tucked them all in and told them, “Shhhhhh.” Or maybe that was us to whom she was speaking. Seriously, do any of us adult people need to be encouraged to take a nap? Honestly, were it a choice, we all would’ve crawled right in there and cuddled with that sweet child. She’d have been OK with that; she’s the youngest of 5. She can handle a crowd, for sure.There’s always one who tries to escape naptime, right? Not on Juju’s watch. Nope. Naptime, Dragon. Now.
It’s always so interesting, how sometimes it’s best not to have all the art supplies in plain view. It can be overwhelming to kids of a certain age (and by that I mean through age 44, at least.) But if you just put out something to make art on, and something — some one thing — to make art with, kids will just naturally stop at that station and do so, happily. All by their own selves. Beautifully!
Also, while I love family meals, these small kid tables are great for snack time, or when kids are hosting friends. There’s nothing sweeter than watching them share a meal, at their level, on their level, together. I love these tables in play spaces, and my youngest has this exact one in her own room, but until they were all closer to ‘person’ size, I also always kept a table this size in the kitchen. They would prep food there, make ‘salads’ and mix things, and snack and make art all throughout the day, every day. It was so fun! I kinda miss those little-person table days, and I love sharing them now with my young niece and all our sweet young friends.
And Mom’s actually a decent crayon artist herself. She made a Juju, that Juju actually recognized as a Juju! As opposed to when I make my kids a lunch note with a camel for hump day Wednesday, and they come home and ask me why there was a goat sketch in their lunch. Or a dog. Or just, “Mom, what is that?”
Speaking of lunch box notes…sometimes I don’t have those in me. Because you know, time. So every now and then, I just put some thing in their lunch boxes. A guy, a dinosaur, just a fun something. This amazing giraffe, is absolutely getting tucked into Grace’s lunchbox on a day when I feel like she really needs a lunchtime smile and a super fun surprise to get her through the day. He’s just so fun!
And yes, we all said, “Wow!” When she put each crayon back into it’s correct color jar. Clearly she’s a genius. This much we already knew. But it’s so fun to see in action! Never. Gets. Old. #organizedkids
And that our friends, per Juju, is a wrap! All done. Yay! Some work is just so much for fun…and this was the highlight of all our weeks, Juju getting solo time to play with her beautiful momma Gina, and the rest of us getting to have fun too! These for sure, are the days to remember…
Rock and Read
See how there’s no Juju in this rocker yet? That’s because that’s the special place to sit on a momma lap, read a book, and get ready for actual naptime. And that our mom friends, we all know, only happens off camera, no audience. And we all also know that the rocking motion…it helps. It’s just hard for us mommas to stay awake through a whole story! #storytime #naptime #shhhhh
Shop the Post: Fun, Inspirational, Easy Home Decor for Kids
1/ Giraffe Ornament: I just love guys like this one. They look gorgeous on a shelf, but the kids also love to play with them. And he has friends too, check them out!
2/ Table & Chairs: It’s always a tough search for the perfect kids’ table, but this is by far my favorite! It just oozes contrasted calm, and don’t we all need a bit of that?
3/ Decorative Pillow: I’m plopping this right in the center of my kid’s bed and telling her, ‘you, sweet love are a “tough knot.”‘ And someday she’ll get that joke and think I’m so funny — many times after tossing the love knot at me. But I’ll take it with love, and toss it right back!
4/ Clock: It’s amazing to me, how when you have clocks everywhere, and you are a mom who is constantly running late and commenting on it out loud, how your kids just magically learn to tell time!
5/ Rocking Chair: Favorite Rocker of all time. Just the right size for kids on their own, or for a little cuddle and story pre nap.
6/ Poof: And Poof! Just like that, a little fun to be had just about anywhere!
7/ Dollhouse: Love the Novogratz family and all their amazing design work! This minimalist house leaves so much room for creativity. I’m going to help the girls detail the pink walls with geometric black and white and gold polka dots. Just for fun!
8/ Tent: Such a fun, secret, special, quiet place for kids to just chill.
Fun Playroom Decor Made Easy
Once upon a time, it wasn’t easy to find fun, modern, beautiful home decor for kids. It was out there, but way-out-there in terms of price and accessibility. Now, with amazing selections through Walmart, and especially with genius designers partnering with them like the Novogratz Family, there are fantastic options at reasonable prices, so that we can all piece-by-piece stitch together the perfect space. The selection is plenty, it arrives quickly, and the customer service is great!
Thank you Juju for being you, and for sharing so much joy and love with us all always, and to you too Gina. You know that rule about if you need something you should ask the busiest person you know? I just go right to the private practice attorney mom of 5. I mean, what the heck could she be busy doing? Right? Love you G. Thank you for always making time, and sharing your joy with me and my kiddos too, no matter what! And you guys, one day we’ll do you a solid and InstaStory Gina’s 2 am karaoke of Don’t Stop Believin’. You’ll die, fall in love and not question why she’s your new bestie too.
Photo credit and giant hugs to Marissa of Redfield Photography — woman you are the most professional and fun person to work with! Thanks for sharing good times with us, and of course with your new friend Juju!
A huge thank you to Walmart for sponsoring this post! What a great selection of fun kids’ home decor you have! As always, all thoughts, opinions, design, styling and product choices are my own. And readers, thank you for your continued support, it’s always genuinely appreciated.
xoxo, with a very warm heart, and well-reminded of all the things so important — and how quickly the time flies — and to make the most of it! A