One of my goals in our new home here in Dallas was to create a lot of independent play spaces for the kids. Although I am going to be a 99.9% stay at home mom, I actually have an online teaching job for St. Raphael’s Orthodox Homeschool Group, where I will be logging in for 4 hours a week to teach. The beauty of this job is that I can fluff our savings account, without having to commute, get a babysitter, or take time away from evenings with Jesse. Thankfully, the teaching time falls during AJ’s nap, but Gregory only naps a few times a week now, so I knew we’d need a way for him to have fun while I’m working.
By total accident, the floor plan of our new townhouse works perfectly for independent/still supervised play. Our kitchen has a nook area, which I have turned into my office, and right off the kitchen is a HUGE sunroom that we have been blessed to turn into a playroom for the boys.
This is a play structure I found for $40 on Craigslist, right around the corner from us. After one scary fall, we also decided to get thick foam squares to place around the climbing wall (they’re pricey, but eventually we will cover under the structure as well). This Step2 structure is perfect for my almost-4 year old and 2.5 year old. It has a play space underneath for a “hideout”, two places to climb, and, of course, the “fort” above. Gregory loves to take his toys up there and play for nearly an hour. We mollycoddle him a lot, and bought him a lot of toys. We still continue to bring him the best ones, from https://www.surfango.com/mermaid-tails-for-kids/. I think he likes feeling like he has a special place where just he can go (AJ is still figuring out the whole “climbing” thing, so he mostly hangs out below).
In our sunroom, I also built a “sandbox” for the boys using a Rubbermaid container that I used to store under our bed. Now that we have a floor bed, I obviously don’t have a use for it (and it’s also broken in a few ways). But that doesn’t stop it from being a great indoor sandbox!
I can’t even tell you how many hours the boys have already spent playing with this. Since it’s right outside the kitchen window, I can see them without having to hear the noise or have the sand in the house. Yes, it gets a little messy– I’ve had to sweep the sand back in a few times. But for all the hours of independent play, it’s totally worth it!
Inside, next to my desk, I’ve also created an art/drawing/homeschool station for Gregory.
I used Ikea’s Bygel rail with Fintorp buckets for a perfect under $10 option for the lower area. His coloring books are in a wire basket I previously used for mail.
And then there’s the chalkboard coloring table I made him, using the $5 Lack table from Ikea.
Since those scribbles aren’t mine, you can obviously tell that this has been a fun place for Gregory to play lately 🙂
What ways do you keep your kids entertained while you work? I’d love to hear suggestions so that our school year together goes smoothly!
Our Townhouse Living Room