Multi-age Playrooms: How to Set Up a Space Everyone Will Love

 

If you have more than one child, you will know that toys seem to multiply at an alarming rate. The family playroom quickly turns from your kids’ playtime haven into a chaotic hovel, mismatched toys strewn about with no sense of order or organization. Baby toys and chemistry sets sit alongside each other and you know something has to change. If this situation is currently happening in your house, know that there is hope. Here are a few tips to help you create a playroom children of all ages will love.

 

Designate zones

As with any good playroom, it’s a smart move to have designated areas for different kinds of play. For multi-age playrooms, creating a space for each child will help everyone easily find their own toys and feel like they have their own room. If you need to, use room dividers or cleverly placed storage to physically separate the room into different areas. Otherwise, keep arts and crafts materials in one corner, dressing up and other imaginative play toys in another, and puzzles, board games, and building toys stored neatly in boxes and shelves. An organized playroom is much more functional and low maintenance than one with piles and piles of random toys.

 

This clean, organized playroom has dedicated spaces for imaginative play, arts and crafts, and plenty of storage!

 

Playroom 1

via Modernize

Space to relax

Just because your playroom is full of toys and stimulating projects, this doesn’t mean your children won’t need somewhere to relax and sit, too. Find a functional piece of furniture or two that all your kids will enjoy, or have smaller versions for younger members of the family. Bean bags, oversized cushions, and comfortable sofas or armchairs work perfectly for all ages. Combine this relaxation space with your story/quiet corner if you like, but make sure it remains accessible for everyone.

You can just imagine your kids curling up with a good book in the comfortable, inviting window seat and bean bag chair in this playroom.

White+Kidsroom

via Modernize

 

Rotate toys

Regardless of age, all children go through phases with toys. Most of us have far too many toys for keep track of, and if we parents think there are too many, our kids will also struggle to play with all of the toys lying around. Once you’ve organized the playroom, take out any broken, unused, or unwanted toys and discard or donate appropriately. If you’re still left with too many toys to store, take a few out for a month or two and rotate them back in when you sense your kids are bored with the ones they’ve been using. This will encourage your children to enjoy the toys they have available (and will also help immensely at cleanup time).

 

There are few toys on display in this playroom, so they are more likely to be enjoyed often.

 

Yellow Kids Room

via Modernize

 

 

Keep it safe

If you have toddlers or babies using your playroom, make sure any small or potentially dangerous toys are kept out of their reach. Consider storing older kids’ craft and building materials on higher shelves or closed away in bins, and make sure big brothers and sisters know not to leave their Legos lying on the floor. Speaking of storage, make sure any heavy storage units are secure and bolted to the walls if needed, because we all know that every toddler becomes a climber at some stage. Encourage daily tidying with a schedule or regular routine and you are less likely to have any accidents.

 

This playroom uses clever box shelves and counter space to store delicate and smaller items.

 

Fidi+Kids+Loft+Bedroom

via Modernize

 

Once you’ve reorganized your playroom to suit everyone, your kids will be ready to get playing. Now comes the really hard part: sharing!

 

For more ideas and inspiration, head to Modernize.com.

 

Kaitlin Krull is a writer and mom of two girls living the expat life in the UK. Her writing is featured on Modernize.com and a number of home decor sites around the web. She can also be found blogging from time to time on her personal blog, A Vicar’s Wife.


My Photography Story – An Improving Beginner

My Photography Story

(This post contains affiliate links)

How does a girl who doesn’t really pay attention to details get interested in photography?  She has a bunch of kids!  7 of them to be exact.  I am one who absolutely hates taking the kids to a photo studio to get their pictures taken.  We used to do it regularly when I had less kids, but as my family grew, I decided we’d have to take pictures of them at home and use those.  Only one problem… my photos weren’t that great.

 

I had seen pictures that I loved that I thought looked really good, where the main subject was in focus and the rest had a blurred background.  I studied and studied how exactly to get that affect and discovered I had to get an SLR camera.  It’s funny to me now looking back that my measure of a good photo was the blurred background.  I now know that there are plenty of great photos without that affect as well.  But, I was a novice, nonetheless, and decided I must have the camera that could help me do that.  Of course, having the blurred background is still pretty cool……

 

Quinnly by Autumn

 

We were on vacation when the urge hit.  It was time to upgrade that camera so we could get some great vacation shots.  My birthday was that week and my husband decided that we could buy the camera for both of our birthdays and Christmas and our anniversary, too, in order to justify paying for it.  Although I think we may have overpaid (being the ultimate deal shopper that I am), I’m so very glad to have my little Canon t1i DSLR camera.  While I can still take pretty normal, not so great pictures when it’s set on “auto” or when the lighting isn’t so great, I have the capability to take much better pictures when I want to or need to.  I’m learning as I go and it’s been a lot of fun!

 

Since we bought the camera, I do use it a lot for taking pictures of the kids, but I actually use it more for blogging.  I’ve been learning about using light and how to change the settings of the camera and how to shoot photos in manual mode.  I sometimes feel like it’s a huge learning curve and don’t want to mess with it, but when I do, I get some pretty great photos!  I’ve also learned a lot about how to edit my photos to enhance them, making them even better than they were, or to cover up any mistakes I made.

 

Because of my budding fascination with photography, my oldest daughter also developed the urge to learn photography.  In fact, we just bought her a new DSLR camera for Christmas.  She’s been practicing like crazy and has taken some beautiful shots.  She took this beautiful sunset photograph with her new camera and won 2nd place in a local kids photography contest.

 

sunset by autumn

 

Last year I bought a digital photography course for my daughter so that she can enhance what she’s learning.  We were going to use it as a course in school, because she is hoping to eventually start a photography business.  But….I learned about something even better than that course that we started with.  It’s called The Ultimate Photography Bundle and I’m going to use this as a thorough education in photography for both of us!  There’s 3 different levels to it, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.  We’ll have to start in the Beginner section, but there’s some things in the Advanced section I’d like her to learn as well, so I think I’m going to buy all 3.  The 3 things in the bundle that I think will help us the most in the Beginner’s section are:

 

  • Photography Masterclass: Your Complete Guide to Photography ($199 value)
  • Seeing the Light: Making the Most of Available Light and Minimal Equipment ($12.00 value)
  • iPhone Only Photography ($29.00 value – because sometimes I don’t want to lug my big camera)

 

If you’re interested in learning more about photography or just improving your photography skills, let me suggest you start with this free gift:  Free Guide to Photo Composition and perhaps join me in buying the Beginner’s Photography bundle.

 

What about you?  What’s your photography story?

 


Monday Randomness: Real Life Edition

Hey!  How was your weekend?  It’s been a while since I’ve shared a random update about my family and what we’ve been up to.  I thought, today is the perfect day to do just that.

 

What we’ve been doing….

We’ve been busy.  I told you all about our Schlitterbahn Kansas City trip and how I got a really bad sunburn.  What I didn’t tell you is 8 days later, I accompanied my kids’ youth group to World’s of Fun/Ocean’s of Fun, also in Kansas City.   June has been full of amusement parks!  While at World’s of Fun, I rode roller coasters that I haven’t even thought about riding in 15-20 years.  I found that I get more sick on them than I did when I was 18.  I also figured out that I must be getting old, as roller coasters aren’t nearly as fun as they used to be.  Go figure…

 

We just started roofing our house.  In fact, by the time this post gets sent out, I will probably be out on the roof with my husband, getting a couple hours of time in before he goes to work and before the heat takes over.  A hail storm came through a month or two ago and our insurance company is paying for us to replace our roof.  We decided to use part of that roof replacement money to buy a camper, so we are doing the labor ourselves.  We do have one friend we are paying to help us when he can, (he keeps us going in the right direction so we don’t mess up!).  In the mean time, we had to take off the satellite dish AND the internet antenna that picks up our wireless signal.  I’m having to use my iPhone hotspot to blog with…and can’t wait till our home is back to normal in the WIFI department.  :)  The TV I can do without.

 

We had a fun and restful Father’s Day.  We started the morning at church and then we took my dad and my husband out to Pizza Hut buffet for a fun, family friendly Father’s Day dinner.  Later, we came home and napped for 2 hours.  We ended the day by playing miniature golf at the park and then visiting Ryan’s (my husband’s) dad at his house.  It was a really nice day.  Especially since I beat the whole family at Mini Golf.  That’s a rare thing in this family!  Here’s a picture of my husband, riding a gorilla on the mini golf course, LOL.  He was having a fun time, entertaining the kids and just being all out silly.  Something my kids will always remember their daddy for.  I’m thankful to have him in my life as the father of my kids!

 

Ryan on the Gorilla

 

and what we’re planning….

 

This week, I’m going on an overnight trip to Dallas to visit the Dr. Pepper Snapple Headquarters.  They are paying my travel expenses and I get to go do a Behind the Scenes tour of the facility, do a little taste testing (Did you know that they have over 50 brands of drinks?) as well as help to build a playground as part of their Let’s Play Community Construction Grants.   I’m looking forward to getting away for a short trip, but I’m also a little nervous, as this is the first time I’ve ever been away from Quinnly (15 months) overnight.  She’s still nursing, and although it makes me a bit nervous to make her do without nursing for 2 full days, I’m looking forward to the kid break, too.  I’ll be sharing more pictures about my trip when I get back.

 

My 17 year old son is leaving us this week for a week of Summer Church camp.  He’s at that age where it’s tough to catch him at home any more, but I’m starting to really miss him and I’m not looking forward to him being gone another week.  (He and his dad were gone for almost a week already this month at a large paintball event.)  Here’s a picture of my son at the paintball event (he’s on the far right).

 

Baylee at D-Day

 

I know this is just practice for when he actually leaves home for good, but I’m not sure I’m ready for this stage of life (said in my best whiney mom voice I can muster).

 

3 of my daughters have been attending Children’s Summer Theater.  I’ve been the Mom’s Taxi Driver all month.  The final production of the play will be this coming weekend, with 3 separate performances that will no doubt be packed out.  They have loved their time in Children’s Summer Theater and while they’re excited to finally get to perform the musical they’ve been preparing for, they’re going to be sad to not have play practice any more.  Me, on the other hand, will be happy to go back to a more normal schedule.  June has been so busy!  Here’s a picture of them at their performance of Peter Pan last year.

 

Peter Pan Performance

 

 

So far, we’re having a fun filled summer, but now that the heat is kicking it up a notch, I have a feeling we’ll be staying indoors a little more and maybe tackling some inside of the house projects before the school year has to begin again.  I hope you’re having a great Summer Break so far!