Take a little tour of my home: design tips for those with young children!

Okay – this is not really a “design” tour. It’s more of a philosophy tour. I have this philosophy that small children need easy access to books, colorful items, objects they are allowed to touch and explore, craft items, games, etc.

I am going to take you through our little home. There is method behind my madness here. While I feel as though doing this really opens myself up to strangers (I feel house-naked!) it breaks my heart to know that some parents neglect to take care of their kid’s needs.

I am not saying that YOU are one of those parents. Okay? 🙂

Throughout my years of working with kids I learned that different parents have different philosophies. Some parents really (really) want to keep a tidy house. To tell the truth, I COULD be one of those parents. I love a clean home. Nice, orderly, clean and tidy. For me, that’s like a tiny piece of heaven. Having two small children drives me to the brink of insanity some days; I get so tired of picking up – cleaning up – tidying up – only to have to do it all over again. And again. And again.

I love my kids more than a tidy home, though. I realize that they need these things. They need time to explore, to get into things, to color, to read, to pick up books and turn the pages, to play games, to sing and dance, to practice putting on their shoes and dress-up clothing and so on.

Therefore, our home sort of resembles a preschool in many ways. Ready for it?

Off we go:

This is the entry-way table (my father painted it). I have magazines stacked here that our daughter likes to pull down, any time, and flip through. She names everything she sees in them and has a blast telling us all about the people, animals and products.

Our entry-way shoe rack. That way, the kids can always reach their shoes and practice putting them on and taking them off.

Next to the woodstove we have a ball run (Discovery Toys), a dress-up box, LEGO'S, DUPLO'S and a tub of "free play" items. The kids play here and make a HUGE mess each day. We pick everything up and 10 minutes later, it's a giant crap-pile again. Good times.

On the other side of the woodstove we have a red chair (the dog sleeps there - I got that chair at Goodwill for 9 bucks). Under the chair is a tub of LEGO'S and next to the chair is a mini trampoline for the kids to jump on. This works well when it's cold and we can't go outside to play.They can still get the wiggles out.

In the kitchen we have an art easel. One side has a blackboard and the other side has a whiteboard. I keep the chalk and pens in the coffee tub (re-use!). (Dear Maxwell House - do you like this Product Placement shot? Please send cash. Thanks.)

Beside the kitchen is a Nook. Under the Nook we keep a tub full of coloring books, papers, a Craft Mat (from Mail4Kids.ca) and a bucket full of crayons and pencils (the bucket used to have ice cream in it: Recycle! Reuse!).

When we replaced our bathroom mirrors, I decided to keep the old pieces. I placed them around the house. That way, the kids can look in the mirrors any time (self awareness activity). Our daughter thinks it's hilarious to make faces in the mirror and name all of her facial features: My eyes! My ears! My nose! Look mom! I'm making a face! Now I'm happy! Oh, but now I'm sad. Now I'm silly!

I keep their Personal Child Stories books in my Bing Note bag. I put that out on the couch and let them dig through, read, name the photos and identify the feelings, etc. Then the books go back into the bag for next time.

In one of the bedrooms we have a bookshelf for the kids. The books are all at eye level so they can choose whatever they want. There are some musical toys there, also. They LOVE anything that makes a buttload of noise.

Beside the bookshelf there is a box full of plush toys. These are the toys they are ALLOWED to throw 🙂

Their Color Baskets are near the floor. I got this idea from Dr. Sally Goldberg (her books are on Amazon). This teaches the kids to sort by color. The baskets came from the Dollar Store.

Here are some of the games we keep up high. Can you even imagine if they got into these boxes? Holy crud. THE MESS!! They try, though. Some days they BEG to be given the boxes. As if. Mommy wasn't born yesterday.

Inside the closet I have the puzzles and the Melissa and Doug items. I also have some workbooks, our Kubit2Me cards and a few misc. items.

In this bedroom they also have a little table (antique shop) with an old radio (got that for 5 bucks at the Senior Center Thrift Shop). The kids can push the buttons and play with that. If it breaks, no biggie. There is also a beanbag chair and a dress-up basket under the table.

Well, there you have it. We do have more rooms in the house but sorry – I’m not taking you there 😉 I hope you enjoyed this little tour.

On a side note, we listen to all kinds of music, as well. The kids love to sing, dance around and make believe.

If you are not yet providing your children access to music, games, books and toys…please consider doing so. It’s so great for their brain development, social kills and self esteem. They really do need more than food and water (believe me – some parents really do think that’s all kids need…IF THAT).

It’s my dream that all parents will realize just how fantastic it can be to offer these things to their kids. Your children will flourish, grow, develop, explore, ask questions, inquire, make, create, read, sort, count, pull apart and put together, dress up, sing, dance and in turn…succeed. In every possible sense of the word.

Thanks for reading about my dream 🙂

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