Category Archives: Playtime

Create an Arts & Crafts Station

Ever feel like toy stores are just full of button-pushing toys that light up and make noise? I’d rather play with stuff from Michaels and Hobby Lobby, myself. My middle child is just the same. LOVES to color and glue and cut and paste the old fashioned way… as it should be. So when the opportunity presented itself (we moved his older brother out of this shared room and into his own room), I decided to give my little creative guy an Arts and Crafts Station!

I’m a little obsessed with the playroom environments I’ve seen on PlayAtHomeMom, where their (super-lucky!) kids are surrounded by opportunities to be creative through the Reggio Emilia Approach. So I created a mini-version!

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Removal of the abovementioned older brother’s dresser and ladder to the upper bunk left a nice, open corner in my son’s room. I had most of these materials around my house, but this space needed:

  • Kid-sized table and chairs
  • 5″ or 6″ wide piece of wood for shelf (mine was leftover from another project)
  • L-brackets and screws
  • Ten plastic containers from the Dollar Tree
  • Various arty and crafty materials, also mostly from the Dollar Tree
  • Décor (guess where I got the frames… that’s right)

Tools needed:

  • Level
  • Power Drill
  • Power Screwdriver
  • Pencil
  • Stud Finder (My husband always jokes that I’ve got one built in. Har.)

First things first, measure your space and decide where everything will go. I had a 48″ piece of wood, which suited the size of my table nicely.

Once you’ve got a plan, use the level to mark where the shelf will go. Mine is about 15″ above the table top to make it easy to reach even when he’s sitting down.

Attach your L-brackets to the wall. Use a stud finder and drill into the studs, or use wall anchors in sheet rock. I used two brackets, but if your shelf is more than 3-4 feet long, I’d use three or more.

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Set your wooden shelf on top of the brackets (double check that it’s level) and screw it on.

Next, fill all your little containers with fun, colorful doo-dads! Mine include pipe cleaners, googly eyes, pom poms, beads, feathers, clothes pins, etc. plus glue and scissors.

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I also put out his favorite markers and some glitter pens, plus crayons, color pencils and construction paper (not pictured).

On the walls, I knew I wanted something personal and colorful, so I searched for printables for my lil Beyblade-loving boy… there was an unsurprising shortage. So I made my own! I found pictures of his four favorite Beys, used Photoshop to make them black and white, erased the black parts and put the white leftovers on colorful backgrounds. I added their names in a cool white font and had them printed at Kinkos for 59 cents each. Dollar store document frames and viola! (I know it’s really voila, but it makes me chuckle, K?)

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Verdict: he LOVES it. He’s never been more content to play in his room, and the first thing he made was a thank you card for me (awww)! A big thanks to PAHM for inspiring my guy’s creative station!

Super Easy Kids Arts and Crafts Station

As always… here’s what I messed up on so you don’t have to!

  • Measure twice, cut once! (Or in my case, measure twice, do your math right and double-check it before banging nails into your wall to hang pictures.)
  • Lucky accident that my containers fit on that shelf so perfectly, because I didn’t measure them before I bought them.
  • Make sure you buy enough of each supply to make the container look kinda full. I ended up going back for another pack of googly eyes and beads to fill them up more.

(Should anyone ever actually want to use my Beyblade decor, feel free… here they are.)

CYBERN EARTH EAGLE

FANG LEONE KRAKEN BALRO

Thanks for reading my blog!!

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The $19 Playroom Tent

Why do kids love forts so much? It’s a mystery to me, but every time we pulled out our little pop-up tent, you’d think I’d brought Disney World home. Those tents were flimsy though, and we didn’t really have good fort-making structures up there.

So I started thinking… what could we create that (a) had enough space for growing boys, (b) could be set up and taken down easily, and (c) wasn’t going to require a lot of room to store.

OK, enough chit chat. Let’s get down to it.

STEP ONE: Measure your space
My tent is 4’x8′. I kept it to multiples of four, because I figured that would make it easier, math-wise. (It was also the approximate size of my futon when unfolded!) Once you’ve planned out your space, you’ll know how much of everything you’ll need.
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STEP TWO: Gather your materials
I used:
– Three 4’x9′ pieces of fabric from the fabric store ($18 of my $19). Any lightweight fabric would work. Old twin sheets would be perfect.
– Three small eye hooks and some picture-hanging wire I already had.
– A set of 6 white plastic clamps from the dollar store. (See below as to why this was a poor decision.) Tadaa, we’re at $19.

STEP THREE: Measure and install your eye hooks
My tent is eight feet long and four feet wide. So I installed my eye hooks accordingly, as close to the ceiling (or sloped ceiling) as possible. And it’s only leaving three tiny holes in my wall, that’s it!
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STEP FOUR: Hang your wire
All we did was attach the wire to the first eye hook, string it through the second one, and attach it to the first one again. (I could have run it to the third one too, but I didn’t wanna run it down the sloped wall.) This is the one in the ceiling by the fan:
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STEP FIVE: Hang your fabric
I draped two panels (side-by-side) over the wire, with a few inches hanging over on the inside, and put a clamp on it every foot or so. (Small strand of twinkly lights – optional.)
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The fabric for the front of the tent gets attached to the last clamp on the ceiling wire, and then clamped to the eye hook in the side wall:
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Bonus: it works like a shower curtain, so I just pull it back, put it into this tote, and put it on the top shelf when they’re done.
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Now for the fun part… here’s what I screwed up on so you don’t have to!
1- Use longer eye hooks. (^^^ “Screwed” up on – ha.) I used little ones, like maybe an inch long. Use heavier-duty ones.
2- DO NOT BUY the white plastic “clamps” from the dollar store. They are barely strong enough to use as chip clips.
Instead, I used these heavier-duty clips that I already had (the rounded shape of which makes the “shower curtain effect” even smoother).
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3- Make sure you really observe your space… is there an AC vent? A light? An attic door? Ahem, a ceiling fan??? All these might impact your space’s tentability.

And the finished product:
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Sorry I don’t have a “before” shot, but here’s something that made me chuckle…
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So, I went through a phase when I thought brighter was better. I dubbed this color Radioactive Guacamole. Thankfully, we came to our senses, added some built-ins and went with the lovely taupe-ish/gray we have now.

And my Christmas Mommy Win – I took a picture of my kids asleep in their new tent and “added” a Santa taking a selfie (Photoshop). My kids FREAKED out on Christmas morning over this. “Why didn’t he wake us uuuuup?”
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I hope you’ve enjoyed the $19 Playroom Tent. Happy building!