Over the years our family has lived in many different homes. I have found it useful to create spaces in the home to suit whatever stage we are in.
With the transition at the moment with self-isolation in Australia, I’ve done a few extra things to maximise the ways we can use the space we have at home.
They are just little changes, for example, pulling out our camping table, setting up some cushions or putting down a mat or mattress on the floor for play. I’ll list below some recent ways I have changed our home space to suit the situation we are in and also what I have done in the past in other stages of our family life.
Ideas for Creating Spaces
There are so many everyday items you can use to create spaces around the home. I have written an extensive post about the everyday items you can use for fun and play here. I’ll also list some ideas below.
- Have an old thin mattress? Put it down on the lounge floor and the kids will have a blast playing on it.
- Put up a portable table in an available area and use it as a dedicated craft space.
- Lay down a towel on an outdoor patio, put a bucket of water and some toys for a sensory activity.
- Use a box to rotate toys in the living room.
- Use masking tape to make roads on the carpet for play.
- Put out some cushions down and create a reading corner.
- Use a sheet on a table or over chairs to make an indoor fort.
Eight years ago (when we lived somewhere different), I created an art & craft space for my kids that I could set up and take down easily. You can read the post here. Now that the kids are home a lot more, I went through the cupboards, pulled out all our craft supplies, and set up our craft table on the patio outside.
You can read about where I found this caddy here.
We put down some lino on the back patio last year to create a space for my daughter to practice dance. It’s become especially useful of late for her to keep up with her dance practice while following along to the syllabus via video.
We also now use this space as a gym (for online streaming classes). I put down plastic mats makes this a great area for working out.
Learning at home can be tricky. My older kids have desks in their room, but often I’ll find they will still use the dining room table for learning. You’ll often find a few of us (me included), sitting at the table with our laptops and books, doing individual learning. I do find it useful to have a Home Work Station which acts as a central area for pens etc. You can read more about it here.
I don’t need this now, but when my kids were younger, I put out some cushions near the kitchen to create a reading space and rotated the books around every now and again.
Indoor/Backyard Sheet Tent/Fort
Use a sheet to create a tent in the backyard or over a sofa with cushions and chairs to create an indoor fort.
I have also used an old tablecloth to make a play space for the table. Cut a flap in the side to make a fort under the table.
We have never had the space for a dedicated playroom so in the past, we used a section of the living space as a playroom. You can change the feel of the space by bringing in a few chairs, a low table, putting down some cushions, bringing in a section of thin chipboard or untreated wood to add to play, rotating toys, bringing out drawers and sorting toys or adding masking tape to create a play space.
Lego / Play Table
Holidays and extended periods at home are the perfect time for playing Lego for days on end. It is super helpful to have space for kids to play with their completed Lego. I love this HUGE DIY Lego table. Tutorial here.
For more ideas, there’s a fab post with this Ikea Lego Table and more ideas.
Depending on the weather, you can create spaces outside too. Put up a backyard tent, create a backyard obstacle course (or challenge the kids to design one), create a fort on the trampoline, make a mud kitchen, make a streamer or tinsel tent under a tree, lay a picnic mat out under a patio.
One of my favourites play ideas, when my kids were young, was to use put sand in an underbed storage container and then add some brick pavers. Bam — you have a fun outside play space for the kids. For more ideas of creating a sandpit like this without having a dedicated sandpit, check here.
Another tip I have during these times when you need to spend significant times at home is to notice and enjoy the little things with kids. I have made a huge list of 100 of simple things you can do with kids that can be simply woven into the day (meaning they usually don’t take any time to prepare and only take a few minutes). You can print various size posters here.