Playspace Pickle

HELP!  This might prove to be the most incoherent post I’ve ever made.  Hence, the reason I’m asking for your opinions.  Admittedly this will be easier for you if you’ve been to my house, but please play along even if you haven’t!

You know the girls are getting The Kitchen for Christmas.  In about a month.  I had envisioned their kitchen in my kitchen because, well, how sweet is that?  But here’s the thing.  With their snack table (which I adore and couldn’t live without) and the kitchen and the dog’s stuff and, um, “real” kitchen stuff, if it’s all in there – even in our moderately sized room – I’m going to lose my mind.

Which started the wheels turning…. never good, right?

Since the guest room isn’t going to be a nursery any time soon (*sigh*), why not make a fabulous playroom?!  It would be so much fun!  A “pretend play” area with dress-up and kitchen stuff and doll stuff, and areas for everything else!  New decor, which I’ve been waiting to do forever in that room!

Ok, but seriously.  I like being a stay at home mom (most of the time) because I love spending that time with my girls.  Even if we aren’t engaged in one-on-two play, I love hearing them play and watching them interact.  I don’t want them shut up in a room upstairs all day, even if they WOULD do such a thing without too much trouble.

So – plan B?  Is there a plan B?  Not really.  We never wished we had a dining room, and in fact chose this floorplan over others because we didn’t want that wasted space.  Now I wish we had, but only to convert it to a downstairs playroom! 😉  We do have a formal living room, but it’s the one and only room you walk into when you enter our house.  Call it a personality trait or a character flaw, but I can’t allow that to be a playroom.  I just can’t.  I hate that we don’t use that space, but I love how it “shows”.  And don’t even get me started on actually “showing” the house (if we are ever in a position to do so (*sigh*)), because then the formal living room needs to stay and the playroom needs to remain neutral.  But we’ll leave that hypothetical in the same drawer as the one in which the playroom needs to be converted back to a nursery for child #3.  As in, there is no sense waiting on either of those things that don’t appear to be on the current radar.  Kudos to me for finally learning that, though admittedly I’m fighting back tears thinking about both heartaches and will lose that battle if I make this paragraph any longer.

How about just moving the armchair and end table in the formal living room, and at least having the “pretend play” stuff on the wall adjacent to the door? I think.  Then you wouldn’t see it IMMEDIATELY upon entering (only 0.04 seconds later), but it would still be functional.  Only then, character trait/personality flaw #2 comes into play, in that I would struggle immensely with such a shoddy play area.  Meaning, one of my favorite things we’ve ever purchased for the girls will be stuck in a corner and hardly put in the environment for which it was intended.  And then all we will have accomplished is storing toys in even MORE places.

Then there’s this whole other issue, and that is this:  I know I am insane for having been thinking about this for nearly 4 hours this morning while I couldn’t sleep.  But heck – it’s who I am.

If I WERE to create a playroom (are you totally lost yet?  And yes, this is after 4 hours of consolidating my thoughts. You’re welcome ;)), it would come in handy to have such a dedicated space if we were to homeschool in a couple of years.  Holy cow, an entirely different thing that consumed my thoughts in the early hours of this day (but surprisingly not as random as it would seem – did you know you can create playrooms based entirely on educational theories?  It’s true.  And crazy.)

So… what?  If our playroom were upstairs, given my children’s personalities and mine, given the way our days usually go, and given that I actually want to spend lots of time with them since it goes by too quickly, we’d almost certainly have to block out purposeful time to spend in that room if anything were ever to be used.  That’s ok, but also sort of hard sometimes.  We’d still need some toys downstairs for the rest of the time when I have to attend to the rest of our lives, but it would be greatly reduced.  I like the way that sounds given my disdain for “clutter”, but I also hardly think of my kids’ playthings as clutter (when kept in moderation ;)).

If you’re still with me, please weigh in!

Parent of small children –  Do yours have a playroom away from the main living areas?  Do they use it?  Do you miss them? 🙂  Again, we don’t have an extra space downstairs (sunroom, dining room, etc) so that’s not an option right now.
Parents of older children – Did yours have such a space?  Does it matter to you now (either way)?  I had an awesome playroom when I was little, complete with a floor perfect for tap-dancing.  I like to think I had plenty of quality time with my parents, even as they both worked outside the home.  But then again it was on the same floor as everything else.  Does that matter?
Anyone – any more thoughts?  And no, you aren’t allowed to just tell me to get over my neuroses about the living room/entryway.  You can think it, but if you leave a comment you have to add more 😉

Seriously, start talking.  Here or FB, whatever is easier.  Just help a girl out with an admittedly (very!) minor “problem”. 😉

Comments

  1. okay, I think you should make a playroom…the time is shortly coming where you can leave them up there to play and go do what you need to and then rejoin them for play! We have a one story house and not sure if you knew this or not but just recently put Sam & Zoe in seperate rooms (Sam is now napping again without an audience!). It was so nice to get some of the toys out of the living areas of the house. Their kitchen, table, chaors and a bookshelf are in the lounge and the living room/TV area is basically toy free! You could have a box of toys downstairs or maybe just the kitchen with a few accessories? Do you have an island seperating your kitchen from living areas or anything that you could just put the kitchen there and everything else in a playroom? Just throwing out ideas!

    Meredith- who is very chatty this Sunday morning!

  2. Jen, just thought of something too..when we clean up, sometimes fo they have brought items out of their room, we use a small laundry basket to clean up the toys, and then we go to their rooms and put those toys away..much easier than running stuff back and forth (and them in doing so getting distracted)if they have had a busy day, and have a lot of things out. You could do that to a certain extent with the upstairs toys, where they could bring down some things to play with while you are having to do other things (and you can still hear thier conversations!). when they are done and you are done, you guys can clean up and take the stuff up for playtime in the playroom!

    meredith

  3. Jennier..I loved that play room!

  4. Could you move the dog stuff and put the kitchen there and then put the dog stuff closer to the garage area or even on the end of the island?
    I am putting the girls in separate rooms rooms very soon (Avary already is in her room for naps) and then for Christmas one is getting the kitchen set and one is getting a beauty salon. Both rooms are upstairs. We thought about doing an actual playroom, since we will have two guest rooms, but decided since we will have extra space in their rooms to just put the toys in each room. I think either way you do it (upstairs or downstairs) they will be fine. I agree with you though, how fun would it be for them to be cooking in their kitchen while you are cooking too. I just can’t stand all the clutter of toys.

  5. Could you move the dog stuff and put the kitchen there and then put the dog stuff closer to the garage area or even on the end of the island?
    I am putting the girls in separate rooms rooms very soon (Avary already is in her room for naps) and then for Christmas one is getting the kitchen set and one is getting a beauty salon. Both rooms are upstairs. We thought about doing an actual playroom, since we will have two guest rooms, but decided since we will have extra space in their rooms to just put the toys in each room. I think either way you do it (upstairs or downstairs) they will be fine. I agree with you though, how fun would it be for them to be cooking in their kitchen while you are cooking too. I just can’t stand all the clutter of toys.

  6. In our old old house (the two story one), we converted from a nursery and bedroom (boys 3 years apart) into a bedroom and upstairs playroom.

    Granted, we had a country kitchen/morning room combo that had some of their toys, but the big stuff was all in their playroom. It didn’t keep me or my husband from spending time upstairs while they played. In fact, I think our laundry was folded on a more regular basis because we’d bring the baskets up there to keep the kids company while we played.

    In your situation, it sounds like you’re leaning towards moving the formal living room into playroom direction. I’d do it, with a caveat: adding french doors to the room. That way, you can close it off when guests come over.

    It’s not an impossible DIY project and the Jen who needs things looking tidy will be appeased. 🙂

  7. Did the playroom thing and it was great when the kids were little. We had some toys in the family room, but the kids could really enjoy their own play space. They will get more and more independent and you will come and go in their play world. Sometimes, I would just take a book in and read and listen to them as they played. And 8 years later I converted the playroom back into a nursery – keep the faith!

  8. Did the playroom thing and it was great when the kids were little. We had a basket of toys in the family room, but they loved having their own play space. They will be getting more and more independent. Sometimes, I would just take a book in and read and listen to their play world. And 8 years later, I converted the play room back to a nursery – keep the faith!

  9. Thanks everyone for your input! We are definitely going the playroom route. I’m unsure as to when the kitchen will make it there (it might stay downstairs a while for a trial run, especially if other toys will be moving). The more we thought about it though, the more it made sense for us – especially with winter coming, and the girls rottenness that is 2-years-old – to have another area that’s safe and fun for a change of scenery when we’re stuck inside. I’ll be using a lot of your suggestions as far as rotating toys, bringing some downstairs, pick up time, etc. We’re excited, and I’ve already got it all planned out! 🙂

  10. How often do you have people over to use the dining table? If hardly ever then why not temporarily move the dining table somewhere else and use that space for their kitchenette, at least for a year or so while you enjoy “cooking” with them? You and Kyle could eat at the island and they could eat at their little table. Also, does the formal living room have to stay formal? Could you guys watch tv there instead? Then that whole family room area could be a large play room and you could keep your dining table. Just a couple of thoughts…