I thought today I’d share a little update on a new play area I’ve just made for Ottilie that so far has been a storming success!
Our kitchen and dining room are adjoined to form one big space, with an eight-seater table taking up about two thirds of the space in the dining half of the room and French doors down the end of the room letting in lots of lovely natural light. It’s one of my favourite spaces in the house, but I’ve always felt that we weren’t making the best use of the room. The other third of the dining room not taken up by the table and chairs has always been a bit of a dead area, containing just the piano, the dogs’ beds, and not a lot else!
I decided it might be nice to create a little play area there for Ottilie, not only to give the room some life but also to give Ottie some on-hand distractions for when I’m cooking and preparing food. She has a tendency to cling to my legs and whinge, which makes moving round the kitchen quite tricky!
Since I’m already in full nesting mode and therefore want our house made perfect as of NOW, I had everything for the play area ordered and sorted within about 3 hours of deciding it wanted doing!
My favourite find of the whole area might just be that gorgeous pompom basket in the photo above, not least because I very nearly bought a similar one from La Redoute for £65, but found this one at an independent shop near us for £20! A bargain if ever I saw one!
It’s currently home to Ottilie’s collection of tractors, trucks, and diggers, because my goodness this little girl of mine is obsessed with anything on wheels right now! We’re planning on a trip to the London Transport Museum for her 2nd birthday in a couple of month’s time, which I think she’s going to adore!
My main aim for the space was to have just a small selection of toys, laid out in an easily accessible and inviting way.
Like basically other parent ever I ordered a set of the infamous IKEA Eket modular shelves, which, may I just say, I TOTALLY built all by myself and didn’t have any husband-input on. You can’t even imagine how proud it made me, especially being totally DIY-phobic and always keen to delegate boring jobs to Jason! ;) Ottilie was a great helper too!
So cheap they may be, but I think the shelves look so great! They’re just the right height for Ottilie to reach and take whatever toys she wants to play with from the top, and I find that since her toys, puzzles, and books are all out and visible and accessible, it seems to tempt her to play too.
I’ve also made it a space to introduce some new and different toys, like her new boxes of puzzles! In the living room we have her toy kitchen and wooden tea set, babies, prams, and toys that in general invite more imaginary play. Since I knew this space would only be used for short bursts, I’ve filled it with toys that will absorb her attention fully but are things she tends to move on from fairly quickly. Like puzzles!
I’m very much enjoying picking up scattered puzzle pieces from round the room 18 times a day, let me tell you ;)
Oh, and I’ve been using the corner as a place to display some of the bits that Ottilie’s painted lately, which I love! She’s especially proud of her little birdhouse, and likes to ask herself ‘Who painted dat?…Ottilie!!’ whilst showing it off!
Last but not least is the rug! It’s from Next, and perfectly fit my criteria of having a dark pattern and being durable enough to withstand toddler spillages and muddy dog feet, but not look drab and boring! I’m so pleased with it, and think it’ll be a nice place for the baby’s bouncer and playmat to go come October time too.
So that’s our new play area! You can’t imagine how happy it makes me seeing Ottilie enjoy the space, especially when it means I’m able to cook meals without a toddler sitting up on the worktop next to me throwing handfuls of salt/onions/pasta onto the floor at random!
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I’m on a bit of a mission to update parts of our home at the moment, so would you like to see more as I go? We’re almost finished sorting Ottilie’s bedroom (we’ve done a nursery to toddler room makeover lately, and it’s looking so cute!) and are about to tackle the spare room too!