When the summer heat hits and the bugs bite, we take refuge in the basement while the girls spend many hours and days playing at home. It was especially out of control after living through a year of home renovations, with the basement serving as a landing zone for stuff while every room in the house eventually got renovated.
So I had to get the play spaces transformed before the kids got out of school!
Last summer I set up the play kitchen in our main living space, using it for Montessori lessons I featured in two posts here and here. Before that it was transformed into a new gift for a third child, with an added market and newly sewn accessories, table clothes, grocery cart liner and such. Those efforts were part of a pairing down on Christmas post. It’s the same kitchen that used to live in my living room, and once in my kitchen, where my two littlest ones (at the time) ate breakfast. Over the last six years it has seen many different lives and uses.
And now, the play kitchen that was once a joint gift to my oldest child for her second birthday by both sets of grandparents, is taking on a new life in a new space. Which was transformed and set up by her, now age eight, for her little sister who is three. She did an amazing job, using lamps and art that were lying about in the basement, transforming this corner into what feels like a new room. She such a mini me.
Next up was transforming the things my middle girl loves, her Vet Cart using things we have at home.
It’s made using an old drink cart I bought at a thrift store, loaded up with doctor clothes and accessorites we have aquired over the years. As well as a fresh set of real bandages and bandaids for fixing her stuffed animals. Also included are old dog leases, eraser shaped dog bones, combs and bandanas for grooming, hair clips for ears and anything this creative girl sees fit in her world of stuffed animals.
As for the rest, she gets inventive with X-ray machines, sewing up little friends in need of repair, arranging a waiting area for the pets and a “play area” for the children to wait with their families.
Her “play area” for the patient’s families is also part of the transformed spaces for general play, with a little reorganizing on her part. Which is what play is all about!
Partially seen here is another shelving system with bins of toys, puzzles, doll house people, play animals and barns, trains, blocks, Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs and the likes. The play table doubles as a Lego table for the older girls.
This is the music shelf, stocked with noise-making “musical instruments” that MUST live in the basement. And “concerts” must happen there or in the yard (sorry neighbors).
I have NO idea how we accumulated so many dress up clothes (well actually I do – old Halloween costumes, vintage dresses from my own childhood and dance recital hand-me-downs from cousins). But they all live here now. And they are well used for the many “shows” that get produced and preformed around here. The vintage dressers were purchased for the girls’ rooms but didn’t fit as I had hoped. Now they have a home, along with baskets left over from baby nurseries :-). Yes, we find a way to refuse just about anything around here!
More dress up clothes, accessories, wings and purses live in this playhouse too. They are never ending.
But as years go by, and kids grow older, there is the need to transform our spaces and grow with them. Having my oldest girl help create these spaces helped give her ownership over the area (she likes to be in charge), and she knows exactly where everything belongs to help the younger ones clean up. During the next 9 weeks of summer break, LOTS of summertime play will happen in these newly transformed spaces.