This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Huggies®.
One of the big priorities, when we got into the new house, was to get things settled enough so there were places for Miles to play. Not because our world revolves around our kid (although, with a face this cute it kinda does — only kidding — sorta), but because Miles is a busy boy these days. He’s crawling and standing and grabbing and putting EVERYTHING in his mouth. I really wanted to have some spaces set up to play with him that were safe.
We put his room mostly together first just so we’d have at least one area for play, but the minute I got all our living room walls painted I set up his little play corner.
Perhaps I should preface this by explaining that we do NOT have a playroom in the new house. There is also no finished basement or bonus room to fill endlessly with toys and games. The house we bought is on the smaller side (by a growing family’s standards.) But, we like that. We know it means we have to be much more intentional in the use of our space. It also means we have to work very hard not to over clutter our life with stuff.
But, I like having a smaller space because it forces you not to overbuy and be smart with your space. But, of course, this is very hard with a child. Not only do you want things to entertain and enrich your child, but also everyone you know brings you toys and knick-knacks for the baby. So, I’m going to share a glimpse into Miles’ Play Corner, which I’m sure will constantly change and evolve as he grows (which he seems to be doing at an alarming rate!) And share some of the tips I follow to keep clutter to a minimum if you are having a play area in your living space.
The Play Corner
Shelves: These are not the forever shelves that will live here. I want to switch out for a longer, lower shelf that he can access more easily for when he hit toddlerhood. But, this shelf works for now.
Playmat: We use these playmats because they look more like rugs. This is nice when you have a play area in your living room and don’t want your living room to look like a preschool.
Baskets: More about why baskets are key in our play area below. But, I got a set of cotton baskets in a few sizes. I PURPOSEFULLY got SMALL baskets. This helps me be more conscious of how many toys I put out. Bigger baskets = more toys. Smaller baskets = have to be pickier.
Toys: As I explain below, I use a toy rotation method for Miles’ toys. So, this isn’t every toy he owns. But, for right now I do always keep his wooden walker out to the side of the shelf as well as a set of stacking cups or a set of stacking rings. See some of my favorite toys from ages 0-8 months.
Art: I made this banner was a buy or DIY and the painting is from Miles himself, I just put it in a frame to make it look more official 😉 The tassel planter is another Buy or DIY that I just thought was fun and colorful for the space.
The key to keeping our play areas from overflowing is toy rotation. Having a lot of toys is just unavoidable with children. You buy them. Your friend buys them. Grandma buys them. Your child grabs one at the checkout and, well, now you own it. Late-night nursing sessions convince you you NEED insert toy here. But, the truth is having all the toys out is not only not going to work if you don’t have a dedicated playroom, but it also tends to overwhelm the child because there is too much to choose from, and they get bored with items quicker.
When I taught preschool I learned the trick of toy rotation and it’s the best solution for the kids and your sanity.
Essentially, the majority of your toys are stored away. I use these clip closed Tupperware storage bins. Miles isn’t that old yet, so he doesn’t have a TON of toys, but I’d say I keep about 70% of his toys in storage. The other 30% is in his bedroom or here in his play corner. Every 7-14 days, I put away items in the play corner and replace them with items from toy storage. To Miles, it’s like a whole new toy! It also keeps him from being totally overwhelmed with options. To me, it’s less mess and clutter to pick up 1,000x a day.
Ok, so I know baskets for organizing isn’t really rocket science. But I use baskets in Miles’ play areas for three main reasons:
1. Baskets to Minimize: For example, Miles has a full set of blocks my Uncle made him. It’s probably 60 pieces. At the ripe age of 10 months, Miles does NOT need 60 blocks to play with. Using smaller baskets allows me to just put 10 or so blocks out – more than enough for what Miles does with them right now – and keeps the clutter to a minimum.
If there were 60 blocks there, he would for sure pour all 60 out and then I’d have to pick up all 60 every day.
2. Baskets for Intention: In Montessori teaching, they use something called treasure baskets. The idea is to fill it with a collection of items your baby can safely explore and investigate on their own. It can be toys but can also be safe items from everyday life. Sometimes it’s a mix of items, but often it can be a collection of things that are similar in some way. Some ideas include:
- Balls of different sizes and textures
- Toys and items that make sounds when shaken
- Toys with wheels
- Rubber animals
- Items from nature such as pinecones, sea sponge, or seashells
- Metal kitchen items like a whisk, spoon, and ice cream scoop
- Stuffed animal or felt toys
- the list is honestly endless but you can do a Google search for some treasure baskets for TONS of items
3. Baskets for Purpose – A must-have for me in my downstairs play area is a diaper/wipes basket! Miles’ room is upstairs and you better believe I don’t want to have to lug him upstairs every time he needs a diaper change. Having a downstairs diaper station is key key key.
I have a small basket on a top shelf that Miles can’t reach for these occasions. And I keep the diaper station STOCKED with the new Huggies® Special Delivery™ diapers, now available at Walmart. I love these because they are plant-based* diapers that are SO much softer than the average diaper. Not to mention, they and awesome protection (no wet onesies during playtime!) and the wetness indicator lines that make diaper changing a breeze. And, lastly, they come in a variety of adorable designs! I mean, call me a little vain, but cute designs on diapers is kind of the cutest thing ever.
Make sure to look for the Huggies® Special Delivery™ end-aisle display in your local Walmart. Click here to shop for Huggies® Special Delivery™ at Walmart.com.
**23% by weight