Summer Activities Your Kids Will Love

Summer Activities Your Kids Will Love

I am so excited to share my favorite summer activities my kids absolutely love. Summer is so close, and I am here for it! As the lazy days of summer drag on, we all start looking for new and fun things to keep our kids entertained. Here are some things that my family loves. Click on each picture link to check it out.

Bubbles, bubbles, and more bubbles. All of my kids still love bubbles, but we all cry when they spill. So, here are some non-spillage options that we use.

Another low key (aka low mess) water activity my kids love is painting the sidewalk, back porch, house, fence…you get the idea…with just plain water. We have a variety pack of paint brushes like these, and the kids love to explore the different shapes and lines each paint brush makes.

I know these magnetic blocks have been quite popular over the last several years, so I know you know about them. A great summer activity twist is to take them outside and stick them to your garage door. My youngest likes so sort them by shapes, and my older ones like to build 3D sculptures suspended off the metal door.

Last year, I discovered the best alternative of those plastic kiddie pools that are heavy and kill your grass. It’s this outdoor splash pad. You connect your hose and let the good times roll…or splash, ha. But seriously, clean up and storage of this thing is so much better than anything else we’ve tired.

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Picnics are always a favorite. This is my new favorite picnic basket. Not only is it insulated and waterproof, it also comes with its own blanket. My kids really want to hit as many parks as possible this summer, so I know we will get a lot of use out of this.

Do your kids like popsicles? Mine do. We like to try out different recipes to make our own. Our favorite is banana and cantelope. I have this popsicle mold. I really like that the molds are not connected to each other.

Summer Activities in Your Area

I know everyone lives in different areas with different opportunities, but I encourage you to check your city’s website for summer resources. We have lived in our current city for three summers, and I am still learning about all my town has to offer. Here are some ideas to look into:

  • Berry Picking
  • Farmer’s Markets
  • Day Hiking
  • Outdoor Symphony
  • Explore Parks in Neighboring Cities
  • Creek Stomping
  • Fishing
  • Volunteer for an Animal Sanctuary
  • Drive In Movie
  • Frisbee Golf Course
  • Summer Day Camps
  • Vacation Bible School
  • Goat Yoga
  • Splash Pads and Water Parks
  • Tour a Local Farm (dairy farms are fun and usually end with ice cream)
  • Food Truck Tour
  • Music Festivals
  • 4H Events
  • Horse Back Riding

I hope you found this compilation of summer activities helpful. Share some of your favorite things to do in the summer in the comments below. As always, if you liked this post, please share with your friends. You can also subscribe to my email list to get posts sent straight to your inbox.

Simple Self Care Tips for Busy Moms

Simple Self Care Tips for Busy Moms

Hey there, mama. I am so glad you’re here. I am excited to share with you some really easy and simple self care tips for you to incorporate into your daily life. I have been a stay at home mom for nearly eight and a half years now. With three kids under my care, I can tell you that there are seasons of thriving and seasons of surviving. You can read here on why I am passionate about self care, as well as why I feel so strongly about having appropriate and realistic expectations of ourselves. But now I want to give you some simple tips on how to implement self care into your daily routine. And no, I’m not going to tell you to wake up an hour early every day. Sleep wins in my house, always and forever.

#1 Drink Your Coffee Hot

I know you’re rolling your eyes right now. I know how hard it is to finish a cup of coffee with littles running around, especially while it’s still hot. Reheat that cup, mama. Reheat it as many times as you need to. Make a fresh pot even. Drink your coffee hot. There is something comforting about a hot cup of coffee. Drinking lukewarm coffee makes you feel blah, and no one wants to start the day off felling blah. To level up, drink that morning happy bean juice from a special mug. I really like this one with a verse from the book of Proverbs. Whatever mug you use, let it be one that inspires you and motivates you.

#2 Get Dressed

I know. Pandemic life made daily pajamas socially acceptable. But think about how you feel when you put on real clothes versus your sweats. I know for me, I always have a little more pep in my step if I’ve gotten dressed for the day. I’m not saying get glammed up when you’re spending your day at home with a baby and toddler. My point is to make an effort. Sometimes I prefer a hoodie to a sweater. I really enjoy make up, so I wear it just about every day. You might be more of a moisturizer and mascara only girl, and that is okay. But spending ten minutes in the morning tending to yourself can really help you feel refreshed for your day.

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#3 Have a Special Afternoon Snack

The house is finally quiet, and the babies are napping. I know you have a never ending list of chores to get done before they wake up. But hear me on this, that never ending chore list will actually never end. There will always be something else to do. Take 30 minutes. Fix a favorite snack, you know, the snack you keep hidden from the kids in the back of the pantry or that random cabinet. Then, put on a show that doesn’t have J.J. or Mickey Mouse as a main character, and just relax. I promise the day will not fall apart while you take these 30 minutes for yourself. My favorite afternoon snack when my middle child was a baby was a glass of Prosecco and chocolate chips. Yep, it sure was. And while, of course, I’m not advocating for being irresponsible, and I really don’t like this wine mom culture that has become prevalent over the last couple of years – that glass of bubbly and chocolate made me feel fancy and fun when my days felt pretty mundane. My go to afternoon snack these days is a cup of black tea and (again) some sort of chocolate.

#4 Move Your Body

I will confess that exercise was not something I was very good at maintaining during the years when my kids were babies. However, having a fulfilling exercise routine now, it makes me wish that I had made my physical fitness more of a priority sooner. It’s one of my regrets of those early years. Mama, you are worth it. Even if you are taking five minutes at the end of the day to just stretch, it will help you to unwind and recharge. Now that the weather is turning, I really encourage you to get outside and move your body. Maybe that means going for a walk or playing with your kids in the backyard. What ever it is, work up a sweat every now and then. I promise you will be glad you did. And if you’re looking for great at home workouts, I really like Blogilates.

#5 Write It Down

Journaling has so many benefits. For me, I find journaling really helpful for processing life. It’s not something I consistently do, but whenever I am in a season of survival mode, journaling is what gets me through. Writing out all the things gets them out of your head and on to the paper instead. It helps you think and process those challenging times in a more objective manner. Journaling is also a wonderful way to keep track of your prayers and/or meditations. If you want to explore journaling from a Christian perspective, I love these Write the Word journals. I am currently working through the one on worship.

#6 End Your Day With a Hot Bath

I am convinced that people who say they are not “bath people” haven’t actually given daily baths a chance. If you know me in real life, you know that I deem my nightly bath essential to my mental health. I say that with all sincerity. Soaking in that magnificent hot water relaxes my body and allows the daily stressors to melt away. Sometimes I make it a fancy bath with bubbles and a candle. But most of the time it’s not. My husband and children know not to come near the bathroom door while I’m taking my bath. A quiet bath centers my introverted and often touched out self. Give it a chance. I even turn my husband into a bath person.

Often when we think of self care, we think of these grand excursions like spa day or girls’ trip. However, I have found self care to be more effective when you can do little things for yourself throughout the day. It’s also important to communicate with your person about what your needs are. Having a self care routine reminds yourself that you are worthy, lovely, and called to the season you’re in. That season might feel like thriving or it might feel like you’re barely surviving. Either way, I hope these self care tips help you feel loved, because you are!

If you’re looking for some extra pampering, check out these products.

Menu Planning Made Simple

Menu Planning Made Simple

Menu planning is one of those things you know you should be doing. It’s good for your health, finances, and family bonding around the kitchen table. But it can also be overwhelming and feel complicated. Here are my steps for straight forward menu planning that will make things simple, effective, and easy to stick to.

Pick a Day to Menu Plan

If you haven’t pick up on my style yet, or if you’re new around Intentionally Well (welcome!), know that I like a good routine. Therefore, my first tip is to pick a day of the week to plan meals for the following week. I prefer weekly meal planning, but you can also tailor these tips towards menu planning once a month. The day you choose should be the day before you would typically grocery shop. This allows you to take advantage of any sales going on at your store (full disclosure – I’m not a coupon clipping person). Weekly menu planning also allows you to incorporate lots of fresh produce into your meals, which has a shorter shelf life.

Check Your Weekly Schedule

Knowing your weekly schedule is so important. If your kids have sports or other activities two afternoons a week, then you might not want to plan a full made from scratch meal that night (our go to quick meal is breakfast for dinner). This is why having a planner where you can keep everything in one place is so essential to keeping things intentional in your life. I use this one. Flying by the seat of your pants is overrated, am I right?

Shop Your Pantry

This was a tip a friend shared with me years ago, and it is a game changer when trying to stick to a budget. Look at what’s in your pantry and refrigerator first. Can you make any meals with what you already have? Likely, the answer is yes. Shopping your pantry first will enable you to cycle through pantry staples on a consistent basis as well as cut down on food waste.

Check the Weather

I know. This step is kind of out of left field for you. Checking the weather for the week is a great way to bring just a touch more intentionality to your meals. For example, if it’s chilly outside, then it might be more appropriate to have a cozy soup for dinner instead of salads. You also don’t want to plan to grill hamburgers outside, only to be caught in a down pour.

Make It Themed

Assigning each day of the week a meal theme can make choosing recipes less overwhelming. For example, Monday: vegetarian, Tuesday: tacos, Wednesday: Pasta, and so on. I find using this loose schedule makes menu more streamlined and less mentally taxing. I know, in theory, menu planning shouldn’t be mentally taxing. But, you know it can be. Sometimes it’s just plain annoying to be in charge of what all your people are going to eat.

Developing a menu planning habit can be a game changer for you and your family. I hope these tips and tricks help you to start and keep at it. What are some of your favorite family meals? Let me know in the comments below. As always, share this post with your friends if you enjoyed it!

The Best Advice for Raising Well-Adjusted Children

The Best Advice for Raising Well-Adjusted Children

This post is by guest contributor Kristin Louis from Parenting with Kris

Parenting advice is everywhere these days, and shaping children into happy, well-adjusted members of society is a tough job. It’s easy to get caught up on particular facets of parenting, such as discipline, and lose sight of all the other ways you can raise children who thrive in school, work, and life. Whether your kids are toddlers, teens, or any age in between, check out the following resources for help raising children who are well-behaved, emotionally stable, and equipped with the skills they need for success.

Advice on The Importance of Routines

Routines help children feel grounded and in control. Set a schedule for your mornings, mealtimes, and bedtimes so your kids know what to expect.

12 Tips to Master Your Kids’ Morning Routine and Eliminate Stress by Nicole Spector

Best Ways to Help Children Fall Asleep at Nap Time

Creating a Night Routine for Your Family

Advice on Setting Boundaries

Establishing firm rules and boundaries—without sacrificing respect—can help your children learn to self-regulate their behavior.

How to Set Limits for Kids Without Harshness, Fear or Shame by Sarah MacLaughlin, LSW

Using Praise to Encourage Good Behaviors by Amy Morin, LCSW

Rules For Kids That Parents Should Follow by Sherry Parnell

Advice on How to Support Learning

As a parent, your actions have a significant influence on your children’s academic progress. There are plenty of ways to support learning at home!

Strategic Ways to Use YouTube in Your Homeschooling by Emily Sewell

7 Educational and Entertaining Activities for Young Kids

101 Reasons That Video Games Can Be Educational

Upgrade Your Internet for the Best Game-Playing Experience

Advice for Building Problem-Solving Skills

Raise confident, problem-solving kids by giving them the tools they need to figure things out on their own.

5 Reasons to Let Children Make Their Own Decisions by Ken Myers

Why You Should Let Your Child Fail: The Benefits of Natural Consequences by James Lehman, MSW

It’s common for parents to worry about whether they’re doing everything right. Just remember, there’s no such thing as a perfect parent! The most important thing is to be there for your children through every age and stage of development, offering gentle guidance and allowing your kids to take the reins once in a while. Do what you can to provide a happy and supportive home environment, and your kids are sure to thrive.

I hope you found this parenting advice round up helpful. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given since becoming a parent? What’s the worst? Let me know in the comments below. If you found this post helpful, share it with your friends!

Picture Books About Faith for Your Child’s Easter Basket

Picture Books About Faith for Your Child’s Easter Basket

Picture books about faith are such a great way to teach our kids about faith and the love of Jesus during the Easter season. I love including books in my children’s Easter baskets. Here are a few of our favorite engaging stories that are sure to spark wonderful conversations about our Lord. We love including these books into our homeschool day or as a bedtime story.

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I hope your family enjoys these picture books about faith as much as we do! I really find that exposing my children to Jesus through books fuels their understanding, curiosity, and love for the Lord in an exciting way. It is really incredible the questions children will come up with on their own after exposing our Christian faith to them through books. If your kids aren’t that in to books right now, have no fear. Go check out this post to spark a love of books in your child.

The Easiest Way to Start a Garden

The Easiest Way to Start a Garden

The easiest way to start a garden is to just jump right in and do it. Gardening is one of those things that feels really complicated and intimidating. It’s easy to get swept into the rabbit hole of soil composition, fertilizers, pest controls, and then quit before even starting. But friend, I am here to tell you that starting a garden is not complicated. You just need four ingredients. They are seeds, sun, water, and dirt. That’s it. It really is that simple.

#1 Seeds

The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you want a flower garden, vegetable garden, or both. If you want to grow vegetables, I still recommend planting a few colorful flowers to attract the pollinators. You can order seeds online from a place like Botanical Interests, or you can buy them from your local box hardware store. You will find lots of choices at both places, whether you’re looking for vegetables, flowers, organic, or conventional. It really doesn’t matter. It’s important to know when to plant your seeds. To determine this, you need to know your planting zone. All you have to do is google your city and planting zone. Zones are labeled by a number and letter. If you are on the edge between two planting zones (I live close to 5b and 6a), go by the dates for the colder zone (so 6a for me). There is nothing sadder than when your new baby plants freeze because you planted them in the ground too soon. I actually plan to start my seeds inside this year, and then will transfer them to the ground in the beginning of May.

#2 Sun

Almost every vegetable will need a considerable amount of day time sunlight to grow well. That seed packet you just bought – flip it over and read that back. That is where you will find exactly how much sun your plant needs. Knowing that you need access to a lot of light, it matters where you decide to place your garden. If your yard is mostly shaded, you can use large pots (or even buckets) in a sunny spot on your porch or edge of your driveway.

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#3 Water

When determining where to place your garden, you need to consider your water source. The easiest thing is to have your garden be close enough to your water hose, so you can easily use that. Once you get into the summer months, you will need to water your garden almost daily. If you live in a place with extreme heat, you will want to put a sprinkler on your garden for several hours if you go through a spell with no rain. I can attest that filling up a watering can and walking it to your vegetables multiple times each day get real old real fast. So yes, your plants need to have access to lots of sunlight, but they also need to be close to your water source.

#4 Dirt

Next, let’s talk about dirt. This is where I see a lot of new gardeners get overwhelmed. Dirt composition is a whole thing if you make it one. But you can have a healthy and thriving garden without knowing too much about what type dirt you have. Don’t overcomplicate it. If you are using containers, just pick up some bags garden soil (or maybe find someone with extra topsoil). If you are worried about the soil at your house, you can also use store bought soil and mix it in with what you already have. This is a great options for those in the south who’s yard is mostly that hard red clay dirt.

#5 Bonus Tips

Don’t forget about pest control. If you are using containers or have a raised bed garden, you won’t have to worry too much about rabbits. But if you think some furry critters will be interested in your veggies, then surround your garden with some type of fencing (I just use chicken wire). As far as bug control, your best resource are the employees at your local nursery. They have a wealth of knowledge about the pests in your area, and they will recommend effective measures to combat them.

Lastly, it’s important to note that starting a garden takes the most time and energy in the beginning. Once things are in the ground, pests are controlled, and you have a watering routine, the hard work is over. Then you get to reap the harvest of that work. You might have some bumps along the way, but takes the lessons from the garden all in stride. Have you ever had a garden? Do you plan to start one this year? Let me know in the comments below. If you’re looking for other spring themed activities, check out how I make a spring sensory box here. And as always, if you liked this post, please share it with your friends.

Fun Activities for Kids to Beat Winter Blues

Fun Activities for Kids to Beat Winter Blues

Here are some fun activities to beat the winter blues. Winter can be so difficult for kids and parents alike. And we are in the heart of the season as we speak. February is often the most difficult winter month. It’s definitely the coldest and dreariest. Here are some fun winter activities you can do to shake things up and fight the winter blues.

Get Messy

It’s time to let go and get out the paint and the glitter. That’s right; I said it. Get out the glitter. Pulling out the messy arts and crafts will feel special and exciting for your kids. My middle child made a rainbow tree FULL of glitter the other day. She was so so proud of her creation. Yes, there was a messy table to clean up, but seeing her joy made up for it. It also gave me an opportunity to teach her how to properly clean up messy crafts. This means that next time, she can be more independent with her activity. I find that the more independent my kids can be with clean up, the more likely I am to say yes to these things.

Epic Obstacle Course

Obstacle Courses are great activities to beat the winter blues, and there’s good reason for that. They are a lot of fun, and the provide a lot of gross motor movement in small spaces. But honestly, often kids will only do them for a short while. What if you elevated your obstacle course? Let it span multiple rooms in your house. Have you kids try to complete the course walking and crawling backwards. Set a timer to see how many times they can complete the course in a given time. Can the do it blindfolded? The possibilities are endless! To get the most bang for your buck (as in get the most pent up energy out), have your kids switch gross motor movements quickly. For example, go from crawling through a tunnel to hopping. To top off your epic obstacle course, have your kids do one last run, then surprise them with a favorite snack at the end.

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Bake All the Yummy Things

Baking with kids can be stress inducing. Same for me friend. But it is always a hit, and you get to eat something yummy at the end. It’s really a win for all when you look at it like that. One hack I found for making cooking with my kids less stressful for me is to cook with one child at a time. Instead of having them all three squishing in around the bowl, I divide up the tasks. For example, when making cookies one child gets to mix the wet ingredients, another child gets to combine the dry ingredients, and the last child gets to scoop out the dough onto the baking sheet. Baking this way is more manageable for me, which in turn makes me want to do it more often.

Go for a Walk

Yep. Get outside and go for a walk. I know it’s cold. I know it’s dreary. Go for a walk anyways. Layer up (tank top, long sleeve shirt, sweater, coat, hat) and spend at least fifteen minutes outside. I promise you it will help with the winter blues. There is something magical about that col crisp air that snaps you out of the brain fog. When you get back, warm up with some hot chocolate.

One of the hardest things for me, during this time of the year, is finding motivation to do the things. I hope these ideas encourage you to take simple but intentional action to fight the winter blues, not only for yourself but also your kids. If you are looking for ideas on how to utilize your indoor space in a more intentional way, check out my post about Living in Zones. What are you favorite winter activities? Let me know in the comments below, and as always, like and share this post if you enjoyed it.

It’s Time to Edit Our To Do List

It’s Time to Edit Our To Do List

We all need to edit our to do list this year. 2020 has been weird and hard and heartbreaking and all the things. There’s no way to beat around the bush or sugar coat it. The holidays are supposed to be filled with joy and glad tidings, but this year many of us are grieving, struggling financially, feeling burned out, or all of the above. I see you. I hear you. And I am here to encourage you.

Exhale

Take a couple of deep breaths, mama. When you exhale, let it go. Let go of your expectations of what this holiday season will be like. Let’s agree to leave some wiggle room in our schedules. Let’s agree to take it day by day. There. Does that take some of the pressure off? I hope it does. Speaking of plans, let’s take a look at our holiday to do lists. I’m not talking about the practical things that are non-negotiable. I’m talking about that holiday baking that you do every single year, the 17 Christmas movies are a must watch, and the five course dinner that you typically serve on Christmas day. Those things. The things that you might really enjoy but maybe won’t or shouldn’t happen this year.

Let Go

It is okay to not do all the things. It is ok to cross things off your holiday to do list because you don’t have the capacity to get every thing done. This isn’t a lesson just for 2020. I actually learned this truth last year. There wasn’t one specific thing that was going on in my 2019 life, but I was feeling SO spread thin by the beginning of December. A lot of little things added up, and I was just DONE before it even started. The holiday season felt like some gigantic mountain I was going to be forced to climb. I realized that’s not how I wanted to spend my time. I am worthy of enjoying the Christmas season just as much as my kids and the rest of my family. Therefore, I made the decision, and I crossed some big things off my list. IT WAS FREEING! I was able to enjoy the holiday season with my family without feeling like I was in servitude to them.

Focus on What Really Matters

This year has been really interesting. It has really made us focus on what really matters. What really matters to you? What fills your cup during this time? What brings your family joy? By crossing off the things that don’t really matter, we can make room for this things that do. I am excited to make room for is decorating gingerbread houses as a new family tradition. But here’s the kicker, because I’ve crossed some things off, I am planning on baking the gingerbread myself. This is something that I have wanted to do for years but haven’t been able to because of being distracted by other things. This year, what matters most to us is that our family feels peaceful and bonded. Every activity is put through that filter. If it doesn’t meet that basic criteria, then it’s crossed off the list. So, let’s all edit our to do list together this year, and enjoy the things that really matter. For more practical tips on having a stress free holiday season, you can read my post here.

What are you crossing off your list this year? Are you adding anything to it? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to like and share if you enjoyed this post. Happy Holidays!!

The Best 2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Kids 8 and Under

Here are my top picks for gifts for kids 8 and under that are not only budget friendly, but will also grow with your kids. This post contains some affiliate links, which helps support this space with no added cost to you. Also, feel free to check out my gift guide geared specifically towards children with ADHD. Happy shopping and happy holidays!

These blocks are so great and can be used by any age to make simple or complicated structures.

This customizable stuffed animal was such a favorite with each of my kids when they were young toddlers.

The perfect gift for your emerging authors and illustrators. Have your kids write and illustrate their own book, then send it off to be professionally made into a real hardcover book!

Have your little mermaid snuggle up in this cozy blanket all winter long.

Put on a show with this fun set of puppets.

Bilibos are an open-ended toy that can be used in so many fun ways. We also use our as “wiggle seats” during homeschooling.

These On the Go Craft Kits are perfect stocking stuffers! They are perfect for screen free entertainment in the car, if you’re traveling this holiday season.

My 6 year old received this face painting kit for her birthday, and it has been a favorite for all 3 of my kids. I love it because it washes off SO easily and doesn’t stain.

I cannot tell you enough how much my kids love these books. They are cute and sweet stories that actually teach our kids about the scientific method in a fun and engaging way.

This fun toddler scooter will be under the tree for my 3 year old this year! I love how it has two wheels in the front to help with balance. 

Slime, slime, and more slime. Need I say more? Seriously, though, I like how this kit contains ready made magnetic slime, which was showcased on Emily’s Wonder Lab.

Did you know triangle crayons help teach proper grip? These Jumbo Triangle Crayons are great for little hands.

Do you have a fashionista like I do? My 6 year old received this jewelry making kit last year, and she still plays with it at least once a week. 

My 8 year old has become very interested in origami over the last several months. I plan on getting her this set. I really like how the paper is double-sided. 

This fairy garden is growing in my kitchen this very moment. The kids had such a fun time creating it, and now we are watching the grass grow. They can hardly wait to string the included lights for a special and unique night light. 

There’s a reason Tinker Toys are such a classic.

I’m not the crafty mom, and that is why I love all in one craft kits. Look at how stinkin’ cute this robot craft kit is!

Get your kids outside and moving without the clean up of Nerf guns with this Laser X laser tagging game.

Who doesn’t want to cuddle up with Baby Yoda from Mandalorian on Disney +. This 8″ plush Yoda is perfect for your little Star Wars fan.

Harry Potter is as popular now as it was ever. This Room of Requirement LEGO Set is so fun but not overly complicated to assemble.

There you go! I hope you found some fun things your kids will love. A special thanks to my dear friend, Meredith, for her contribution to this gift guide.

Living in Zones

Living in Zones

I created zones for my kids and myself in our home. I felt like there was zero order to my home. Do you ever feel like that? Like there are people and things all over your house all the time? This is so common, especially when you have kids. It is especially so when you are homeschooling, because you are using your house each and every day. Toys migrate from the play room to the living room to the bedroom to even the bath tub. By the end of summer, I’d had enough of this mess, literally and figuratively.

What Do I Mean?

What do I mean by zones? I forget where I first heard of turning your space into zones, but I was reminded of the idea by Erin from Cotton Stem. The idea of creating zones means using your space intentionally to provide a change of scenery, spark creativity, or just a place to go that has a purpose. For example, that random corner in your kitchen that’s kind of dead space – let’s turn it into something useful!

Book Nook Zone

made a little book corner in her kids’ bedroom. I thought, “Wow, I can do that!”. And I did. I went around my house and grabbed my son’s Anywhere Chair, a cozy blanket my kids love, an extra end table we randomly had, the basket of books which was not getting read in our playroom, and voila! We had our own reading corner in the upstairs loft. We named it the Book Nook, and it is now where my big kids do their independent reading each day. They LOVE it, and they are actually reading the forgotten books that were formerly in the playroom.

Bonus School Space Zone

With the success of the Book Nook, I looked for other ways to implement more zones. We have a large loft area upstairs, and it wasn’t being utilized well. The book nook was in one corner of the room, but I saw the opportunity to make the loft even more purposeful. I moved a desk that was in my daughter’s room (it was only storing doll clothes) to the loft. I added a lamp and a globe to the desk. BOOM! Now we have a zone for school work other than our homeschool room. We use this when someone needs to move to a quiet space. Because the kids take online piano lessons, I moved our keyboard to the same wall as the desk to be included in the school zone.

TV and Video Game Zone

I positioned the TV and Nugget couch to the next area in the loft to create a “lounging zone”. The TV cabinet also stores our LEGOs, so these are out of the kid’s bedrooms. This little TV zone get a lot of use on the weekends when my kids watch more shows and enjoy playing the Wii. It’s a small area. It’s literally just the Nugget and the TV, but the special thing about creating zones is you don’t have to have a lot of space to make something special.

Gross Motor Zone

Finally, the last zone I created in our loft is the “gross motor” zone. This is the biggest zone. I have a toddler trampoline in a corner and a sensory swing to hang from the ceiling. The Nugget Couch can easily be pulled over to make an obstacle course, slide, or whatever the kids want to create. Lastly, I added the little toddler slide from the backyard. I wanted an area where kids could play rough and get their wiggles out. We live in the Midwest, and it will soon be too cold to play outside. Having this play space is essential, and it’s already being used.

Now It’s Your Turn

I know not everyone has a large unused loft in their home. However, the idea behind creating zones is using the little corners and nooks you do have. Turn them into a special place for your kids to go. Maybe it’s setting aside the end of your kitchen table and leaving out crafting supplies, or trays and tubs of playdough that the kids can access on their own. Maybe it’s taking that kids table that isn’t really getting used anymore and turning it into a board game table. Maybe you need a “mom zone” to keep your calendar, file mail, and meal plan. I created my “mom zone” in our kitchen. It is so nice to have all my things in one place. Assess what’s not working or take a space that isn’t being used efficiently, then let your imagination flourish. Take a look around and share what you come up with!

Below are a few links to some things that we have in our zones, but don’t feel like you have to buy a bunch of stuff. Shop your house first, then see where you need to fill in the blanks.

Indoor Sensory Swing:

Toddler Trampoline:

Cozy chair for your own Book Nook:

Toddler Slide: