Do you ever feel like there are people and things all over your house all the time? I think this is so common, especially when you have kids. It’s exasperated when you are homeschooling, therefore actually 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. I decided to create zones for my kids and myself in our home.
I forget where I first heard of turning your space into zones, but I was re-inspired when Erin from Cotton Stem (@cottonstem) 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 formerly in the playroom.
With the success of the Book Nook, I started looking for other ways to implement zones to bring some order and use spaces more effectively. We have a large loft area upstairs that wasn’t really being utilized. I decided to take this space that now had the book corner and divide it into more zones. I moved a desk that was in my daughter’s room (it was only storing doll clothes) to the loft. I found a lamp and a globe. BOOM! A zone for school work during the day, when someone needs to move to a quiet space. I moved our keyboard to the same wall as the desk to be included in the “school zone,” since the kids take online piano lessons.
Next, I placed the TV and foam cushion couch together to create a “lounging zone”. The TV cabinet now stores our LEGOs, so these are out of the kid’s bedrooms. The TV actually doesn’t get watched much, but the foam cushion couch is used a lot in the next zone. It is this cool thing that comes in multiple pieces. You can have it together as a couch, or you can take it apart and create all kids of things. Forts and obstacle courses are favorites for my kids (nuggetcomfort.com).
That leads me to the last zone I created in our loft. The “gross motor” zone. This is the biggest zone. I have a toddler trampoline in a corner that I was able to get secondhand. I bought a sensory swing to hang from the ceiling, and then the Nugget couch is right there to be pulled over and turned into something new. I also added the little toddler slide from the backyard. It was important to have a gross motor zone where the kids can play rough and get their wiggles out. We live in the Midwest, and the days are coming when it will be too cold to play outside. Our typical indoor playgrounds are closed because of the pandemic. Having this play space is essential, and it’s already getting used.
I know not everyone has a large unused loft in their home. But the idea behind creating zones is to use the little corners and nooks you do have, and 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 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, and 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 and let your imagination flourish. Take a look around and share what you come up with!
Below are 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.
Toddler Slide: https://amzn.to/308IO1h
Indoor Sensory Swing: https://amzn.to/3mX3jaT
Toddler Trampoline: https://amzn.to/2G88owz
Toddler Chair: https://amzn.to/30gEcX0
Counter/Desk Organizer: https://amzn.to/3cyXN9M