Playroom refresh + indoor toddler fun

We used some of our time off over the holidays to tackle our extra bedroom and convert it into a brighter space that works better for living with two kids in a 1.5-story, nearly 100-year-old home.

I didn’t think to snap “before” photos, so use your imagination. The guest room was formerly painted a dark indigo with a queen bed, chair and cedar chest taking up the majority of the space, and a Blues Brothers poster on the wall from Joe’s bachelor days. Here it is now:


The art on the west wall is a piece by Joe’s Uncle Mike LaVelle that we received as a wedding gift. It gives me a happy, peaceful feeling and Eileen loves staring at it.

To turn the space into a playroom/guestroom, we painted the walls Prairie Sky by Behr and swapped out the queen for an IKEA Hemnes daybed that expands into a king for when we have company, and conveniently hides a traffic-jam full of plastic vehicles as well as bedding.


(We donated our queen to the USCRI refugee resettlement program. Learn more about that here.) Joe updated the ceiling fan with more contemporary glass sconces and a coat of white spray paint. We added toy storage on either side of the bed, and brought in the easel and little desk and chair.


On the east wall, we hung the chicken wire bulletin board Joe made for me awhile back. I think it’s perfect for tacking up birth announcements and kid art. And on the north wall, we hung the embroidered alphabet blanket my Aunt Mary Lee made for Eileen. Her stitching is so impressive!


I unearthed and hung curtains I sewed for our upstairs that we had swapped out awhile ago, and the (slightly uneven thanks to an unfortunate trip in the dryer) sheers were already in the room. Now we’re just missing a rug and some throw pillows, which I’ll probably D.I.Y. later, maybe once I get my hands on some Roam collection fabric.

We’re definitely loving the extra room to snuggle and play.


Speaking of, I’ve included a few of our favorite indoor activities lately after the jump…

Emmett’s Aunt Ellen got him the most genius sensory/fine motor activity for Christmas: A pair of handy scoopers and packages of pom-poms, and a container of water beads. He spent forever moving pom-poms from container to container. At first they were fruits and the next day they were fish. Whatever his creative mind comes up with.


Emmett will stand at the sink with water, a few measuring cups, metal teapot and strainer until his fingers prune up. I had to peel him away when we added the water beads.

We got the family game “Feed the Woozle” for Christmas, and it was fun to play together.


You set up this cardboard monster with a hole in its mouth and carefully walk over cardboard discs with funny-yucky “foods” on them (fried sock, baseball sandwich, liverwurst Popsicle, etc.) on a big spoon to work on gross motor skills. There’s a die and a spinner involved that prompts players to make it harder by doing the bunny hop, walking backwards, etc., but you could probably set up a similar game using beer caps, a wooden spoon and a cardboard box if you wanted to go low-budget.

Lastly, because we live in a city of skywalks, we packed up the Strider balance bike and let Emmett go for an indoor ride while we pushed Eileen in a stroller.


I’m sure there’s probably some rule about bringing bikes into the skywalk, but he’s so little that all of the older folks who were getting their exercise just smiled at him. It was a great way to get all of his energy out, and the inclines made for some fun gliding.

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Filed under At home, Family Fun, House projects

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