a new nook for natalie

(Alliterative win!)
As I’m sure you other parents of toddlers can attest, making room for all of your child’s “stuff” is not always easy.  We have a smallish 2-bedroom house without a lot of extra space for miscellaneous plastic, so we have to get kind of creative in the ways we carve out specific play areas for Natalie.  The whole house is pretty much just one big playroom to her, but we have tried to designate some nooks for imaginative play that are just for her.  At some point during this latest sleepless haze of ear infections & vomiting, I took a little time to update a corner of our kitchen to make it into more of a mini-kitchen for the budgie.
It was relatively easy, since we had all of the stuff I needed already on-hand.  My mom had picked up a little shelving unit that needed a new dowel and a coat of paint a while ago, which I finally got around to cleaning up and filling with Natalie’s play food.  It slid just perfectly up against her wooden play kitchen set, and finally gave a home to all of those random plastic tomatoes and wooden fish that have been strewn about the house since Christmas.

I wanted to give the corner the feeling of a “real” kitchen, so I filled four white picture frames with blue paper and lined them up to make a pseudo-window, with a little curtain above.  Natalie’s window crayons were just right for drawing a sunny sky & some flowers to give her a view as she cooks.

I didn’t get any pictures of them, but I also painted the ends of our cupboards with chalkboard paint to expand Natalie’s kitchen playspace even more.  We spend a lot of time in our tiny kitchen, so it has been important to us that Natalie have safe and creative ways to play in that room while we’re chopping vegetables and stirring things on the stovetop.
 
As I continue updating other parts of Natalie’s play areas, I’ll keep sharing our progress.  What ways have you changed your home to accomodate little family members?  Any suggestions for fitting play areas into small spaces?
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