Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Turn a Bed into a Playscape

This is the biggest project Ladybug Girl and I have undertaken together.  A week of forced bed rest can make one think of crazy ideas that actually work!  

Back in January, I was down for a week of bronchitis and then another week of pneumonia.  Ladybug Girl and her daddy moved to her room to sleep - which left this big blank space beside me to stare at day after day:

This extended sleeping arrangement jumpstarted the big move to an independent bedroom for Ladybug Girl.

I began to get this idea to make use of all that "unused" space hidden under the bed cushion for a play table.  It's the kid in me : I love diorama displays in museums and toy shops.

... like this Lego diorama of Bolinao town in the Philippines (at Legoland)

... or this farm table in Ark Avilon Zoo.

I figured the best way to maximize the play would be to make different kinds of 'landscapes'.  I used masking tape to mark each area, and we did one new habitat per day.

We spent 20 minutes a day doing our project.  I was highly contagious but she still had separation anxiety then (and I missed her too), so I wore a mask and was very careful not to cough near her.   Twenty minutes was all I could do before getting tired.

Set the timer... Mix some plain old poster paint ... And sponge it on.

Can you tell what landscape we made?

The next day:
We mixed some sandy brown for the beach.

The day after, we did the snow landscape:
I handed her a circle-shaped sponge that I had saved from some packaging before and left her to do some snow art.  I called it a ...er... snow fort?

I asked her what other landscape areas we needed, and she said "rock".  
So that's what this black blob beside the beach is.

On our last day we did a lake:
We talked about what kind of animals live in each habitat we were painting.

And finally a grassy plain:
"a plain is a large grass space with no trees!", declared Ladybug Girl.
Credit goes to Super Why videos on the iPad.  

By this time she was getting bored and left me to turn her bathroom into a play space.  I finished up while she was away and we celebrated with our "dance of joy".

Basically we just jump up and down and scream "yay".  She did the jumping for me this time.

This stayed for a few days until I got well and was able to coat the whole thing with some polyurethane sealant, which you can get at the hardware store.
The sealant keeps the colors from staining the underside of the cushion.
A safety tip: if you see some wood splintering (like I did), go over it lightly with some sandpaper before painting.

Once it was dry and cured for two days, we moved it to her playroom and set it up to celebrate Ladybug Girl's new big girl room.

And I had just as much fun setting up the playscape!
We brought out all of the Strawberry Shortcake toys we had collected...
... and we made Berry Bitty City!

Worth mentioning: we had collected the toys when Ladybug Girl was two and half years old, when nearly all the Strawberry Shortcake toys went on 50% off sale to be discontinued.  But frankly, I went too toy-crazy when she turned old enough to play.  The playroom used to have a permanent playscape spot like this:

Which was too much clutter for the amount of play it got anyway.

After a mini-epiphany from reading an article about how physical clutter becomes mental clutter in kids, I swept everything into two bins that we only take out during special occasions like when visitors come over.

I still can't bring myself to part with the whole thing though.  I'm hanging on until I get more return on investment.  LOL.

So we spent a Saturday morning getting lost in pretend stories.

Or using the landscape as a racing space.  Racing is her new thing.

And now we have an extra play space in her room!  There are so many possibilities for other themes: like a racetrack for boys... or hey, planets in space for an Angry Birds Space theme?  Ok, Ladybug Girl would love that too.  How about painting it with chalkboard for the most versatility?

This was probably my most productive bed rest ever.  I think I enjoyed being sick just a little too much.


  1. I was so charmed by your post. I felt like I was a special guest in your home, privy to the enchanted world that only lets in imaginative children.

    When I was nine, my preschool-age niece and I spent many hours making up stories and acting them out, complete with props. She grew up to be a Random House-published novelist. I can only imagine the creative life ahead for Ladybug Girl!

    Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting on the post, "Six reasons why my blog doesn't give advice." Glad to have met you in bloggyworld!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing! It's so funny, my husband and I fantasize our daughter growing up to be like your niece. More inspiration to keep going.


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