Any parent will tell you that toys, books and gear have a way of taking over the home, and that there’s a constant battle to find clutter-busting solutions.
Small and versatile, this puzzle playhouse by Modern Playhouse was created by industrial designer Svend Nielsen with design-savvy, eco-conscious parents in mind. Made from sustainably-sourced natural maple wood, the playhouse assembles (or disassembles) in less than 10 minutes without any tools, so you can set it up for the day and store it away when kids are on to something else.
And since kids have a style their own, Modern Playhouse offers a couple of other models. Though they won’t disassemble quite as quickly as the Puzzle Playhouse, their Circle Playhouse was a finalist for design in the Play category at the 2011 Dwell Modern World awards.
Though they’re built to last for generations, these well-designed playhouses aren’t for everyone’s budget. Modern Playhouse also offers accessories like playhouse furniture sets and sustainable felt storage options.
+ Puzzle Playhouse from Modern Playhouse, $650
LiEr of Ikat Bag is a crafter with an impressive portfolio. This mom of three girls puts her imagination and talent to good use by creating for them awesome role playing games. I am still in awe with her clever airport customs game idea that I spotted earlier today on Ohdeedoh. You have to admire the details of her cardboard suitcases.
Going back to the grocery stores, you can use two of her designs to make your own. First, have a look at her cardboard grocery store. It took her 3 to 4 hours to make it. She made a series of shelves, including a lower cabinet with drawers that goes inside the shop. I love, love it!
For the ones who like to sew, do not miss her blue fabric candy shop. You could make a few modifications to turn it into a take-out restaurant.
I bookmarked Ikat Bag since I am sure that I will share with you more of her playful creations.
+ cardboard luggage and airport customs game by Ikat Bag
+ cardboard grocery shop
+ little blue house (candy shop)
The Dutch designer and dad Floris Hovers presented Flessenboot at this year Milan Furniture Fair. It is a sailboat toy kit that comes with a colored sail, mast and rudder. You supply the empty shampoo bottle on which you will strap the other elements.
Hovers got the idea while watching his daughters play with bottles in the bath and the memory of a toy boat he created on the spot six or seven years ago on a camping trip to entertain little boys playing by a river. I got the impression that you can purchase the kit directly from him but you are better to ask a friend fluent in Dutch to check his Web site.
+ Flessenboot by Floris Hovers
+ via Moco Loco
I was surprised when I read this article from The New York Times by the spread of high-end, custom playhouse makers. I would have never imagined building a playhouse with air conditioning, a kitchen with running water and a 32-inch flat TV on the second floor. The article clearly depicts the world of the rich and super rich niche.
But more than that, the article made me realized that the playhouse market is not only parents but also for grandparents who wish to provide their grandchildren with the best entertainment. For example, it makes perfect sense for a family gathering place on a lake. And the best thing is that the family members can pitch in (money and/or labor) to build a fun play zone for the kids.
Modern Style Playhouses
Personally, I would pick a modern style for my son like the ones made by Smart Playhouse. I like the clean, airy lines of the Illinois model with its eight large windows.
The Hobikken playhouse model is available in three sizes: mini, junior and maxi. It becomes a playroom outside your home.
+ Child’s Play, Grown-Up Cash from The New York Times
+ Illinois model from Smart Playhouse $12,485, including interior lighting
+ Hobikken playhouse by Smart Playhouse
If you have the space, a sandbox is wonderful backyard addition that can keep kids occupied for hours. It provides an instantly-accessible outdoor space for kids to build and create.
The builders of this DIY version – Carla and Jason of Small + Friendly – definitely thought outside the sandbox with the double-duty lid/deck design, and paid special attention to make it eco-friendly and safe for their son.
Not only is it built with salvaged wood, the hinged cover helps keep the sand free of environmental waste (like leaves and grass clippings). They also sealed the wood with low-VOC sealant so the mini deck is safe to play on.
What kid-friendly features would you like to add to your backyard?
+ Deluxe DIY Sandbox on Small + Friendly (via Oh Dee Doh)
There are just a few short weeks left until the final school bell of the year. And you know what that means: time to start planning activities to stave off seasonal whines of “I’m bored!” in between costly day trip adventures and weekend getaways.
Think of this simple yet effective DIY as an event planner in a box. Choose a (preferably portable) container like this vintage lunch box and get the whole family to fill it with cool ideas to keep the dog days of summer from becoming a hot mess of bickering and boredom.
Oh and the jar of candy? That’s just to sweeten the deal.
Get full DIY instructions plus free printables over at Positively Splendid.
+ All photos from from Positively Splendid
This is a wonderful project to do with your kids or to decorate a nursery. The design is by Joel Henriques of MadeByJoel.com. You can learn how to make your own by watching the tutorial video produced by Etsy.
You could use the template to sew the birds or make them with felt if you prefer that to paper birds.
+ How-Tuesday: Kid-Friendly Bird Mobile
Storing colored pencils in a tube seems more cool. It is way easier to put back a pencil than the traditional row storage. At that price, you can afford to stock a few tubes for when you host a kids party or play date. This way, the kids can get their hands on their favorite colors without a fight.
+ Mini Japanese Colored Pencils $4.95 USD at The Gray Goose
This is a creation by toy designer John Smth (alias Matteo Oliverio) for the Ma Toy Design course in Preston (UK). Therefore, A Friend from Space cushion is not in stores but I wish it was. I am sure that when my husband sees that he will want one for our soon-to-be-born son. It’s simply adorable.
This reversible playful cushion displays a friendly spaceman on one side and a spaceship on the one side. The illustrations are from Amelie Labarthe.
+ A Friend from Space cushion by John Smth
+ via Yanko Design
Drawing is a favorite activity amongst kids. And you can encourage even more their creativity by providing your kids with a cute and practical art table. One of the big advantages is lots of space to store their art and craft materials.
If you are looking for more features than the very affordable Ikea’s MÅLA easel, look at these options. First, the art activity desk features a front easel that folds flat to reveal more storage areas and a desktop.
What is great with the red Art Table and Chair set is that it can be used with or without a paper roll caddy. You could add a chair and invite a friend for a tea party.
With a 47″ x 30″ tabletop, the Deluxe Art Center can fit comfortably more kids. It is almost like a grown-up craft space scaled back for kids.
+ MÅLA easel $19.99 CAD / $14.99 USD
+ Art activity desk $280 USD
+ Art Table and Chair set $130 USD
+ Deluxe Art Center $430 USD
I already introduced the awesome Kidz Box by Modern-twist last summer. They collaborated with Dwell Studio to bring three more illustrations to their collection. These ones are more tailored for the little ones. I want to get the Garden Bird for my niece because she loves pink.
The Animal Blocks will be good for a toddler. While the Car Transportation will occupy boys and girls at the restaurant. You can even bring a couple of Hot Wheels cars to drive on the road. I had a huge collection of Hot Wheels as a kid. I passed many hours designing roads and towns on the sand just to be able to drive my cars around my creation.
If you buy the new DwellStudio Kidz Box, know that Modern-twist is running a contest right now. Upload a photo of the finished masterpiece to the Modern-twist Facebook Fan Page wall before January 31st, 2011. By participating, you’ll be entered to win a $150 credit on Modern-twist.com.
+ Modern-twist Kidz Gift/Storage Box: DwellStudio $30 USD