Browsing Tag

playful

FAMILY GAMES and Toys

I Want: DIY Play Kitchen for a Boy

play kitchen for a boy

My husband can vouch how much I am dreaming about a play kitchen for our son. Most play kitchens on the market are too girly or won’t nicely fit in our home design. Which is why I want to create my own. I found my starting point for inspiration.

Ethan’s mom Becky designed a fabulous play kitchen for his little boy. Her DIY play kitchen is full on details and realistic functionalities. A magnet keeps the oven door closed while a motion sensor light turns on when the door is opened. Awesome! Continue Reading

FAMILY GAMES and Toys

Kids Can Make their Toys Do Things with ATOMS Building Blocks

atoms express toys Michael Rosenblatt

Technology seems to be a recurring theme today. This time, I like to talk a cool project that was funded via Kickstarter. ATOMS Express  Toys is a new electronics construction set that enable kids to make all sorts of cool stuff within 5 minutes of taking ATOMS out of the box. As a parent, I prefer activities that help develop creative ideas and enable children to learn as they play.  The ATOMS “plug and play” smart blocks are designed to do that. Continue Reading

FAMILY GAMES and Toys

Qubis Haus: from a coffee table to a dollhouse

qubis haus used a coffee table

qubis haus from dollhouse to coffee table
Qubis Haus by Amy Whitworth £400 (approx. $650 USD as we speak) at Southbank Centre.

One thing about young kid toys is that they tend to overtake your living room. Parents often wonder where to hide them when their kids doesn’t play with them.  Amy Whitworth addresses this issue with her Qubis Haus.  She brought dual purpose furniture to a new height by designing a coffee table that transforms into a dollhouse with the simple addition of sliding panels made from wood and perspex. As a bonus, you or your kids can update the space layout by changing where the sliding panels go. Amy Whitworth won Boost 2012, a mentoring and development program organized by Southbank Centre’s design shop, with that design.

magnetic oak furniture set for qubis haus
Qubis Bedroom Set £35 by Amy Whitworth Design.

Since no dollhouse would be complete without furniture, Amy Whitworth created three furniture sets: a bedroom set, a living room set and a dining room set. Made of magnetic oak wood, you assemble the furniture using the wooden blocks in each set. Fabric accessories further decorate the rooms. For example, the dining room set contains 1 table, 4 chairs, 1 side board, 1 lamp, 3 sets of table legs, 1 plant pot, spare blocks for creating, 1 table cloth, 1 rug, and 1 pouf. I like the fact that it promotes creativity.

qubis haus used a coffee table

Qubis Haus seems pricey if you look at it from a dollhouse viewpoint. You can take comfort in the idea that it is more than a dollhouse and that it has a second life after your kids stopped playing with a dollhouse. Personally, I prefer the coffee table with one or two acrylic sheets. If it was in my living room, I would use the shelves to display way more than miniature mid-century icon furniture.

FAMILY GAMES and Toys

Zack’s New Cardboard Playhouse

cardboard playhouse

my son playing in his indoor playhouse

You know that you have a great toy when you see smiles on your kid’s face. Zack is at an age where kids are constantly on the move. He likes to get in and out of the doors of his new playhouse, sit for a moment, look by the many windows, decorate the interior with furniture. Today, we coloured some walls and we played peek-a-boo while he was inside the playhouse. He laughed so loud! Like one credit card company would say, these moments are priceless!

cardboard playhouse
sourcing: My Pretty Playhouse $34.99 at Cascades

My Impressions as a Parent

My Pretty Playhouse is made in Canada of 100% recycled cardboard recovered in Canada and in the United States. The playhouse comes flat in a box. Make sure to keep the packaging. You can reuse it to store the pieces when you don’t use the playhouse.

The assembly went smoothly. The instructions say that it requires two persons for assembly  It’s true that having an extra pair of hands is helpful. If you are alone, my guess is that you could be able to use a corner wall as a support for assembling the two wall sections; that is the only time where being two persons is handy. My husband and I did it in 5 minutes. Zack was so excited to see the playhouse that he was always in our way.

As many urban parents with young children, our play room is a dedicated area in our living room. I like the fact that the playhouse is not too big. A few kids will have no problem to sit inside. I sit with him inside the house and there is a little bit of space left.

pretend play

You could win your Pretty Playhouse by entering before Monday, October 22nd, 2012 noon.

Disclosure: Cascades gave me the cardboard playhouse for me to test. I shared my experience with the playhouse because my son truly enjoyed it. 

FAMILY GAMES and Toys

Kim Loves: Permafrost Wooden Toys

permafrost wooden toys for the nordic identity exhibition

permafrost wooden toys for the nordic identity exhibition
photography by Johan Holmquist

These toys caught my eye the moment I spotted them at MoCo Loco. I love the shapes and how you can assemble the various elements of this industrial platform. The colours even matched my son’s bedroom. I wish that I could buy these superbly modern wooden toys for my little boy.

I also wish that they were more toys like these on the market. Young kids need to be surrounded with beautifully designed, eye-pleasing products. I strongly believe that good design should be a part of their education.

permafrost wooden toys

They are the contribution that Norwegian design studio Permafrost for the New Nordic – Architecture and Identity exhibition at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Danemark. The exhibition explores if they is still a Nordic identity today. Learn more about this fabulous project on Permafrost blog.

FAMILY KIDS rooms

DIY Kid’s Climbing Wall

diy climbing wall kids indoor

diy climbing wall kids indoor

If cabin fever has your kids climbing the walls, this cool DIY might be just what they need to make it through another six weeks of winter.

Nikkala at the Crafting Chicks embraced her son’s climbing instinct by building an indoor rock climbing wall for their small playroom. All it takes is a sheet of plywood, colorful climbing holds and basic tools to make this afternoon project.

Best of all, the holds can be rearranged to keep things interesting (and challenging) for kids.

Get complete instructions on the Crafting Chicks blog.

SOURCING:
+ DIY Kids Climbing Wall Instructions
+ Climbing Holds, Atomik Climbing Holds, from $19.99 (pack of 10)
+ Via Apartment Therapy

FAMILY KIDS rooms

The Puzzle House by Modern Playhouse

puzzle playhouse

puzzle playhouse

Modern Playhouse will add this November a new model to their collection of wood playhouses. A cool feature is that the maple plywood playhouse will require no tools for assembly. Being sensible to the fact that many urban parents (like me) simply do not have the space to keep a playhouse in permanence, the emerging industrial designer Svend Nielsen designed the Puzzle House to be set up for a day of play. When kids are ready to go to bed, it can be stored under the bed or inside a closet.

Furniture and a puppet theater curtain set will be launched before the Holidays. I am looking forward to see it all.

SOURCING:
+ Puzzle House by Modern Playhouse – Price to be released

FAMILY GAMES and Toys

Mini Japanese Colored Pencils

Mini-Japanese Colored Pencils

Mini-Japanese Colored Pencils

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.

SOURCING:
+ Mini Japanese Colored Pencils $4.95 USD at The Gray Goose

FAMILY KIDS rooms

Baby-sized Mousehole for a Playroom

child's fort with a mousehole

playroom for babies and toddlers

I wish we had enough space in our home to have a playroom just to make our own. I saw it on Dear Genevieve. She used the bottom of a bookcase – built on a closet – to make a child’s fort with an entrance shaped as a mousehole. This is brilliant and fun. I can’t imagine a toddler that will not be thrilled by this. But in our case, our son-to-be would have to share it with our two cats.

toddler child's fort with a mousehole entrance

If you want to know more about this project, the Hagop and Claudia’s Playroom episode will air 4 more times this week on HGTV Canada.

FAMILY GAMES and Toys

Modern Playhouse Brings a Cool Factor to a Toy

wedge house by modern playhouse

wedge house by modern playhouse

I showed you cardboard play houses before, but what if you want a bigger, durable play house? This is what Modern Playhouse is doing. The concept is from Gitane Royce, a construction professional and mother to a three year-old. Made of locally-sourced recycled materials or plywood, her modern style play houses are suitable for an indoor or outdoor usage.

furniture for your modern play house

Two Modern Styles

Their play houses look so much more stylish than the plastic play houses you typically find at toy stores. But with a price tag starting at $1250, you expect that. The play houses are available in two designs. The square Wedge house and the Circle house, which was inspired by Scandinavian fishing cottages. I like the look of the different openings on the walls. The concept doesn’t stop with the play houses. You can decorate their play houses with furniture and pillows. Your kids could host a tea party, play board games or do their art projects sitting at a table with two detached benches.

modern playhouse models

Some assembly is required. They say online that the assembly takes about half a hour and require two persons.  All play house and furniture orders placed during their Pre-sale event (Aug. 15th to Aug. 31st) receive a 20% discount.

SOURCING:
+ Modern Playhouse
+ Wedge Playhouse $1250 USD – with Furniture $1425
+ Circle Playhouse $1450 USD – with Furniture $1625