When we moved into our 1980 house a few years ago, there was a fabulous wet bar, complete with mirrored backsplash with a marble effect, a ‘leather look’ bar, and wrought iron galore. It was horrible, and just served as a place to hide boxes that we hadn’t unpacked. There is no before picture, trust me, it was awful.

We had to decide what to do with it….I originally thought I’d expand the next door laundry room, but turns out this nook contains the only window for the entire front of the house. Our dark cave of a house really needs that itty bitty amount of light, so that plan was out. Next idea was a sewing area, but that got moved to another area instead (post to come on that one). So last idea won, a kid zone. We started out just clearing out the space, cabinets, bar, fluorescent light, tile. It was a giant mess.

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After hubby got it all cleaned up, he tiled and started on some cabinetry (Maybe I can get him to share some woodworking tips one day….). We decided to go with shallow bookshelves to not block too much light from the window, but deep enough for toys and books. I added a faux roman shade to finish off the window (we never really need to close this off since it looks out into a courtyard. You cant see in from outside without standing in a planter). Underneath the window, a bench seat just seemed like an obvious choice (I made a zippered box cushion for on top….it is not perfect…). It has drawers for some more storage (and capped off plumbing behind). Hubby put in recessed lights instead of the old fluorescent fixture, and it was looking pretty great.

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About the time he finished, I decided we should try homeschooling the little man. It would become our school nook, not just a play zone. (I went with the Letter of the Week curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler for our ‘3 year old pre-k’)

I added a cork board to hold a calendar. Below that, I had hubby attach some clothespins to a board and paint it white to make an art display area.

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On the opposite wall, I put a giant coconut tree to add letters to as we learn them, a la Chikka Chikka Boom Boom. I painted an old frame a fun color, added some scrap fabric in, and it became a place for our weekly memory verse (I just write it on with dry erase or a window marker). Below that, I used a double curtain rod (from Ikea) and some fabric to make a book shelf for theme books for the week.

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I have Dex pick out books for the shelf based on what letter we are talking about that week. Here’s the process….

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(the cast offs got re-shelved at the end, thankfully)

On the shelves, I keep a lot of books of course, as well as some learning toys that are easy to grab to do activities with, or to give Charlotte to keep her hands busy while Dexter is doing something else.

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Hubby also built a rack to hold some trays (from Target) to organize the activities we are doing that day (I fill the boxes at night with whatever he needs, like scissors, glue and a cut and paste page, or counting bears with number cards. It’s nice to have all the materials out and ready to go, and he loves being able to make decisions about what he is going to do first). Dexter can just grab a box and it has all the materials he needs to work. I also keep the binder with his work for the week, a binder to hold past work, the calendar pieces (number and weather cards) and some supplies like pencils, glue sticks, and erasers. Oh, and a flag to practice the Pledge of Allegiance.

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The locked cabinets hold things like markers, crayons, rubber bands, paperclips, and handbells.

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The drawers contain most of our learning activities, like counting bears, color cubes, pattern blocks, and magnet letters.

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This is definitely one of the kids favorite places to be, and they often just take up residence there all day taking out one activity at a time. Cleaning the space up is usually just as fun for them as doing whatever work they take on. I think because I like to have everything so organized, they like sorting it out into where it belongs. We are already planning for this upcoming school year, so stay tuned for more on that šŸ™‚

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Anyone else have a school room? How do you organize your craft supplies for the littles?

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