Peek Inside a Playroom: Elise

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Do you have that friend that you learn a lot from just by watching them parent? The one who is calm, cool and collected in the face of girl drama (she has 3), is always put together, is good at multitasking, is prepared with a capital P, and makes it seem like being outnumbered is totally doable? Did I mention she also runs half marathons, has a resume consulting business, and plans awesome family adventures? Yes, Elise is one of those friends who is inspiring in her ability to accomplish her goals.

Please welcome her and her darling playroom!

Name: Elise
Location: Salt Lake City, UT

How many kids do you have and what are their ages?

I have three kids. All girls. Madeline (6), Olivia (4), and Lauren (2).

What elements work best in your playroom?

I love all of the baskets we have in our playroom. They help keep toys contained and any messes hidden. Having all of the baskets also makes it easier for my kids to clean up the playroom so every night before bed it can look picked up. We also really like our IKEA dress-up cupboard. Inside the cupboard are more baskets to separate dresses and accessories. I can even lock the dress-up cupboard so I can control the chaos a bit (I hide the key!). I also love the way we've been able to use books on the shelves to bring more color into the room and to display some of our favorite stories.

What are your top 5 favorite toy purchases or gifts you've received to date?

1. The Pottery Barn Kids My First Play Table & Chairs. It was a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law when my oldest daughter was one. We use it daily, especially for tea parties.

2. Melissa & Doug's Sweet Treat Tower. We love to have tea parties and I love how pretty this treat tower is and my girls think it is so fun to pretend they are eating real sweets. Ours has finally gotten pretty worn out, after going through three girls, so we could probably use a new one!

3. Hardwood Building blocks. They are great for imaginative play. My older girls like to create tall towers and my baby likes to knock them down.

4. Little Tykes School Bus Activity Gym. We keep this in our basement, not our playroom, but all of my kids love it and I like that they can get some energy out climbing and sliding during the winter months.

5. Fisher Price Little People Disney Princess Magical Dancing Palace. My girls love princesses and this castle still provides hours of entertainment for all three of them. When we play with it we work on role playing and using our imaginations to create silly stories about princesses.

What are some of your favorite toy brands?

We like Melissa & Doug, Fisher-Price, Little Tykes, Magformers, LEGO, and anything Disney. We mostly look to buy toys that will last for a long time and that can be used by kids in a variety of age/gender groups.

What is your biggest toy purchase regret?

I don't really regret any of our toy purchases. The toys that we occasionally get at the dollar store do annoy me a bit (because they add to the clutter) but we take a lot of them with us when we travel, so we actually get a lot of use out of them. We did get a big ball pit tent for our baby when she turned one years old that I don't love. The balls get everywhere and take forever to clean up, but we keep it in our basement now and my girls still love it.

How do you control toy creep?

We try to organize our toys about every six months. We don't rotate toys much, although I do try to control the chaos by putting some toys in our storage room. I also hide toys that are too annoying to me or that cause sister drama. We mostly keep smaller toys and books in our playroom and then we have a large open space in the basement where we keep bigger toys. We usually donate a bunch of toys to kids in need around Christmas time.

How do you encourage play in your home?

I have tried to set up our playroom in a way that my kids can easily access toys and books by themselves. We also leave some toys out on the bookshelves that aren't in the baskets so they can easily find them. We used to just keep toys in bedrooms or in the basement, but my kids always wanted to be near me in the main living/kitchen area. To solve that problem we turned our dining room into a playroom so they can play near where I am trying to get things done. Also, our playroom is filled with light and it has a comfortable seating for reading so our kids really want to be in there. We just finished repairing some water damage in our playroom and we weren't able to use it for two months. My kids didn't quite know what to do with themselves without a dedicated play space!

If you had an unlimited budget what 3 things would you have in your playroom tomorrow?

If I had an unlimited budget for my playroom, I would recover their cute upholstered chairs because they are starting to show some wear and get a new play table. I would also like to get them a cute little teepee tent. Lastly, I would just buy a ton of kids books. We can never have enough books!

Where do you like to shop for toys?

I mostly shop on Amazon or at Toys R Us. I love Amazon because you can find almost anything and get it delivered fast. We usually take a mommy/daughter date to Toys R Us to get birthday ideas and will buy bigger toys there that I don't want to have to get shipped. We shop for birthday presents for friends at Target because it is closer to us than Toys R Us. I also like to visit smaller toy stores, like The Red Balloon, when I'm looking for more unique gifts for birthdays or for baby showers.

p.s. if you want to follow along with Elise on her family adventures, she has an instagram dedicated to traveling with 3 kids where she posts about making kids global citizens and gives out tips and tricks to making an on the go lifestyle a rather seamless experience. 


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