Over a year ago we got some cute wooden kid chairs, and rather than paint them up myself I wanted to get the kids involved. They were only two and three years old back then, so it had to be simple. I decided to use the carcass of the old melon box wendy house for them to paint in, as it was too cold outside at the time. I gave them pots of watered down food colouring to use as a stain for the wood. I figured if I gave them only two primary colours per chair, then we'd end up with a nice tertiary colour mixing from them, rather than a nasty brown/grey bleugh. One chair was yellow, green and blue. The other chair was Yellow, orange and red (threw in a bit of pink too for 70's overload).
Earlier this month their dad made a wooden bench and the kids got to paint that up too. This time they used acrylic paint and made one stonker of a mess. They enjoyed it though, and we ended up getting the third combination of primary colours by using blue, purple and red.
I think I mentioned in a post a while back that we were trying to make a little wendy house in the kid's bedroom for them (They won't fit in a melon box now) We call them "Ty Bach" back in Wales, which just means "little house". We rent our home and so there wasn't any wall painting or full on building that we could do for it, plus our car is small, so we were limited with what we could pick up from Craigslist or the hardware store. Things did come together though eventually and the kids have been playing in their Ty Bach with their friends for about six months now. It takes up nearly the whole of their bedroom, with the beds squished in the corner, but they love it and I'm so glad that we did this now, before they are too old to really get the most from it.
It started over a year ago when I babysat a friend's kids while she went to some job interviews. When she landed a job at an elementary school and they decided to upgrade their play house kitchen, my friend snagged the whole set of fire truck red wooden sink, stove and fridge for us! I know, way too awesome! Another friend gave us their old white play fridge unit too (thank you Tina and Michelle!) We kinda had a bit of a Golden Gate Bridge thing happen, in that I had plans to strip and paint the kitchen gear, but for weeks I couldn't find the time and then when it came down to it, we'd grown fond of the strange, old, well worn, obviously loved, bright red, so it stayed.
We moved the chest of draws into the middle of the room, so that the back of it could be a wall of the house, then we put together a fake window frame that was attached to the draw unit (this doubles up as a puppet theatre some days). The curtains are just a couple of matching old pillow cases from Goodwill. If you look carefully, you can see that the cardboard pizza is still going strong after all these months.
Yeah, the sink is an upturned plastic footstool, that just fits the hole that was in the play furniture. It's not classy, but it does the job. We keep books in the cupboard under the sink, because the girls like to be able to go and read in their little house. I should tell you about all the secret places we keep books in a post some day, because we're a bit book mad here.We didn't have many tools, just a Proxxon (like a Dremmel) and a jigsaw, so the back board that forms the wall behind the sink and stove was made using two sheets of chipboard, painted white and hinged together, so we can fold them up if we need to. Hubster jigsawed out a little round window over the sink and a curved bit that flowed into the shape of the fridge unit. It isn't attached to anything, just sandwiched between the footboard of a bed and the kitchen units. It's very stable though.
The carpet was from Ikea and I liked it because it had a bit of red, pink and blue, which helps the crazy coloured kitchen units fit in a little bit, but mainly because it covers up the nasty brown dead buffalo of a rental carpet that fills our home. The American Girl highchair and crib were from a garage sale and the teeny chest of draws that all the baby doll's clothes and gear live in, was from a thrift store, as are the two little shelves that we attached to the back board. The toy microwave next to the little window was from Goodwill, and although the children have plenty of fun with it, I loathe it, because it makes the sound of the hospital monitors when someone goes into cardiac arrest! Who thought that was a good idea?!?! I remember the Ty Bach at my school from when I was six years old very clearly. I hope this Ty Bach helps my kids to make some equally good memories of childhood imaginative play. If you've made a play house area for your kids and have blogged about it, do let me know in the comments, because I'd love to see! I really like the ones I've seen that people have made out of old entertainment centers, like this one on "Making Do with the not so new". If we were able to transport something that big then I think we would have gone that route, because they come up in the free section of Craigslist quite often.