The average person’s life is downsizing. The family car is getting smaller, the family house is getting smaller, the average family is also getting smaller. Although fielding a soccer team under a common surname is quite an unlikely occurrence, the good thing is that lack of size does not mean lack of fun.
The tighter knit family nucleus benefits from more time, more resources and more attention. The average modern home has changed over the years to reflect this new lifestyle. As the only child, a dedicated space would help keep him or her occupied despite the lack of sibling playmates. A home is not just a place to lay one’s head down but it can also be a place of inspiration and growth.
1. Art wall
Create little art galleries. Parents can nurture the budding artist in their child through creative projects like putting together a collage of fun photos and hanging it on the wall on whimsical frames or a wall-to-wall mural using indelible paints or removable plastic stickers. These projects are a great way for the whole family to spend quality time together and build teamwork.
2. Play space
Children enjoy imagining themselves as a king with a castle or a princess trapped in a tower with ideas that they encounter in fairy tales and movies. Make your little ones feel like royalty by creating a play space with a castle. Empty cardboard boxes can be sourced from grocery stores or from electronics items Dad purchased on the pretext of sourcing for empty boxes for this project. With a little paint, textiles, and a dose of creativity, an impregnable fortress or regal palace can be recreate in a fun-filled afternoon.
3. Little library
Wean your family off the ubiquitous LCD screen. Recreate the atmosphere of unbridled imagination, exploration and calm that only the printed word can bring. Bring back that distinctive whiff of freshly printed books that has gone extinct along with the main purveyor of such fine scents - the humble bookstore.
One can source for items such as back issues of the National Geographic magazine on the web, at sites like eBay and Carousell. These are also good resources for finding a large shelf at minimal cost, or get a DIY model from Ikea. With a carpet to demarcate the reading nook and cosy furniture like throw cushions or a bean bag, this reading nook is ready to host its first reading session.
4. Design for kids
Most home décor ideas take their form from an adult perspective. A child’s influence is typically secondary or unintended and usually comes in the form of a permanent clutter of toys and homework. More often these days, child-sized furniture can be found at your regular furniture retailers or simply with a click of the mouse.
If the lazyboy is the central focus of the living room space, why not have a plush child sized version side-by-side as well? After all, children do like to play being grown-ups. Having such dedicated spaces for children that they see as their own could help foster a sense of responsibility, as this is no longer Mom and Dad’s spaces but very much theirs as well.
5. Curated collection
Sort out all the family trinkets amassed on holidays and along the journey of life. Make a museum out of your memories and at the same time eliminate clutter. All that is required is a shelving unit and a lot of quality bonding time.
If there aren’t already items to put on display, even better! Make excursions to the beach to pick up pretty shells or interestingly shaped pebbles beaten into various curious shapes by the sea. Like the age-old family heirloom, this collection builds a measure of pride and identity within the family unit.
6. The pet lover
With more families adopting a four-legged member into the house, it is a good idea to incorporate dedicated space for the furry friend. Since children are more likely to interact with the pet on a frequent basis, this doubles up as a project for the kid as well. Artfully attach horizontal planks along the walls for Mittens to have her very own catwalk. These can also double as display space or book shelves if one decides to switch sides and become a dog owner.
For existing canine lovers in apartments, the old dog house can be cobbled together using some fabric and wire to retain the structure, similar to an outdoor tent. The walls can be constructed out of discarded fabric and decorated aesthetically to make it feel like a pooch’s home within a home.
Little projects are a great way for families to grow together. The time spent, effort taken and results witnessed all add to the family history which, though simple, make for the sweetest memories.