Spaces for a one year old: Our kitchen.
I’m returning to our play space series with another room in our little house, the kitchen. The kitchen is actually my favourite room in the house, it gets so much light during the day, there’s actually room for everything we need and its the nicest rental kitchen we have certainly ever had. Saying this, I felt like it required a little thinking to make child-friendly. We don’t have room (or money) for a learning tower, nor much space for child-accessible areas, but it’s surprised me just how much we could do when we worked on it a little. This and the living room are the only two rooms we have downstairs, so we have had to be a little clever with storage (oh how I long for a hallway!), but on the whole it’s a room that we enjoy spending time in and multitasks with the best of us. So here is our kitchen/home office/art space/laundry room/dining room…
Our formica dining table, that I bought on a complete whim on eBay while I was pregnant, I love. The table has storage in it (perfect for bibs, candles and table mats), but is full of happy memories too. Baby led weaning, family meal times, first paintings; it’s ingrained in the woodwork. We usually have a little nod to the season on it, as well as a candle which we light at dinner while we say a gratitude for that day. We have that Ikea highchair which we use for mealtimes which has worked so well for us, although perhaps not for much longer.
When it came to making the cooking a toddler friendly activity, we added this step stool. It’s super portable and easy to hide away, and Eilish loves to climb up it to help in the kitchen. She often washes up, helps mix our Sunday pancakes, or chops veg for dinner while perched on it. Her little cleaning area is on one of the shelves of the island, and was so simple to create. We use old muslins as cleaning cloths in a basket, and an ice bucket as a little laundry basket for dirty ones, all of which we already owned. The little dustpan and brush and spray bottle were both purchased specifically, and Eilish gets a lot of enjoyment out of cleaning her messes. Nicole at The Kavanagh Report has lots more information on setting up a toddler cleaning area, and was where I found inspiration for ours.
The blackboard wall sticker we bought from a pound shop, but you can find similar here. It’s well used every day, and should just peel off when its no longer needed.
And finally we have our Ikea LATT table, which I found second hand. I’m so pleased we made room for it as it allows us to make an accessible art area and keeps art as child-led as we can allow. While we don’t have room for a shelf that she can grab paint and paper off, I always keep a blank piece of paper on there ready as well as her beeswax crayons, chalks and sometimes homemade playdough. Quite often I find her wandering over to have a little scribble before going off to do something else again. On top of the fridge I keep the rest of her art materials; finger paints, poster paints, liquid watercolours, brushes and paper.
While there are a few area I’d like to work on (installing a toddler snack station is next on the agenda), I’m pretty pleased with our little kitchen space, its so very homely. And it’s the perfect place for a bird-watching toddler too.