As Baby outgrows the last of his infant toys, we’re ushering in toddlerdom with lots of new balls, trucks, puzzles, books, and ride-on contraptions. No longer excited for his baby activity gym or ExerSaucer, we are in the market for some bigger toys to update Baby’s playroom, too. With the new IKEA Merriam opening nearby, I started scouting out their online catalog for ideas. I found a lot of things I’d love to incorporate into Baby’s playroom, including a small blogging workspace for me, too.
I first discovered IKEA when my husband (then boyfriend) and I moved to Washington, DC in 2006. That first IKEA shopping trip furnished us with a kitchen table, six chairs, and a coffee table complete with some heavily used hidden storage space. Eight years later, the table and chairs are now in our Kansas City kitchen and the coffee table is living it up in our family room paired with a much newer sectional sofa. The furniture has held up well, especially after four moves.
For the playroom, I am looking for affordable ways to fill the space with things Baby can play with as a toddler all the way up through his early elementary school years. I want Baby’s playroom to be filled with items that will foster his imagination and creativity along with lots of books to promote early literacy. A few months age we purchased a kid’s book rack that is the perfect size for Baby to pull out books and start flipping pages. I rotate the books to keep it interesting, and will switch it up by adding more challenging books as he grows. With the literacy base covered, I focused my IKEA hunt on pretend play.
The first thing I found and loved online was the white Kritter Children’s table. I can imagine Baby sitting there and coloring for
minutes days, with the white top slowly accumulating a rainbow of crayon marks and paint stains. If Baby turns out to be more into transportation than art, IKEA’s basic train set would be a good fit on top of the table instead. For seating, I couldn’t decide between the matching red, blue or white chairs. I’m leaning towards all white. Or two red and two blue. Or all blue. Clearly, making decisions is not my strong suit.
Next I spotted an adorable play kitchen. Baby is always getting into everything while I make him dinner, so I thought he would love to have a small kitchen of his own. If the model looks a little bare, all of the little accessories would have it fully stocked in no time. We might not be hosting tea parties anytime soon, but since Baby loves all of the play food at our Parents as Teachers Play Center, I think this play kitchen would still be a hit.
Even in the perfect playroom, I’ve learned there still needs to be an adults-only section to keep dangerous things out of reach. I love the Hemnes secretary desk to hide scissors, extra batteries, my cell phone, and a small trash can. It would also be an awesome place to store all of Baby’s books that are out of rotation. The narrow desk be an excellent replacement for the huge one we currently have in the space, which Baby is getting closer and closer to climbing on everyday. The secretary desk double as a great spot for me to sneak in some work time while Baby is busy
eating crayons coloring away.
To pull it all together, I found a colorful button rug that would be a fun way to brighten up the room. I can imagine Baby playing with it, pawing at all of the different colors on the floor. The rug would be another place for Baby to play, scooting toy cars along the white space, practicing his colors, and hopping from button to button to burn off some extra energy.
I was happy to find so many cool and functional playroom pieces all in one place, from a multi-use desk and storage solution to a tiny toy train. These pieces were my playroom favorites, but if I could really go on an IKEA shopping spree my list would probably continue on and on. I’m excited to check out the new store in person soon. Thankfully, Baby will keep me from going overboard as his shopping attention span is more like his father’s then mine.
What’s on your “must” list for a toddler’s dream playroom?
We had that little table and chair set for years and it was perfect for the boys! Eventually I painted it in chalkboard paint so I wasn’t constantly wiping marker and crayon off. The boys outgrew it this summer, so we passed it along to friends with a toddler before we moved. There were lots of happy memories created at that table
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I just saw on Pinterest a coffee table covered in chalkboard paint and loved the idea! Happy to hear the boys loved the table to know that it’s worth the investment!
Super cool ideas! I love the rug! We have the kitchen and accessories here. Such fun.
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Aw I totallllllly take ikea for granted! They always have the neatest stuff and I have left with way more than I came for during past visits. I can’t wait for your store to open up!
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I love IKEA, but I think my husband might start throwing some of it out if I bring anymore in! Your little guy is so precious, isn’t it fun watching all of the different stages as they grow?
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Ha! I’m hoping to sneak some in under my husband’s nose. At least all of the things that don’t require assembly…
I am obsessed with Ikea… great ideas here!
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Thank you! I’m so excited for the new store
I LOVE Ikea. They have the cutest stuff and it’s actually good quality. And you can’t beat the prices! We have most of our boys’ furniture from there in their bedroom and their playroom. That is also the best play kitchen I’ve seen, my boys always want to play with it when we go to Ikea. I love your idea for that secretary desk, I would’ve never thought of that! Thanks for sharing, I always love browsing Ikea furniture and ideas!
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I love IKEA! That button rug is adorable!
A little table and chair set is definitely a must… same with the play kitchen. I bought the small wood spice racks from IKEA and transformed them into wall mounted bookshelves for my girls (great for small areas like for wall space behind doors).
You need to add a set of wood unit blocks to your list. The possibilities for play are endless with unit blocks… build a train, a farm, a house, a store, a bed, a chair, stack em, knock em down… yup! Definitely a must!
Thanks for sharing.
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Excellent tips! We will be outgrowing our little book rack fast, so using spice racks for books would be an awesome way to expand. I’m hoping to put some up in my bedroom to hold nail polish, too. Pinterest + IKEA = Love.
AHHH Ikea!! My husband has started to forbid me (us) going there because we are addicts!! I mean to sneak myself down there sometime soon!!
But for a kiddo play room, I really need better storage. My kids always enjoyed putting things in and out of containers…until they realized that I was having them clean.
Thanks so much for sharing on this week’s #SHINEbloghop!
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I have a cube storage unit, which I loved at first to display toys for Baby, but now it looks cluttered and drives me crazy! Finding colorful cube storage boxes are high on my list.
I’m really hoping Baby will enjoy helping to put things away soon. I’m going to try to make a game instead of a chore for as long as I can!