How to Create Space for Your Grandchildren to Play, Sleep and More

Help! I have four energetic grandchildren that have to have space when they come to visit. My home is not small but it’s not arranged for four small children to romp and play much less sleep! I had to make some changes so that when they came I could feel comfortable about their environment and they would have their own play area. If they stayed overnight I wanted them to feel welcome. My grandson had once made his home with us when he was small so I had a room I could use for a play room, however, now he had a brother and two sisters and another sibling on the way! I had converted his old room into a home office when he and his dad moved so I had to figure out how to make this room double as a play/sleep area when all the children came to visit.

I had not painted when I had converted the room, so that was my first step. I wanted a bright color but not too bright that I could not settle in to work when I was using it as an office. I chose a medium yellow. Yellow is a color that goes well with many other colors. It can be accentuated with bright colorful accessories or toned down with accessories in muted earthy shades. There was no room for beds for all four children and because I had a playpen where the youngest would sleep, I decided on a bright red fold-out couch for the oldest girl, age 10. The playpen would fold up and be put away during the day. Sleeping bags would suffice for the two others. Children simply love sleeping bags, or pallets. They sleep in beds all year long so it’s something fun and different to do at Nana’s! The couch would double as furniture for the office (and a place to nap for me!) I chose cafÃ?© curtains in bright yellow, blue, green and red stripes.

Now came the hard part! Because of the children’s different ages, I needed a place where the toddler could find toys that would be safe and interesting but I also needed a space to store things that four, six, and 10 year olds would bring when they came. I decided that the one closet with bi-fold doors was big enough for the children to all hang their clothes at the top. This left the bottom of the closet empty. I put a plastic container there to hold toys for the toddler and four-year-old. Now, I began on the rest of the room. I confiscated a small older bookshelf from the garage, cleaned it up and put books there that would also satisfy the curiosity of the two smallest children. This piece of furniture would serve as a divider in the room to give some privacy between sleeping areas. Beside the couch and a desk chair, this would be the only other piece of furniture in the room to allow for floor space.

Now I needed wall shelving. I needed storage for the office materials as well as for the two older children to store their games and materials so that tiny hands couldn’t get into things that weren’t suitable for them. I had two large empty walls and a built-in counter that ran mostly across one of them. I had my computer, which I moved to the far left, on this counter. This made room for the other end to serve as a changing table for my two-year-old and for the new baby when it arrived. The two oldest children would be able to share the use of the computer responsibly for games. I installed shelves above the entire counter to serve as storage for my office materials on one end and on the other end, to hold diapers, baby wipes and lotion. I made a changing pad out of a quilted pillow sham to go on the end of the counter that was below this part of the shelf. I added hooks under the bottom of the shelf at that end to hold a diaper bag and installed a rod to hold baby clothes.

On the other empty wall, I added more shelves for storage for the two older children. When they came they would have space to store their things and when I was “home alone,” I could have it for my own use. I brought a child-sized desk for the children to use for drawing and coloring or other crafts that had storage for those materials.

The room was not a large space but it served the purpose when my grandchildren visited and was just right for a home office when they weren’t there. The project was not difficult and I was able to do most of it myself.

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