Kids, while they are kids, tend to be highly imaginative beings. I mean, there are only a few short years in which one genuinely believes he is Superman, or she is Cinderella. To children, everything looks bigger, grander, and more magical than what most grownups see. Which is why it’s so important to seize those youthful years and create magical spaces at home to be explored, loved, and traveled…before imaginary play is replaced by less exuberant forms of reality.
Whether it’s a grand-scale, multi-level fortress or a simple sheet hung from the clothesline, special spaces created just for kids play a huge role in their development and imagination. Here are some ideas for DIYing your own magical space for the kid(s) in your life:
Whether it’s a super detailed multi-room palace in the trees (think Swiss Family Robinson) or simply a slab of wood nailed to a tree, treehouses certainly range in construction complexity. But it seems fair to say that each is magical to the kids who spend their summers creating memories in them. These outdoor places provide limitless opportunities for play, either by a child alone or by the entire neighborhood. Bonus: The memories can start even before the treehouse is built, as you involve the children in the process – let them sketch the design, paint, hammer in some nails, etc.
A canopy, by loose definition, is simply a cloth covering suspended over something like a bed or throne. While the idea behind a canopy is simple, the resulting coziness of said canopy is unarguable and completely magical. This house “canopy” shown here is extravagant, to be sure, and will undoubtedly frame the happy memories of many young girls. But even a simple length of draped fabric (or mosquito netting) above the bed creates a cozy, secluded retreat. The canopy transforms a bed into an entirely different world in a child’s imagination.
As with all of the magical spaces discussed here, an indoor stage needn’t be ultra-fancy to fit the bill. Even a family room corner with simple draped curtains can become a live arts performance site. Stairs, of course, are optional but particularly dramatic. I like the colorful curtains of this one, and the chairs that can double as audience seating are a perfect touch.
Complete with porch light and white picket fence and wood shingles, this “house” is any kid’s dream. A setup like this provides a blank canvas for playtime, for any number of children! While this is certainly a drool-worthy model, your child’s playtime homefront could be much simpler (and temporary). Think blankets and clothespins for creating the same kind of feeling on a budget.
As we discussed already, canopies are amazingly magical. Anything that takes a large space (here: the great outdoors) and breaks it down into kid-sized portions (here: inside the canopy tent) is bound to attract the imaginations of of young people. (This example is especially festive, complete with garland and sewn-in windows.) You could DIY something very similar with a large hula hoop and a dropcloth or dyed muslin. I love the luxe comfort of a mattress (or pillows) and blankets inside.