With one non-napper, and one (very) occasional napper, this Mama has long been on a quest for quiet afternoon activities and spaces for children to enjoy alone because an eight hour day with young children without the important physical and mental break that naps provide, often leads to some major late afternoon grumpiness (and I’m not just talkin’ about my kids!).
This new nook, which is in the hallway upstairs, a loft-style space that overlooks our living room, was created to help give additional rest time options that are not technically in the living room where we usually congregate, but still feels connected to that space.
To create this cozy new space, which we are calling our book nook, we first found a bigger bookcase down in our basement to replace the smaller one that was in a constant state of overflow. At first, inspired by the popularity of our new bench, I thought it would be fun to get some sort of kids’ size couch or bean bag chair for some comfy book browsing.
But I decided to take my own advice that I have given so often to others, to find the feel and let go of the form. Buying new furniture, even kids’ furniture, requires a fairly major expenditure of money, not to mention time to drive to the store and get it. Looking around the house, I quickly realized that bringing one of our two sheepskin rugs out of the kids’ room, and adding a pillow was all we needed to define this cozy space.
A few days later, while Lily was at preschool, Quinn and I did make a trip to the nearby unpainted furniture store for double wooden crates, which we used to lift our dollhouse (a treasured hand-me-down from my cousin) up to eye level and also as a place to stash blankets and a “book return” basket. Oh yes! That’s right. Just like the library, when you are done reading it, place the book in the basket for the librarian (or the Mama) to reshelf.
My hope is that this will help to retain some of the loose categories I created for the bookcase — Quinn’s favorite truck and construction books on the bottom shelf, Lily’s favorite picture books and early readers on the middle shelf, and our favorite read-aloud books, chapter books and collections of stories and poems on the top!
In addition to afternoon rest time, we have also been enjoying this cozy new space first thing in the morning. The soft rug, warm blankets and our favorite books make such a nice, gentle way to start the day.