Category Archives: Some Fun

The Ultimate Guide to Design a Fun, Functional Kids Playroom at Home

Playing is more than just a way to have fun; it’s also an essential part of healthy childhood development. As parents, you can adapt any space at home and design a playroom where your kids can explore, get creative, and learn. When designing a playroom, it’s crucial to think about it from a kid’s perspective. Our guide shows you how to create a fun and functional kids playroom that your children will love for many years to come.

Brainstorming with Your Children

While you’ll have most of the say about the design of the playroom (after all, this is your home), it’s important to let your children provide some input before you set up their new playroom. Ask them about their favorite subjects in school and what type of things they’d like to have in the room. From furniture and toys to kids’ entertainment, sit down and write out a list of all the most important things to your child. When you brainstorm together, you’ll ensure that the final result is something you and your kids will both enjoy and appreciate. Make sure you design a space that’s “evergreen” and one that will grow and adapt as your child gets older. This is the best way to make the most of the playroom and keep it functional and useful over the years as they develop and mature.

Pick a Theme

Choosing a theme for your new playroom can make it fun and exciting, but keep in mind that certain themes might not be appealing to your child in a year or two. Try to stick with themes centered around their favorite activities rather than characters from movies or TV shows. Here are some tips to help you develop the perfect theme for your child’s playroom:

Theater / Dance

Add a small stage to the room where your children can practice their acting and dancing skills. Stock the room with various costumes so the kids can play dress-up and do a little bit of theater right at home. If your child likes to dance, install a large mirror on one wall of the room. Bring in a stereo system or a record player so they can enjoy their favorite plays and dance to music.

Music

Fill the playroom with various instruments like a small drum set, a keyboard, and a tambourine. Stock your child’s playroom with sheet music if they’re skilled at playing the piano or other instruments, so they always have something new to learn. Display some music-themed décor in the room like oversized music notes, framed sheet music, or artwork of images like people or animals singing and playing instruments. 

Art

Set up a roomy, sturdy craft table where your child can paint, draw, and work on a variety of arts and crafts projects. Stock the playroom with watercolor and finger paints, an easel, paint brushes, scissors, glue, and construction paper. Find a place where your kids can display their art, such as a large bulletin board or a magnetic board for easy hanging.

Sports

Decorate the room with items that display your child’s favorite sports like a framed picture of a baseball field, a hockey stick hung on the wall, or a picture of their favorite player. If you’re feeling brave, install a ceiling-mounted cargo climbing net so your child can play and let off some steam indoors. Bring in some books about sports so your child can read about their favorite games and expand their mind whenever they’re not on the playing field.

Game Room

From cards to board games, you can easily make your child’s playroom a fun game room by stocking it with a variety of games geared for their age group. Paint a tabletop in a checkerboard design so the kids can play a game of checkers or chess anytime they want. If you have space (and the budget), bring in a large game like a foosball table or ping pong table to serve as the room’s focal point. 

Furniture

Once you’ve chosen a theme, it’s time to pick out some furniture for your kid’s playroom. Here are a few tips to help you get started and ensure that this room is functional and fun to use:

Stick with neutral furniture that’s not too loud or colorful. The more neutral the furniture is, the better the odds are that your child will grow with it instead of out of it. 

Choose furniture that’s durable and easy to clean and aim for multifunctional furniture that includes storage like an ottoman or storage bench.

It’s important to ensure that the entire family feels welcome in this room. While kid’s furniture is excellent for little ones, consider bringing in a full-size couch and table so your older children and the adults will feel comfortable in this space, too.

To add a pop of color, bring in some rugs, curtains, and décor to fill the room with bright and cheerful hues. Leave the wall color neutral so it’s easy to adapt the room as your child grows.

Make sure that this space has flooring that’s easy to clean and maintain. Linoleum and vinyl are both good options, and they don’t require a lot of maintenance to keep them looking new. Protect the floors (and your child’s knees and elbows) with some soft, machine-washable area rugs. 

Storage Space

Your child must have fun in their playroom, but it’s also important that this part of your home stays clean and organized. With the right storage, you can keep everything neat, tidy, and in its place.

Use Mason jars with a lid to store and organize small craft items like buttons, beads, and spools of thread. Cubbies are perfect for larger toys and games, and you can easily put them on a shelf or stash them under furniture. Baskets and storage bins work well as a catch-all to toss stuffed animals and other toys in one place. Add a storage bench or ottoman, so the kids have a place to hide their shoes, board games, and other medium-sized items. Make sure your playroom has at least one bookshelf for reading material, sheet music, or art supplies.

Set up Different Zones

To make the most of your playroom, break it up into different zones. Each zone can be designated for a variety of activities your child enjoys. Put a small desk in one corner of the room for homework, and place shelving with art supplies and a craft table on the opposite side. Keep kid’s toys, games, and accessories in constant rotation so that there’s always something new for them to enjoy. As your child begins to outgrow certain items, donate them to a local nonprofit organization or your school. Make sure there is one part of the playroom designated for home use, such as a spot for a comfy sofa and TV set.

Get Creative

There are many fantastic add-ons you can bring into the playroom to make it more functional and fun to use. Here are some inspirational ideas to help you get started:

Add a swing. Hang a swing from the ceiling of the playroom so your child can swing as they listen to music or watch television. Make sure the swing is anchored securely and that you’re always nearby whenever they use it.

Add a nap station. Naptime is particularly important for younger children, so create a “nap zone” with a comfy mat, cot, or sleeping bag along with a blanket and some pillows so they can take a snooze after playtime.

Create a dress-up corner. Use a rack to hang costumes and accessories in the playroom and add a freestanding mirror in the corner of the room so your kids can have fun playing dress-up.

Add a slide. Bring a sturdy, small slide into the playroom for your younger children. If you really want to go all out, install a tube-style slide that will whisk your child from one floor to the next for a great entrance.

Create a chalkboard wall. Paint one wall with black chalkboard paint so your child can sketch and doodle to their heart’s content. If you’re not keen on painting a wall this way, bring in a large freestanding chalkboard and place it against one wall.

Make a slime station. Playing with slime is lots of fun, but it’s also messy. Make a special “slime station” with all of the supplies so your child can have some slimy fun, and then put everything away when they’re done. 

You don’t have to spend a fortune to design a fun, functional kid’s playroom. There are plenty of ways to DIY and get creative by using items you already have lying around your home. The key is to make sure that you’re having fun while you plan and decorate the playroom. Use these kid’s playroom ideas as inspiration to help you create the perfect space. When it’s finished, everyone will want to come over and play at your house.

This article was originally published at Porch.com

This Tale of Baby Sign Language Gone Wrong Has Us Cracking Up

Be careful what you teach your tot!

Sign language is a smart way to communicate with babies before they’re verbal—so long as they’re using the correct signs. One mom discovered, in the most mortifying way possible, she’d taught her daughter some very incorrect signs.

Thankfully, she took to Reddit to share the hilarious story with all of us. Prepare to laugh.

The funny mom began her tale by saying she’d decided to start teaching her little one American Sign Language after seeing other babies using it in her weekly mommy and me class. (To be clear, this is not her scene. She received a membership as a “gift” from her mother-in-law, because “she doesn’t think I am socializing her grandchild enough and this was her way of passive-aggressively correcting my parenting.”)

One day, while her husband was out of town and she didn’t feel like cooking, she took her daughter to a local burger joint. All seems to be going well, she says, as her daughter uses her newly learned sign language to signal what she wants.

“The server brings a little styrofoam cup with a lid and a straw filled with water for my daughter, and I set it out of her reach so she doesn’t hulk smash the styrofoam and make a mess. So of course every time she wants some, she signs ‘drink.’ And every time she wants my attention, she signs ‘dad’ because apparently the slightly different sign for ‘mom’ isn’t as fun for her. Ok, whatever.”

But then the mom notices a couple of women nearby “who are also signing to each other but they’re looking over at us and snickering.” She confesses she just quickly looked up the signs online, so she may have botched them, but on their way out the door, the two women kindly let her know just how badly she botched them. And it’s priceless.

“They stop by our table and one of them lays her iPhone down with a message typed out for me to read. It says something to the effect of ‘she’s calling you "dumb” and telling you she wants to drink alcohol.’”

Yep. As it turns out, there are two different signs, one for requesting a non-alcoholic beverage, and one for requesting alcohol. She’d taught her daughter the latter. And since her daughter was balling up her first up instead of using a flat hand at her forehead, she was calling her mom "dumb" instead of "dad.”

Oops.

She clarified that the two women who set her straight were very friendly. “Please understand that the conversation that took place with the deaf women was totally lighthearted; they were not correcting our signing to be rude or in thinking that I was trying to teach my child proper ASL. They thought my baby was cute and struck up conversation, and it was funny and welcome!”

The mom posted her story in the appropriately-titled subreddit TIFU, or Today I F*cked Up, and commenters jumped in to share their own sign language snafus. The entire thread is well worth reading if you need a laugh.

“I can only imagine what the Pinterest moms would’ve done had I shown up next week with my kid asking to drink liquor,” the mom quips.

Written by Audrey Goodson Kingo for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Talented Dad’s Comics Show the Sweet and Funny Sides of Parenting

They are so right about why being a parent is totally worth it.

As a father, John Kovaleski knows parenting comes with a lot of hard work. But it’s the little moments that make it all worth it.

In his new comic strip, Daddy Daze, the Pennsylvania dad and cartoonist is illustrating the humorous moments that come along with being a parent. The comic follows the life of a single dad named Paul as he balances working from home and raising his young son Angus. According to Kovaleski, the strip is inspired by his own life and experiences as a father.

Daddy Daze is a loosely based portrayal of my experiences with fatherhood, and I’m thrilled to be able to share it. Being a parent is a crazy job—the hours are terrible, the pay is nonexistent, but the benefits outweigh it all,” he said in a press release.

Daddy Daze is available in newspapers nationwide and can also be read on the strip’s website and social media pages. Here are some that truly nail what it’s like to be a working parent:

Being a Parent Pays Off

Thinking Outside the Box

7nwUaHNm1SV9Km9wHnpuMF
Working Mother

Probably a good idea to keep it “inside the box” for now. Photo: Daddy Daze

Better Get Comfy

366QREvWwD6hP7nx0zoItc
Working Mother

This could take a while. Photo: Daddy Daze

Safety First

Ib43UrZ58TvsUGldBMbjs
Working Mother

I like the way this kid thinks. Photo: Daddy Daze

Better Check Twice

2J86VpgmZo0fEyxyASYjyP
Working Mother

You can never be too careful. Photo: Daddy Daze

Close Enough

4srXInl0OMlmiY7XHqDDix
Working Mother

It’s the thought that counts. Photo: Daddy Daze

Changed in a Moment’s Notice

6NAMM3aB7Z5pCEsR4n1ShN
Working Mother

“Is it mom’s turn yet?” Photo: Daddy Daze

Recipe For Sticky Floors

5u4YEeyZyHxFmX6LM5V3Aq
Working Mother

Clean up on aisle three. Photo: Daddy Daze

Sleep Training

k2GxmxorcY5k9TE2180IH
Working Mother

He should probably work on sleeping through the entire night before asking for a curfew. Photo: Daddy Daze

An Enviable To-Do List

2mf9NboIbAktVVmuCxcHx2
Working Mother

Sounds like a busy day. Photo: Daddy Daze

Written by Joseph Barberio for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Silly and Strategic Card Games for Family Night(s)

As we all face more time at home with our COVID “pods” (big sigh), I thought these games would be good to share. Wishing you good health. ~Kirsten

It’s Friday night and the house is…quiet. Instead of separately and silently scrolling on your devices, why not break out some card games for a rousing family game night? Not only do interactive games help kids develop motor and problem solving skills, they also create invaluable bonding moments and encourage healthy competition.


Level up your family game night with these wacky and tactful card games.


Throw Throw Burrito

Food fight!


A delightful mixture of cleverness and agility, Throw Throw Burrito is the world’s first dodgeball card game for kids, teens, and adults. Two to six players earn points by collecting matching sets of cards faster than their opponents while simultaneously throwing and dodging squishy foam burritos. If you’re hit by an airborne burrito you lose points, but hit someone and you steal those player’s points. While some Burrito Battles involve a handful of players, others force the entire table to go Burrito War! Clear away the breakables and antiques, because you’ve never played a game with your family quite like this.


What Do You Meme? Family Edition

You've all seen them.


Tired of explaining what memes are to your grandparents? What Do You Meme? Family Edition will finally relieve that burden with a mighty good time. Compete to create the funniest memes by using one of your dealt caption cards to caption the photo card in each round. To win rounds and be crowned meme royalty, make sure to play to the rotating judge’s unique sense of humor. Each game contains 300 caption cards and 65 photo cards, so the laughs and surprises are endless.


Kids Against Maturity

The age appropriate spin-off of a modern classic.


Kids Against Maturity is the perfect parental tool to approach playtime and family time. Each player gets 10 white answer cards and takes turns asking the blue question cards. Each question asker chooses the funniest answer, and the player with the highest amount of most amusing responses wins the game. One set includes 500 question and answer cards, allowing for 40,000 unique card combinations. With age-appropriate humor for kids and innuendos for adults, this is a game the whole family will enjoy.


Phase 10

The race is on.


Like its name suggests, Mattel’s Phase 10 is a rummy-type game where players compete to complete 10 varied phases. Each specific phase is a combination of cards composed of sets, runs, colors, or all three. Players must complete one phase before advancing to the next round, and whoever finishes all phases first wins the game. Just when someone has taken the lead, Special Action “Wild” and “Skip” cards deliver shocking, game-changing moments that will leave everyone on the edge of their couch cushions.


Beat That

The ultimate battle of random skills.


Can you bounce two balls into two cups at the same time using only one hand? Bet on your ability to successfully complete a series of any of the 160 ridiculous Beat That! challenges using an assortment of random objects including dice, chopsticks, measuring tape, and more. Bounce, flip, stack, hop, roll, blow, balance and catapult your way to victory in this game that will bring big fun to the whole family.

Written by PopSci Commerce Team for Popular Science and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Toilet Training Your Cat isn’t as Great as it Sounds

LOL. We could all use a little laughter today considering what is really going on in the world (and the horrendous presidential “debate” last night). While toilet training your toddler is probably more apropos for this Facebook feed, I couldn’t help but chuckle from this. Enjoy! ~Kirsten

A cat politely peeing into a toilet—it almost sounds like a dream. No more scooping litter twice a day, no more cluttering your living room with a clunky litter box. So understandably, toilet-training cats burst into the scene in the early 2010s, products like Litter Kwitter promising that your cat will be toilet trained within six weeks.

Here’s how it works. The training kit includes an instructional DVD describing a three-step regimen and concentric plastic discs to install into your toilet, which, at first, completely cover the toilet bowl. The discs can be covered with kitty litter to make your cat feel at home, perched on top of the toilet. Every two weeks, the innermost ring can be removed, until your cat can at long last poop or pee into a gaping, wide-open toilet bowl. The company’s website sings lofty praises of the process: “Your cat learns to go directly into the toilet while balancing all four paws on the seat with their rear over the hole.”

However, as cute as toilet-trained cats are, it’s not as easy as simply sharing a toilet bowl with your cat—and it could actually be detrimental to your kitty’s health. Here’s what cat behavioral specialists have to say about this controversial training process.

“The idea is nuts,” says Jackson Galaxy, cat behavior expert and host of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell. “It symbolizes changing the nature of what a cat is in order to better suit your purposes.”

Galaxy, who has been working with cats for twenty-five years, centers his cat-rearing philosophy around preserving and respecting the cat’s natural instincts. This includes the cat’s routine of stepping into sandy-textured litter, doing its business, and burying the waste. To deny a cat a litter box reveals the owner’s inability to compromise with a cat’s nature, and even instigate behavioral and medical issues down the line. “It’s a very unnatural move for cats to make, perching themselves precariously over water in order to eliminate,” says Galaxy.

And what if your cat falls into the toilet? Laughs aside, Lisa Stemcosky, a cat behavior consultant in the D.C. area, says that even one splash into the toilet can have long-term consequences. “That’s a traumatic event,” says Stemcosky. “They get wet, it’s terrifying.” Even if cats are successfully toilet trained, the stress surrounding going to the toilet can cause mental distress and toilet and litter aversion, especially if an accident occurs when no one is home.

Medical issues may creep up on cat owners if cats continually use the toilet. Tracking your cat’s waste may be one of the most effective ways to catch diseases and conditions early. One sift through a litter box can reveal multitudes of issues. A lack of urination can indicate a urinary tract infection, urethra blockage, or even diabetes. Diarrhea and constipation can also reveal serious underlying issues, according to Stemcosky. If your cat’s waste is flushed down the toilet, these signs may go unnoticed.

Cats who aren’t fans of the toilet might just choose not to urinate, according to Mikel Delgado, an animal behaviorist and postdoctoral fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis. “They will retain their urine and hold it as long as possible,” says Delgado. “This can lead to health problems because they’re not urinating when they need to.” Long-term urine retention can lead to bladder damage, urinary tract infections, and even kidney damage.

Plus, toilet traffic might occur, especially in busy, bustling homes. And anyone who has a cat knows that they aren’t going to wait patiently in line for their turn in the bathroom. “If the seat’s up, the door’s closed, or someone’s using the toilet, they will likely find someplace else to eliminate,” says Patience Fisher, a cat behavior consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The bathroom floor, the bathtub, or anywhere else in the house is fair game. One of Stomcosky’s past clients adopted an adult cat, who had previously been toilet trained. Upon entering a new home, the cat struggled to adjust to a litter box, and continued to pee in the toilet and all over the bathroom. “It can be confusing and very stressful,” says Stemcosky. Delgado, who also works as an animal behavior consultant, claims that she’s unwilling to work with a client whose cat has urinary issues unless they supply their cat with a litter box. “I feel like it’s one of the most basic things you can do to care for your cat.”

“If you don’t just want to scoop a litter box, don’t get a cat,” Galaxy says. “There’s very little that they demand of us as opposed to dogs. Their demands are few. Having a place to eliminate is one of them.”

If you do decide to take the plunge and toilet train your cat, here’s one last word of advice—don’t teach them how to flush. There’s a chance they might enjoy it a little too much.

Written by Candice Wang for Popular Science and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.