by Lauralee Moss
I recently became a stay-at-home mom, so I spend more time playing with my children, which I love. After spending a few weeks, day after day in the playroom, I began thinking that the white walls were boring. I decided to spruce the place up.
Due to my current non-paid employment status, I was on a budget. In fact, when I mentioned ‘redecorating’ to my husband, he stressed the idea of a $5 budget. I accepted his challenge, got creative with my ideas, and ended up loving the results.
What was so great about all of these ideas? I didn’t buy one thing—everything was already in my house. How did I not even spend $5? Read on.
Project One: Clippings
Needed: magazines, mail fliers, or newspapers; scissors, tape or glue; a board or large piece of cardboard
My son and I sat down with magazines and mail fliers. We found pictures he likes—Elmo, Lightening McQueen, and balls to name a few. I cut them out and put them on the wall. Next, I wrote their titles on paper and taped the titles by the pictures.
On a large board, I made a collage of the remaining pictures. We used glue so that I didn’t have to worry about staples falling out and hurting little feet. This is also nice because when Tyson sees a picture he likes, it is easy for him to pull off old pictures for me to add the new.
What I could do differently: One of my friends gave me this idea. She suggested that the pictures that are one color (like red cars, orange balls) should go in one section. Then instead of titling them, I would have a teaching tool for colors.
Project Two: Painting
Needed: paintbrush, tape, paint, old towels
My dining room is currently serving as the kids’ playroom. I envision dark red walls with white trim—someday. But since my renovation, the walls are painted with leftover paints. I had leftover brushes from other projects, but if you don’t, this might be where the $5 can come in.
I store extra paint from every room in the basement. I took Tyson down there, and let him pick out his favorite colors. He is currently learning his shapes, so back in the playroom I taped a square, circle, triangle, and rectangle. Tyson chose dark purple for shapes and light blue as the background so I was a bit worried. Actually, the dark against the blue looks nice! Plus, when people come over and they ask Tyson about his newly painted wall, he giggles and tells them the story of picking the paint colors from the basement.
What I could do differently: My circle is terrible. Tyson could have done a better job taping it. At first I worried that he would be forever confused about circles, but after a little bit of freehand painting, it does look better. I should have found something to trace. Tape did not work well for the circle.
Project Three: Pictures
Needed: family and friend pictures, frames, pretty paper, tape
Again, I went down to the basement for this one. I gathered old frames from college that are mismatched and loud against my adult décor.
I then went to photo albums. I found pictures of relatives that live far away and friends who often come to play. We nicer ones in frames; these went on top of the bookshelf.
Other pictures received a paper border. (Borders are easy and can be done a number of ways. I cut a square a few inches larger than the picture, traced the picture on the paper, and then cut the square out so only the “frame” remains). I then wrote names underneath the picture and taped these to different surfaces. It is nice for Tyson to often see pictures of loved ones who he rarely sees.
What I could do differently: I would take time to let Tyson color the paper frames. I actually did most of that alone and I should have involved him more.
This was a great project for Tyson and me to spend a few days on. You can do it too! Not only will you be decorating your child’s space inexpensively, you’ll be spending time together working and discussing choices, which may make better memories than the finished beautiful and colorful rooms.
Lauralee Moss write about education and parenting at http://raisingtyandza.blogspot.com