How to Make a Calming Nook
Have you ever made a fort? I have fond memories from my childhood of forts. They were usually of the dining room chair and blanket sort. In a pinch, under the dining room table also works as a secret hideout. Forts have a magical, creative quality. They invite pretend play. Forts can also be a quiet place to be by yourself. I have made several of the first version, but hadn't made a quiet fort until this week.
Do you remember my friend Louise? She shared her awesome trip to the York Train Museum a while ago. When she was looking for people to join her Fort Building Challenge I was thrilled to join in, especially since my daughter has been asking to make a cozy nook in her closet since our move.
Back in July we relocated from the midwest to Jackson, Mississippi. The move was exhausting and more difficult than it probably needed to be, but when we finally moved into our house the kids were thrilled. My daughter was completely in love with her room. Her favorite part? The closet. That might seem strange and it did a little to me at first, but to her it is cozy. There is a circle shaped window and it is a large closet for a three year old. Between the natural light and just enough space to snuggle or play it is kind of a perfect cozy space. She is constantly dragging blankets and teddy bears and books in there during quiet time and was THRILLED when I suggested we make it a nook together.
First, we cleaned up the closet a bit. I had been under the impression that closets were for storage, so there were some boxes and clothes in there. They were relocated to higher shelves and the hall closet. Being three, she doesn't have a ton of clothes and the ones she has are tiny. No walk in closet really required. Then, we started with her two favorite things: stuffed animals and picture books.
1. Stuffed Animals
I made a hammock for her stuffed animals that are generally overtaking various spots in her room. She has great affection for each and every one. I took a curtain we are no longer using, sewed a couple of loops with cord into each end and tied it around the pole already hanging in her closet.
2. Children's Books
Reading is her favorite hobby. I found a big old pillow of mine and covered it with her rather extensive collection of blankets. Many are from her stint in the prenatal unit where they generously donate beautiful quilts that used to dwarf her in size. Piled together they make a comfy spot for reading. Next to the pillow I donated a basket from our toy closet and filled it with some of her favorite books. These are all ones that we have read over and over again and she now enjoys "reading" to herself.
3. A little flourish.
In lieu of hanging something over her, like a traditional fort, I opted to paint the wall with a tree that goes over her head. This makes it more permanent than you might like and could obviously be skipped. Hanging a sheet from the high clothing bar or top shelf of her closet would have been an option, but that would have blocked out the lovely natural light from the window. She wanted a fairy tree though - so that is what I attempted. I drew a simple tree and then painted over it with brown and two shades of green. We applied Disney Fairy Wall Stickers to the tree and the wall behind the stuffed animal hammocks. She helped with the postioning.
And that is it. Her special space. We have quiet time every afternoon between lunch and naptime. When I head in to read her a book before nap this is where I often find her. As much as she adores our adventures out of the house, I think she also truly needs this quiet time and cozy space to recharge and be by herself for a while.
Stuffed Animals or other soft toys
Large Piece of Fabric
Thin Cord or Strong Thread
Make sure to check out the other forts in the Fort Building Challenge. Some of them are truly mind-blowingly awesome. You can also download a free printable calendar to follow along or challenge your family to a little fort building fun!
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