One of the reasons we chose to live in our current house, is because it has a secret kids' room. The original house had the normal three feet deep coat closet underneath the stairs. Previous owners took out the back wall, allowing the closet space to open the entire length of the staircase. They also put in carpet and a string of lights, making it quite cozy.
Once we moved into the house, we added our own special touches to the secret room. I hung the unicorn rug my dad made for me when I was kid. We stocked a wire shelving unit full of games and books. The bones of the staircase created some natural nooks that are great for small books and toys. A nightstand and a little persons' folding dinosaur chair add comfort. I hung evergreen garland and placed some birds and lizards in it. Puppets and stuffed animals peek out from various hiding spots.
Whenever we have a consortium of children over, they inevitably end up in the secret room. While the adults are busy talking, giggles are heard from within the heart of the house. My husband once opened the door to the secret room to check on my then three and five year old nieces, only to be greeted with, "Close the door, please." At least they were polite.
Ian recently decided to make the secret room his space. He parked all his big trucks and cars inside. There is only enough foot room for the wee ones to get in and out. Of course that's the point of this space, KIDS ONLY: NO ADULTS ALLOWED! When I looked in on him to be sure everything was alright, he yelled, "Mommy, go away!"
More book recommendations:
When I taught second grade, I loved reading Weslandia to my students. Paul Fleischman writes a wonderful story about a boy who doesn't fit in with his peers. In the boredom of summer, the boy creates his own world, including an 80 character alphabet, crops, clothing, and even sports! Eventually, his once tormenting peers are enticed and become his followers. I love the use of imagination in this book. The artwork is bright and colorful, just absolutely gorgeous! I can't wait to share it with Ian and Laurel in a few years.
And for the wee ones:
Laurel adores her book, Moo, Cow, by Salina Yoon. Being all of ten pages, it's a quick read, which is great for active babies/toddlers. The simple pictures of an adorable cow cover a two page spread throughout the book. There's a short rhyming phrase on each page, discussing a cow's activities throughout the day, and ending with it going to sleep. Laurel loves to touch the cow's fuzzy nose on the cover. She frequently looks at this book while playing independently.