February 2017

dollhouse round-up

20 Feb 2017, Posted by alanacherneck_0 in Uncategorized

Dollhouses are a bit of an obsession around here. With three girls, we’ve had the opportunity to test-drive many different kinds. I’ve also worked with childcare organizations and teachers who have used these dollhouses in their practice.  The consensus: WOOD is GOOD!  The more open-ended the dollhouse, the better for the imagination.  Look for dollhouses that are “open-concept” and can be played with from a variety of sides (this encourages cooperative play).  Here are some of my favourites (and fall within a variety of budgets):


dollhouses for every budget

doll house round up

1. Plan Toys Chalet Dollhouse, $179.95   /  2. House Shadow Boxes, $12.99 – $29.99  /

3. Plan Toys Creative Play House, $169.99  /  4. Melissa and Doug Hi-Rise Dollhouse, $199.99  /

5. IKEA FLISAT Doll House, $29.99  /  6. Hape All Season Dollhouse, $199.95


Chalet dollhouse - at kids' level

Keep the dollhouse at children’s level to encourage long-lasting play

Kids love to play with dollhouses that are at their level, so try setting it up on a shelf (20″ high or so).


Creative dollhouse

I like to place a basket underneath to store wooden dolls, furniture and accessories.  This keeps things organized and inviting for children.


shadowbox dollhouses

Shadowboxes for open ended play

The great news is that you don’t need to spend a ton of money on dollhouses (although, I believe if you are going to invest in quality wooden pieces for your playroom, a dollhouse is at the top of the list!)  Shadowboxes make great open-ended “houses” for wooden dolls. These were purchased at Michael’s for under $20.00.

I’ve seen many creative hacks for dollhouses, but these IKEA KALLAX hacks have got to be my favourite:

IKEA KALLAX dollhouse hack

Via Mommodesign

IKEA KALLAX dollhouse hack

Via Zowieso

Whatever your budget, whatever your child’s interests (boy or girl), a dollhouse is a MUST for any playroom. Dollhouses encourage dramatic play, where children mimic all the activities that go on inside a home. From cooking, to cleaning, to caring for loved ones, to solving problems; children who pretend and engage in dramatic play actively experiment with the social roles in life.  Through dramatic play, children explore their own thoughts and feelings, and practice conflict resolution.  All children benefit from pretend play!

creative kids: art storage 7 ways

07 Feb 2017, Posted by alanacherneck_0 in Uncategorized

Staying organized in today’s busy world is getting harder and harder to do. Especially with kids. Staying organized with ART SUPPLIES is a whole different ballgame, and because of its inherently “messy” nature, many families shy away from art with their kids. In the Reggio-inspired world, art is a language with which kids first learn to communicate.

tools for creative kids

Art holds tremendous power for kids – to express feelings, fears, dreams and ideas. Giving children tools, and presenting them in a thoughtful, organized and beautiful way, invites kids in to explore, and use this language in creative ways.

tools for creative kids

I believe that art supplies (and other toys/materials) should be VISIBLE, and within kids’ reach. This way, they can make independent choices and not feel thwarted by always having to ask permission. (always asking for help and permission can DEFINITELY hamper the creative process!) In a Reggio-Inspired vein, art supplies should be housed in transparent jars, so that children can “read” the media. They also provide wonderful punches of colour in a space.  Glass also has beautiful reflective qualities, so important in any Reggio environment.

IKEA shelves

IKEA EKBY OSTEN shelf with Dollar Store glass jars, and baskets from Bed Bath & Beyond

Everyone has a different comfort level when it comes to art with kids. Where are YOU on the “art comfort continuum?”

art comfort continuum

I’ve rounded up some ideas for art storage for those faint-of-heart, as well as for those of you ready to take it to a new level.  I’ve also shared a go-to list for items to include in your inventory. Some of these ideas come from my very favourite bloggers in the Reggio-inspired world, and I hope you’ll find them useful!


7 ways to store kids' art supplies

boon stash

Boon Stash Art Caddy

I love this caddy because it is simple and keeps everything organized and neat, and looks uber-modern. It is also dishwasher-friendly. Once it gets a little dingy-looking, just throw it in the dishwasher and it will come out looking brand new!


Grundtal storage

Grundtal storage

Grundtal IKEA


I like to use this set in designs, because it is an option for those with limited shelf space.  The canisters are removable, and you can customize it for the number of materials you have.

art caddies

Land of Nod Budding Artist Caddy

These are great because kids can independently carry the entire caddy to a nearby table.  The fun colours and design make it a sure-fire hit.


all in one art station

Chalk Wall with integrated art storage

Image Source:  BuzzFeed

I love this design (not my own!) but I have used variations of it. It is a one-stop-shop on a wall-surface, minimizing the need for added shelving.  I love chalk walls, and this is the perfect integration of both chalk-wall and art storage.


art cart


Image Source: Tinkerlab  Check out Rachelle’s process for setting up an Art Cart! These are amazingly convenient for smaller spaces, and can house a good number of art goodies. The casters make moving it a breeze.  I’ve used these in child care settings, and they are always very popular.


Urbio modular storage

Urbio Magnetic Modular System

Image Source: The Art Pantry.  Check out how Megan uses this system so cleverly in her art studio!

I ADORE Megan’s use of the Urbio Modular system. It is so clean, simple and modern, and I love that you can change up the scheme depending on your kids’ needs, heights, and interests.  It’s so visually appealing (probably because of the white with pops of art-media colour!), and the options are truly endless.


Your collection of art media will range depending on your comfort level. Below is a list of some items to get you started. {You can pick + choose!}

Art Centre Supplies

IKEA KALLAX unit, with Dollar Store glass jars {my favourite!}

Do your kids have an Art Centre? What are YOUR strategies for keeping sane when messy art supplies are around? I would love to hear your ideas!