Improvements

Back in April I wrote a post about tearing down the half wall that separated the two main spaces.  That renovation resulted in a smaller art area that also doubled as a dining room.  It looked like this;

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Yes, we no longer had our larger dedicated art space in the sunroom but this new space was much more accessible throughout the day and therefore got used more.  Besides, we also had a new outdoor art area with plenty of space for messy art.

However, this new space was not completely problem free.  The preschool table did comfortably seat three small children for meals but three art trays didn’t fit without hanging off the edge of the curved table.

Also, I had four children that I wanted to sit at the table but one of the 2-year-olds had to continue using the highchair because there wasn’t enough room for four toddlers like at our old rectangular table.

So, two weeks ago I did this;

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Now there is more than enough room for all four of the preschoolers to sit for meals, craft time and other table activities.  The ‘counter top’ is no longer attached to the wall so this new table can be moved when necessary.  The school-age children can sit at the taller table which is attached to the wall and folds down when not in use – saving space.  However, the school-age children also enjoy using the little table too!

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I did have one big issue with this new arrangement – the chairs.  I’ve had problems with these chairs throughout the nearly 8 years I’ve owned them.  I bought them because I wanted stacking chairs but these are so bulky that even when stacked they take up a lot of room.  Bigger children complain about squishing in between the arms.  Also, because of the depth and curve of the seat, smaller children have difficulty sitting upright.

I’ve considered replacing the chairs for years now but they were expensive and replacement chairs are even more so.  Now that the table is a rectangle I considered using benches instead of chairs but I decided against it because putting toddlers on benches = trouble.  So, I went to Ikea 🙂 and now I have SIX new chairs;

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When the toddlers sit here I have one on each end and leave the middle chair pushed in as a divider.  The older children can have all three chairs pulled out to function like a bench;

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This new flexible arrangement has been working very well for all of us.  Meals and art for mixed ages in one convenient space.  Perfect.

What do you think?

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