It’s been several months since we moved into our new house but we have just finally finished converting the garage into a playroom.Sure, it’s technically the garage . . . but home prices in Southern California are at a premium, which means that we have to use every square inch of space that we’ve got. The kids have their own rooms but I like having a space that is dedicated to cooperative play.

Here is what it looked like before . . . mostly a catch-all for junk and construction remnants.

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I’ve always loved the Montessori ideals of having educational toys displayed at available for play, but also having structure so that only one toy is out at once. At most Montessori schools, the child uses a mat for their activities. To achieve that at home, I found a shorter table at IKEA along with some small-scale chairs that are easy to adjust. This way, the kids can all be seated around the table for a game they can play together.

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I partnered with Lakeshore to stock the playroom with some fun educational toys and games from their new Gifts for Growing Minds collection. Lakeshore is one of my favorite go-to places for my kids, and I wanted to get some new activities that would appeal as they are getting older.”

One of their new favorites is this Real-Working Cash Register, complete with money and credit cards. It’s great for both pretend play skills and math skills.

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My boys are loving this Add-it-up! Archery Set, that encourages learning math facts.

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My girls, meanwhile, are crazy about the The Pet Vet Clinic, which allows them to play vet and “doggy mama” to their stuffed animals.

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The one thing all four of them fight over is the Mold & Play Sensory Sand Set. In fact, I ended up buying an extra set just because they all want to play with it so frequently.

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And just outside of the garage, we hung a reading pod that the kids also adore. It’s comfy and cozy, and we created a rule that it’s only for reading, so it’s encouraging longer stretches of book time for some of them.

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You can check out all of the great educational gifts from Lakeshore at their website. And I will be taking over their instagram account this week talking about our new play space. You can follow along here.