The kids call it their zombie apocalypse shelter, but really it's just an awesome hideout that any kid would love.
Except a child that suffers with claustrophobia.
That kid would not love this shelter.
We have a 100yr old house that has odd shaped closets. I've strung Christmas lights in each of their closets with carpets, pillows, etc. A different closet has a dollhouse, sheepskin rugs and a full mirror (my dream closet when I was a little girl). I'm a neat freak but I also think kids should be allowed to make a mess - so if they have a play space that I don't have to look at it's a win-win. They don't often play IN their closet, but they can chuck everything in before I come up to tuck them in for the night and that's fine by me.
Here's two of my boys in their closet - we cleaned it out and removed a bookshelf I had installed at the end.
My Dad built this cupboard for my Mom a million years ago. Well, at least 30 years ago.
I love having pieces that are family pieces in the house, but this is more of a utility cupboard. Not an antique, not fancy, painted fire engine red.... you get the idea.
Monty bought a tool kit from the 1980s at
Bibles For Missions (it was still in its packaging) and the tools are actually functioning tools. I let him use his new
(very sharp) saw to cut the hole out.
There are a lot of studies on why allowing your children to take risks is good for them.
My children learn to use knives and tools that are considered dangerous.
Letting my 8 and 5 year old use a functioning hand saw was not only fun, but they definitely appreciated how much work it is to cut something by hand.
Monty has cerebral palsy, and this was
a great opportunity for him to work on his fine
and gross motor skills.
After the boys were done cutting the hole I had them clean the mess on their own. There were a lot of rough edges that needed cleaning and the floor needed a good sweep.
The inside of the cupboard also had a lot of sawdust that needed cleaning.
I believe I refilled my coffee while they fought over who was doing the most work.
And here it is in the closet! This didn't almost take out a wall, or cause endless amounts of grief and possibly swearing.
This also didn't need to be reassembled IN the closet so it would fit.
I was never good in math, and I clearly need to spend more time on angles.
While the cupboard fits nicely in the closet - it did not have enough space to turn once I had it in there.
I beat the crap out of the walls trying to fit it in with brute force - but eventually gave up and took it apart to reassemble once in place. If it wasn't a closet I wouldn't have let my walls take such a beating, but after all the baskets went back in it isn't noticeable.
When I finally got it in, the boys were cheering for me, praising my strength and resilience and were even more grateful for the time I was spending helping them create their shelter.
It's always good to stock up on
The result is fantastic! Even their Dad couldn't find them until they revealed themselves with giggling.
They've assured us we are not welcome in their shelter if there really is a zombie apocalypse but that they will survive just fine without us.
I believe them. On both counts.
They brought a reading lamp, two pillows and a blanket back there and have fit 3 stinky boys in there at a time. With lego.
Whether or not it's used as a real shelter or just a quiet space to read Moby Dick for the 4th time,
it's a great little place to encourage creativity, imagination and plain old fun.
Have a weird closet? Try turning it into a play closet and send me a pic!
If anyone actually reads these bonus stories, you need to tell me! I try to keep my posts as short as I can because I imagine no one wants to actually read the whole thing, but some of you make it to the bottom and I want to know who you are! Anyways.... to the story.
When I was in grade 5, my teacher stood at the front of the class explaining each novel available to us for our novel study. There were at least half a dozen options, but I don't remember any of them except the one I chose.
The Diary of Anne Frank.
I remember the teacher describing the book, and when we were allowed to go to the front of the class to choose our novel I ran as fast as I could so I could get my copy before they were all gone.
I thought every kid in that class would be fighting over the few copies available.
I was the only one who chose that book.
I still can't figure out why no one else chose it, but I know that they missed out. Big time.
Ever since reading it I can't read about or look at a picture of a secret wall, or hideaway without thinking of Anne Frank, her family or the other Jews hiding for their safety.
For more on Anne Frank, visit the official website
If you'd like more inspiration to build your own secret hideaway, have a look at this awesome collection of hidden doors/rooms.