If you’ve been dying to see our latest home improvement projects or have opinions about outdoor toys for 1 year olds, this post is for you. If you couldn’t care less + are just here for the giveaway—which is in partnership with Nakturnal—I’m not offended. Scroll on down, homie, and enter away!
When we bought our house, Mila was Ryan’s age and I was baaaaarely pregnant with Margot. One of the things that appealed to us so much was the relatively large back yard. We wanted space for our kids to run around and play, to host dinner parties, to grow things, and to simply enjoy being outside when the weather is beautiful.
Up until a couple weeks ago, our patio still looked painfully similar to what it looked like in this post…which I wrote TWO YEARS AGO. (Our dead Christmas tree is in the side yard this time, because are still as classy as ever.)
But guess what?
My parents bought us a new grill for Christmas (*cue choirs of angels singing*), the weather got nice, and suddenly we wanted to play outside all the time. Being outside reminded us that our yard has so much potential. And remembering its potential got us thinking maybe it’s finally time to stop playing on my Patio Ideas Pinterest board and actually do the work.
It was all very “if you give a mouse a cookie.” But instead of cookies, we now have this:
Pretty (and comfy!) chairs! And a little table! Guys, I can go outside + sip lemonade + read a book + watch my kiddos play. It is perfect.
We didn’t just buy some furniture and call it good. David rented a power washer thing and cleaned off the walls + floor. I bought a paint sprayer (recommended by Chris Loves Julia and which I now want to use ALL THE TIME) and gave the walls a fresh new coat of very light grey. The goal was to make it look clean + white without being blinding in the summer sun. I’m so pleased with the difference it made. The back door is still the original color, so you can see the contrast for yourself.
Ick. Why did we wait so long to do this?
After painting, we replaced the old fluorescents with really basic track lighting, then strung up some cafe lights. David wired them in so they turn on and off with the same switch as the track lights. Not only can we hang out outside, but we can do it at night! I didn’t get any decent photos of them in the dark, but you can kind of see them here:
Which brings me back to what I said at the beginning of this post. We bought our house with the intention of having a place for our kids to play outside. And they do! Every day when it’s not hot as blazes, and even then sometimes. Kids are crazy like that.
They use the patio for riding bikes, coloring with sidewalk chalk, collecting bugs and flowers and rocks, and all sorts of things. I’d like to keep it that way…accessible, usable for my little ones. But at the same time, I want it to look pretty. Not just in my little corner. The whole thing.
And it doesn’t. Yet.
Without even considering the rest of the back yard, we have our work cut out for us. The pillars still need to be shored up + repainted. The floor needs some kind of texture, since it’s crazy slippery when wet and we don’t need any broken bones. Eventually we want a big dining table out there, not just card tables we can bring out as needed. We need more seating if we want to invite anyone else over. I want more plants, which should surprise exactly nobody.
And the big one: toys and toy storage.
If the kiddos are gonna play outside, they’re gonna want some stuff to play with. I mean, they think rocks + sticks are great, but they’re also really into dump trucks + shovels. Right now most their toys stay in the sandbox…because they are sandbox-related toys. We have rules at our house against taking inside toys out (I do not need stuffed animals getting left out for the neighborhood cats to snuggle, thank you very much), so maybe we need to add to our outside toy collection.
Other than more trucks, though, what might be fun? Especially for my littlest guy?
I think a bench under the windows with some storage bins underneath would be ideal. We could store chalk, bubbles, soccer gear, and such in a way that also gives us more seating. Since the best toys for 1 year olds—or any age, really—are the ones they can play with for a long time, I want to be sure any new ones we acquire don’t get lost + stay in decent shape for a long time. Mostly it’s a matter of finding the right bench + the right toy bins.
And then I can kick back in the shade while Scooter here has the time of his life playing in the dirt.
You ready for that giveaway? Here it is! You could win a $50 gift card for Diapers.com!
Don’t currently have a kid in diapers? No problem, because they sell WAY more than just baby pants. Toys for 1 year olds are just the tip of the iceberg…they’ve got all kinds of fun kid gear, clothing, snacks, and more. I could use those $50 FAST.
The giveaway will be open till next Friday at midnight. Good luck friends! I hope you win!