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Creative Ways to Keep Kids Entertained

By 02/26/2013February 20th, 201711 Comments

This weekend, I’ll be at the Design Bloggers Conference in LA. I arrive Sunday afternoon and fly back Wednesday morning.


Last year I happened to be sitting next to Barbara Miller from Yes Spaces who specializes in everything about kids, so this year we are sharing a room. Can’t wait to see her!



She sells everything from beds to desks to accessories and lamps. And she designs amazing rooms for children as well as your house if you’re lucky enough to live in Portland.

Last week, I opened my email to this post written by Kate from Centsational Girl.

It’s so much fun to read her blog because this woman never stops creating something as well as making it with herself. She also writes a Centsational Style for Better Homes & Gardens. And she has 3 kids! Amazing.

This time, she designed an airport/racetrack for her 7 year old son who spends hours and hours building legos.

Lego meet Lack


So I emailed her and said “You don’t let your kids watch TV do you?” There’s no way a kid would spend that many hours on lego unless he wasn’t allowed to be in front of a screen. She responded, ‘We don’t have cable, we have one flat screen that we occasionally use to watch movies and that’s it, I love how quiet our house is without the noise from the TV”


William and Markus

William and Markus

My sister Elizabeth recently reduced her 3 & 5 year old sons (above) TV time to 1-2 hours max on Saturday mornings. She said it’s transformed how they play together, they are much calmer and it’s fun to watch how creative they get on their own without constantly asking if they can ‘Watch a Show’.

Stone Soup

Also they love to be read to now which is super fun for me! When I was in Pottery Barn kids a few weeks ago, I came across the book Stone Soup and I remember when my friend Lauren from Pure Style Home wrote about making stone soup for her kids.

She is also a highly talented interior designer and had her own fabric line you can see here.

When I told Markus that a friend of mine made stone soup he said “They didn’t have any food??” So cute.

White Sofa

I love her blog, she recently blogged about what it’s like to have a white sofa with 3 children under the age of 6.

My 3 sisters and I also grew up without a TV. My two uncles lived with us for a while when they arrived from Finland and we were only allowed to watch ‘Little House on the Prairie”. I bought a few seasons on DVD a few years ago and my mom and I had a great time watching it again. I should be embarrassed about that but I’m really not. I cannot watch scary or horror of any kind, I love cheesy stories about love and forgiveness.

Traci's twins

Traci Zeller from Traci Zeller Design is another very talented designer who gives advice on how to manage twins and still have a stylish house and yes she has two of her own.

On her blog she offers tips on how to take remove sharpie markers from anything, have white bedding even with kids and creative ways to hang artwork.

White Kitchen

Interior Design by Traci Zeller

She is about to launch a new line of her own fabrics and she’s decorating a room at the Traditional Home Showhouse in Highpoint this Spring. Can’t wait to see it!


I’m not sure if I’m going to High Point yet as right before that I will be in New Orleans speaking at the Kitchen and Bath show on Saturday April 20 and then Wednesday in Toronto leading my Spring Workshop. 

Will I see you in March or April?

Related posts:

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If you would like to learn how to choose colour with confidence, become a True Colour Expert. April in Toronto and Vancouver in May.


  • Donna Frasca says:

    I hope you make it to High Point this April Maria. Luckily it’s just 2 hours from my home here in Charlotte so I’m going! Even though Traci also lives in Charlotte, I haven’t met her yet but it’s on my list.
    So many kids are hooked up to computers at such an early age now. At one of my consults, an 18 month old was playing with some hand held electronic toy – I don’t even know what it was. So the entire two hours I was at the consult, the “baby” did not put that thing down. Her toys and dolls stayed untouched in the corner of the living room. Sad. Electronic baby sitters. By the way, I love Little House on the Prairie!

  • Linda Veldman says:

    Bravo to your sis. Maria for limiting her kids tv time, kids need to use their imagination, and recent studies say that people who are creative thinkers are more successful! When my 3 kids were little they spent hours making a playhouse out of a fold up table and some blankets and sheets – the dog loved to joined in too. Arranging all the dining chairs in a line to make a train was also a favourite game. And I remember watching Little House on the Prairie – it was a bit cheesy, but it never hurt us. : – )

  • A-L says:

    I’m so bummed! I live in New Orleans, but will be out of town on April 20. Grr!

  • What a delight it was to wake up to this, Maria!! It’s been an eventful (almost) three years, hasn’t it?!! Thank you so much for including me in this post!!!


  • I love this post Maria–I know how certain TV shows can effect my mood so it’s no wonder it makes the kids crazy sometimes too! I’m a cheesy story girl as well so that was my favorite line!! I’ll be in LA too–can’t wait to see you there!

  • Centsational Girl says:

    Thank you for the mention Maria! I was delighted to see YOUR post in MY inbox, ha! My kids watch a lot of the older shows on the iPad sometimes in the evening before bed or for an hour or two on the weekends. They love Little House on the Prarie, and now they’re making their way through that old American show from the 60s Lost in Space! They also love the older cartoons too so they’re not completely deprived, ha!

  • Kay says:

    Maria, I don’t know why stories about the most important things in the world–love and forgiveness–are now labeled cheesy, but I’m with you in wanting to watch them rather than the scary and violent shows that are so prevalent.

  • Victoria says:

    I loved Little House! I had buck teeth too just like Half Pint and wore my hair in 2 braids to look just like her! Thanks for bringing back that memory!

  • Paula Van Hoogen says:

    Hey Maria, I know this might be a stretch, but you could bring the book with you this weekend that I sent you about designing for and with kids–In My Room—remember? Bet your roomate would enjoy looking at it. Have a ball!

  • Elise says:

    I want to thank you for including these blogs on yours. Trying to decorate a house with children is a challenge…Every $30 is a pair of shoes your kid could have, and I want my house to be THEIR house, just pretty too. Every time I look at a designer room I think…beautiful but nope. Not realistic, not practical, not livable, not homey, where would we put the toys, that would break. So, thank you.

  • Duncan Faber says:

    We have 5 kids and believe me, we’re constantly searching for ways to keep them entertained while traveling. Our latest trick is audiobooks. There’s lots of great sites to download them, but we love this one because all the stories are free and original. Here’s the link if anyone is interested.

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