Sunday, May 27, 2012

Keeping the HOME in my Home Daycare

Having a daycare in your home has its challenges.  One of the challenges I was facing was seating for my buddies.  Up until this point, I had tried several arrangements.  I had used our regular kitchen table, sometimes with booster seats, sometimes just the regular chairs, I had used a picnic table, and I had had my buddies sit on the floor using a long, low bench as a table.  My regular kitchen table was awkward for them to sit at, especially for some of my buddies who had a really hard time sitting still.  The picnic table was okay but a little small for working on big projects.  When we sat at the bench, some of my buddies had a hard time staying at the bench.  I considered purchasing a child table from some of the catalogues but most of the tables have a very institutional look that didn't feel right for my home.

I was very excited when I found a large wooden table that was being discarded.  It was bigger than my kitchen table and I knew it would give my buddies lots of workspace.  I set about refinishing, hoping I could match it to the wooden chairs I already owned.  Sanding it revealed that the wooden top surface was a wood veneer and when sanded, some of the base wood showed through where the sander sanded through the veneer.  Because I really wanted some of the wood grain to show through, I used big heart stencils on my table, centering them so that I could keep some wood showing.  I painted the outside edges, where most of the damage was in a black melamine paint.  Since the edges of my hearts were quite rough, I took a Sharpie paint pen and made a zigzag edge around the edges of the hearts.  Then I gave the table several coats of varathane.  I left the legs of the table the original wood colour and just had my husband cut them down to size.  I am not sure I will keep them the colour they are, or if I will end up painting them, too.

I decided to get rid of my regular kitchen table to make more daycare space, too.  It's always a balancing act when you use your home for daycare.  I decided that a useable table for my buddies was more important than the kitchen table I was sacrificing.  My husband and I rarely sat at the kitchen table so it won't be missed too much.  The new table still has a home feel to it and that makes me very happy.

I know my buddies are as excited to start using the table as I am.  Last week, though we weren't using it yet, they were walking around it dragging their fingers along it's surface.  It's the little things that make these projects for my buddies so worthwhile.  Now, I am just working on getting my husband to build me a couple more of those chairs....

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