An Idea is Born
My husband loves puttering around in our outdoor space: it’s the one place he wants to look nice and it’s often where he spends most of his free time. One afternoon he asked me about the area above our fishpond: Should we put a palm tree and some flowers in that area? And then he asked our preschooler what he thought about it – while I looked on disapprovingly. Why should our four year old have a say as to what we do with that space? And that’s when the idea was born: Finn decided it would be a great place for a hideout – the ultimate play space.
Now I tend to be all about practicality and my husband, well, he’s more of a dreamer and a thinker. When Finn suggested a hideout, Nic was all in. We debated the idea back and forth. There were many issues that would need addressing if we were to move forward with a hideout: cost, our landlord’s permission (fortunately, my parents are our landlords, so this wasn’t a huge issue), safety issues, and utility.
Although I would have probably cast my vote for a palm tree, my husband was smitten with the idea of a grand play area. We live in a tiny home, so he loves creating grand, enchanting and imaginative areas that the kids can call their own. I decided to trust him (and I’m so glad that I did). Planning and “construction” commenced on the hideout.
How the Hideout Was Constructed
Finn and Nic collaborated on the design and Nic got to work. First the fish pond had to be drained. Then he cleared out the garden space above the fish pond. Then came the poles, the dungeon and the face of the hideout. After the perimeter was completed, he used some rope to create box knots and make a safety netting. He covered the dirt with AstroTurf so that it wouldn’t just become one big muddy mess. And then he covered it with a roof. Finally, after it was finished and sanded, we painted it with chalkboard paint.
How We Use the Hideout
This hideout is my boys’ space and they love it. It becomes the perfect launching pad for imaginative play. Finn can retreat to it for some alone time. Daddy and Finn even camped out in it one night. I use it as an extra learning space, and of course, it’s a favorite during playdates.
Looking back, I’m so glad I trusted my husband’s judgement on this one and chose play over aesthetics or fear. Moving forward, I want to remember the hideout as a sort of metaphor: I hope I can continue to choose play, imagination and memory making over practicality.