The Play Room

Toddler Talk: The Cottage

His very own (cardboard) space

Filed Undercrafts, decorating

Something happens when your little one transitions from baby to toddler: The gifts get bigger and louder and messier. And because toddlers are finally starting to get excited about ripping open presents, gift-givers understandably want to give them the kind of toys that light up their little faces—despite the size and noise and mess.

So we have finger paints, life-size dolls, and every instrument known to man—maracas, guitars, a full-size drum set, an electric drum set, and even one of those retro triangle instruments that he likes to clang while marching around the house.

But some of the gifts have surprised me—and our giant cardboard house is the perfect example.

I’m all for recyclable toys and creative art projects, so when my 2-year-old son opened his cardboard house gift, I appreciated the artistic and imaginative aspects. It’s just that this thing is monstrous. And in our space-challenged apartment, I had no idea where we’d park it. (Even folded down, it didn’t fit in any of our closets.)

And so we found an awkwardly placed home smack-dab in the middle of the apartment, and he was happy.

So happy that he spent countless hours quietly painting and coloring—both by himself and as a regular weekend family project—before “moving in.” He shuffled in his toddler-sized chair, then his stuffed friends, until I’d regularly find him creating his own little world inside of that not-so-little house.

It was his personal space; a space that he, quite literally, created.

Something happens when your little one transitions from baby to toddler. They’re suddenly able to discover their own joy and develop their own interests—and when that happens, the size and the noise and the mess? It just doesn’t matter.

You can buy the My Very Own House Cottage from Toys ‘R Us for $30.

What Is the Play Room?

At we believe that playing is the best way for toddlers to learn and grow. The folks who make LEGO® DUPLO® products agree. With their help, we've been able to gather all of our play-and-learn content in one place so that busy moms of toddlers can find inspiration when they need it. We hope you find something here to keep your toddler happy and engaged for the full length of his or her attention span—however brief that may be!

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