I also posted this in MHM, but wasn't sure if I might get more ideas from here or not ... if I could find our digital camera I would post pics, but I think DH took it to work with him so until it returns or I find it around here I'm not able to take the pics ...
I am trying to decide what to do with my basement to make it more usable. It is carpeted, but has very, very small windows, several of which DH has covered with an ugly pink styrofoam to help keep the drafts down. We live in a house built in 1917 and I believe these are the original windows. My long-term goal is to put in new, larger (egress (SP?)) windows and brighten it up as much as possible, but we are soooooo broke right now, I don't see that happening for several years. Painting may be an option in the summer, but with so little ventilation and the frigid cold right now (we are in the upper midwest) I don't think I could reasonably paint it right now with my allergies and DC's asthma.
So, what I have to work with right now is a fairly large open area with white, cheap carpet and orange walls (look like they were sponge painted), very dark with only a couple tiny windows to let light in, and a section in one corner with wood laminate where I have my office area set up.
We have a TV/VCR down there but I am hoping to encourage other activities. My DC are 2 and 5 1/2 years old, the older one with autism and developmentally closer to 2 than 5. They love large motor activities so I am considering one of those inflatable bounce castles or something else to help them burn energy since their asthma and lung issues make outside play in the winter safe only on warmer days. I would also like it to be a warm, homey, inviting place to be, which right now it isn't.
Any ideas? Anyone have any great toddler-friendly structures or activity suggestions for burning lots of energy? Any suggestions for decent lighting? There are a few overhead lights but they seem to burn out insanely quick, so I think there is something up with our wiring. Also, there are only two single-socket outlets in the whole basement, one on each end, so not a lot of options for plugging in lights or anything else. I have one end probably dangerously overloaded with my office equipment, so I have a mega-power surge protector in hopes of not starting any fires, but the people that remodeled the basement right before we moved in sheetrocked over the entire room, burying everything in the process so I have no idea if or where any other outlets might be present. (We really hope to redo the whole thing, but again it will be a few years down the road.)
Thanks for any ideas!!!
Mamma to three boys : We love :::