For years I’ve made our household a welcoming environment for friends, family and fun. I’ve always wanted kids to feel comfortable when they come over. I would bake yummy, homemade snacks, and sometimes would have the kids help me make them.

I also created an area for arts and crafts. It’s so important for kids to use their creativity, exercising their brains to make what ever they choose and not just what they are “supposed to make.” We had crayons, paper, markers, chalkboards with different colored chalk, and a lot of play dough.  As the kids got older, I transitioned the art supplies to be more mature and sophisticated, like pastels, oil paints, beads, etc.

We would have un-birthday parties, as they do in Alice in Wonderland, celebrating with fun party paper goods, like hats and whistles.

The most fun for me was to have a prize drawer. I emptied a drawer in my kitchen and constantly stocked and restocked it with items that were simple and inexpensive. I still do it to this day, taking inventory to make sure no one will ever be disappointed. I stuff it with everything from candy to small plastic toys, little games and even bubble pop plastic that you find in boxes that are shipped so the items don’t break. Kids pull this bubble wrap out of the drawer and begin jumping on it, popping away the individual bubbles in between giggles. Is there anything more satisfying?

All the kids in my life and neighborhood know where this drawer is.  The minute they stop into our home, that is where they are headed. Its such a joy to watch them—I want them to love the simple things!