Five Things All Parents Should Buy From IKEA

The Fall of 2014 was a historic one here in Kansas City. Who can forget he Royals ending their 28-season playoff drought, coming back from behind several times in that incredible Wild Card game, and then making it all the way to the final out in Game 7 of the World Series. But something else happened before all of that. Something that would change our lives for the better, enhance our homes, our wallets, and — depending on your feelings about little meatballs dipped in lingonberry sauce — our stomachs. Yes, I’m talking about the opening of the metro’s very own IKEA store.

It had been years since I last set foot in an IKEA, our closest one nearly seven hours away. While IKEA furnished my first apartment and was the destination of many road trips in college, it now held an entirely different value as a parent. Four years later, I am still discovering amazing new things all the time, especially things that benefit me as a parent of young children. Here are my top five!

1. Picture Frames

My house is covered in photos of my kids and if you don’t like it, blame IKEA! They have dozens of sizes and styles of nice-looking frames that cost a fraction of what you’d pay anywhere else. If only IKEA had come to Kansas City before I was given an expensive wedding photo frame that was knocked off a shelf and broken during a recent toddler tantrum (literally over spilled milk, if you’re wondering). RIP, Kate Spade frame. Hello, LOMVIKEN.

2. Plastic Tableware

Kids love rainbow colored things. They also love (well, need) to eat. IKEA has combined these into the perfect tableware for children that is also dirt cheap. IKEA plates are also both microwave and dishwasher safe. Those melamine character plates that, by the way, are NOT cheap, aren’t even microwave safe. Half of what my kids eat are reheated leftovers. Most of the vegetables that they eat are frozen and require microwaving. Plus, we found out the hard way that they are pretty easily breakable. My daughter has still not forgiven my husband for stepping on and destroying her beloved Thomas plate. Never mind what it was doing on the floor.

3. Photo Ledges

I have a bunch of these and none of them are used to hold photos. My favorite use is as a customizable kids bookshelf. My plan to buy that pretty, but overpriced and low-capacity Pottery Barn Kids bookshelf was quickly dashed as soon as I started seeing IKEA photo ledge bookshelves pop up on Pinterest. They’re cheap, take up very little space, and can hold as many or as few books as you like. Honorable mention to IKEA’s spice racks that can serve the same purpose.

4. Kids Tables and Chairs

I bought a pricy little wooden table and chairs before IKEA opened. Then I replaced it with a prettier, larger, much cheaper, and much more easily cleanable plastic table and chair set from IKEA. Now I only use the wooden set when we’re having a party. Don’t buy the wooden set. Unless it’s from IKEA, maybe. This category also includes the adorable kids picnic table. It’s only $40, and it’s incredibly sturdy. Trust me, I’ve seen multiple children jumping on it at once without a crack. Don’t ask.

My kids enjoying snacks on our RESÖ on the back patio. One is definitely about to climb it. It’s still intact.

5. Craft Supplies

We still have an ugly, dated, plastic Crayola easel just wasting space in the play room. It also cost like $60 and the chalkboard portion is garbage. I can’t wait for an excuse to get the cute, wooden $20 IKEA version. I already have IKEA’s big roll of craft paper, paint brushes, and ice tray that I use for paint. I also need to get their $4 art smock (and will someone tell me if their paint and markers are washable? I can’t read Swedish and also can’t risk it!).

Any other IKEA lovers out there with recommendations for kids? Or adults? I’d love to hear them!

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