Family Time Calendar: DIY with Dad

Make sure the place where you spend your family time is family friendly! Here, suggestions from Eric Stromer, author of Do-It-Yourself Family: Fun and Useful Home Projects the Whole Family Can Make Together (Random House, 2006).

The rumpus room should be conducive to the whole family. It is an all-purpose room that knows no boundaries. Here are five tips to make this indoor family playground fun, productive and inviting.

1. Comfort first. Get oversize pillows that can act as seating and can also be used as crash pads for tumbling and Jerry Lewis-style pratfalls. Also, what could be better for legally thrashing a sibling than "legal" pillows? Make sure the design and fabric pattern are not too formal or expensive. Accidents will happen!

2. Fun everywhere. Make some of your wall-hanging decor functional game boards by employing colorful 12-inch carpet squares on the floor in a checkerboard pattern as a life-size game board, and transform wall space into a display area for a wacky or silly hat collection. Not only will it look fun, but it will create fun as well.

3. Fun and functional lighting. Install lighting that can dim for your kids' theatrical productions. Then, when serious work needs to happen, you can bring the lights back up. Lighting is key in the rumpus room.

4. Display with pride. When your kids start to excel creatively, physically and emotionally due to the brilliance of my rumpus room ideas, your family will require a place where all of their awards, trophies and accomplishments can be featured. I love large corkboards for this purpose. Even a sheet of cork placed on the wall with simple adhesive provides your family with an instant place to pin up the latest article about the genius-level accomplishments of your five-year-old. After all, kids love to see their accomplishments celebrated. And guess what? We do, too.


5. Feel free to laugh. The other reason I love cork is because it can dampen some of the rumpusing noise created in the rumpus room. For extra soundproofing, consider lining your room with heavy drapes from floor to ceiling, 3 to 4 inches from the wall. It's an old music studio trick to deaden the sound -- it works wonders and doesn't look half bad.

Excerpted from Do-It-Yourself Family: Fun and Useful Home Projects the Whole Family Can Make Together by Eric Stromer (Random House, 2006).

For online information about other Random House, Inc., books and authors, see its Website,

Cover design by Beverly Leung.

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