Nicole Cole

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Hi! I'm Nicole. I am a wife, mom of two boys, and early childhood education expert. Through my platform I teach parents and caregivers how to engage in play based learning while maintaining an organized home. I share tips and tricks, DIYs, product recommendations, and every day hacks to make parenting easier. Over the years, I have grown an organic and engaged audience of 50,000+ parents, teachers, and caregivers. I am know for my ability to tell cohesive stories through short video, meaningfully engage with diverse communities, and inform through sharing simple and practical play and organization ideas. I look forward to connecting.

Member Since JULY 24, 2021
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On today’s IG Live I did the first in a two part series all about toy rotations! Specifically, I discussed the “what” and “how to get started.” Some key points that I discussed: ✨ Before starting any rotation system, take inventory of what you have! You don’t want to rotate through toys that are broken, missing pieces, or simply unused. ✨ Consider keeping 1 - 2 central toys or materials for an extended period of time. Resist the urge to rotate so frequently that children become disoriented. ✨Completely rotating an entire play space to often can be disorienting for children. Instead consider rotating supporting or helper toys and keeping the main items the same for an extended period of time. ✨ Set reminders for what you have stored. Choose different intervals and have them sent to your phone or computer. This way you won’t forget what you have, leaving items unused for extended periods of time. Take a look and make sure to check back next week when I show our toy rotation in action! Be sure to check out all 7 episodes in the playroom organization series for even more tips. If this was helpful, let me know in the comments and share with a friend! #polishedplayhouse #organizedplayroom #thehomeedit #getorganized #toyrotation #toyrotations #organizedhome #playroomgoals #playroominspo #playroomdecor #thecontainerstore

Norman Didn’t Do It …. and J didn’t either! 🌳 #ad If you’ve been here for a while, you may remember the inspiration for our mud kitchen came after J literally dug up a chunk of the yard making mud pies 🙃 Can anyone relate? Insert Norman Didn’t Do It! by New York Times bestselling author @ryan_t._higgins. This fun @disneybooks picture book tells the story of Norman the porcupine and his best friend Mildred who is a tree. Find out what happens when Norman feels his friendship with Mildred is threatened. Mistakes will be made, and spoiler alert: J can relate. This book was filled with hilarious twists and turns, all while presenting the complexities of friendship in a way that is accessible to young readers. Head to my stories and swipe up for your copy. How about you? Any other little landscapers in your homes? Let me know in the comments! #normandidntdoit #polishedplayhouse #yeskidsbookstagram #kidsbookstagram #kidlit #childrensbooks #childrensbookstagram

Today I shared some of my favorite baskets/bins I use for organizing our play space. For organizing, use solutions that are: ✨ Open - place large items like blocks or vehicles directly on the shelf of a storage unit. ✨ See through - plastic, acrylic, or wire baskets work best. When children can see what’s inside they can quickly find the items they are looking for. Deep baskets can hide items and cause overwhelm as children pull everything out looking for their favorite toy. ✨ Shallow - low rope baskets are perfect. These work especially well for babies. They are light-weight, hold only a few items, and can easily be transported between rooms. For storing, I also suggest using plastic containers that you can see inside or deeper baskets with DIY labels using painters tape. If you use large baskets/bins for storing be sure to pre-sort small items using smaller bins, pencil cases, or mesh bags. Take a look and if this was helpful let me know in the comments. Be sure to share with a friend ✨ #polishedplayhouse #getorganized #organizedhome #thecontainerstore #ikeastorage #targetdollarspot #bullseyesplayground #thehomeedit #organizedwithkids #playroominspo #playroomgoals #playroomdecor

Happy Friday ✨ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Welcome to my new followers! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ My name is Nicole. Proud Michigander currently living in Maryland after 8 years in Washington, DC. I am a boy mom to two amazing little guys who are the inspiration for much of what I share here. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Order is a form of self-care for me. I’m not doing it for the gram, I’m doing it for my sanity. I’ll probably never get a handle on the laundry but dirty dishes make my soul weary. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I have worked in education my entire career. 13 years now. I’ll share my professional expertise here and there but this account centers joy over any philosophy. Take what works leave what doesn’t. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’ve sown a lot into this account and community over the years and am in my reaping season. Lots more to come. Thank you for being here ❤️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #polishedplayhouse #earlyyears #earlylearning #teachermom #learningathome #handsonlearning #playbasedlearning

🧺🧺🧺 Today I’m sharing tips on how to maximize a shared family or living room space for play. Here are a few of the tips: 1. Embrace and Accept the space that you have. This is the central belief for all of these videos. Use what you have. Children fundamentally know how to play. Space should not be a limitation. 2. Use existing furniture w/ storage to seamlessly incorporate toys into your space. These furniture pieces can be tv cabinets, sideboards, storage benches, ottomans etc. Use large baskets if space is limited. 3. Always sort. Using deep storage like furniture or baskets can lead to the black hole effect. Which can lead to toys being thrown together and possibly broken or lost. Sort using pencil cases, small bins, or mesh bags. 4. Use a rolling cart if space is very limited. Use the cart as a mobile playroom. Tuck it away in a section of the room or closet when it’s not in use. 5. Use rugs to create temporary or flexible zones. Also, by positioning baskets, carts, trays around the room you allow children to move freely throughout the space within the perimeter that you create. Thanks to everyone who joined! If you didn’t, take a look and let me know in the comments if this was helpful. Don’t forget to share with a friend. We’ll be back next week! #polishedplayhouse #organizationhacks #organizationideas #playroominspo #playroominspiration #playroomgoals #playathome #getorganized #thecontainerstore

In today’s video, I’m sharing tips for how to organize and maintain a small dedicated play space. 1. Accept and embrace the space that you have. If you don’t have space for it. Don’t buy it. Children know how to play. As adults we can set them up for success despite limitations on space. 2. Center the play space around one central storage unit or piece of furniture. Purchase items that are easily stored in this unit. This can be a cube shelf, you chest, storage ottoman etc. 3. Utilize vertical space. In a small space, it’s easier to go up than it is to go out. Capitalize on wall space through photo ledges, baskets with brackets, and bulletin boards. 4. Where possible use furniture that is collapsible. A foldable TV tray can function in the same way as sensory or activity table. The central idea here is to work with what you have and create systems that allow for the space to be easily maintained. Next week I’ll be talking about small spaces again. Specifically for instances where you do not have a designated play space. I’ll be sharing tips and tricks for utilizing communal spaces like family rooms and bedrooms. I’ll also be sharing a few renter friendly options. If this was helpful let me know in the comments, and be sure to share with anyone who could use these tips. See you next week Sunday at 3:00PM EST for part 2 ❤️ #polishedplayhouse #organizedplayroom #playroominspo #playroominspiration #playroomgoals #getorganized #playathome #projectjunior #kidsinteriors #montessoriathome #thecontainerstore

🥭🍑🍓🍊 The warmer weather means more time outdoors and the perfect opportunity for me to sneak away for a few minutes to myself. I am still loving these delicious Fruit Twisters from @Popsicle. They are the perfect creamy mix of real fruit and real milk. I’ve tried all three delicious flavors and can’t choose a favorite. I’m leaning toward the Mango, Strawberry & Vanilla Swirl. It reminds me of a delicious drink I used to get with my dad as a child. Head to my stories to learn more about each flavor and then come back and let me know which combo sounds like you! #PopsiclePartner #PopsicleTwister

PK Promise 🍎✏️📚 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This guy is headed to PK in a few days and recently made a PK Promise inspired by the book “I Promise” from Lebron James. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We painted a canvas using different colors inspired by the cover art, added his picture, and I wrote out the promise he dictated to me. Here it is, “I promise to take turns and build with my friends.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Have you read this book? I love the easy to understand and clear message and beautiful images. If you make any promises with your children, I’d love to see them 🥰 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ For more Back to School book and activity inspiration, check out the amazing accounts below: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @funfamacademy @lifewithmylittleone @caitlinparkerladd ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #polishedplayhouse #kidsbookstagram #kidlit #bookishplay #backtoschoolcrafts #craftymama #preschoolactivity #processartforkids #creativekids #invitationtocreate #affirmationsforkids #childrensbooks

You all know we spend a lot of time at this table painting and creating! It feels great when I can get a few minutes out here by myself to relax with a refreshing frozen treat. These Fruit Twisters from @Popsicle come in three delicious flavors and are made with real fruit and real milk. They are the perfect year-round treat and my new go-to for the summer months. Have you tried these yet? Head to my stories for a direct link to find the Popsicle Twisters in your area. #PopsicleTwister #PopsiclePartner

Play Closet Throwback ✨ I’m dedicating today’s post to our beloved “play closet.” Before we set up the play room in the basement, we set up this walk-in closet as a play space. After everything moved downstairs, we planned to transform it into a more traditional closet and storage space. Many of the products we planned to use have been sold out for MONTHS but are starting to come back in stock 🙌🏾 Just as I’m starting to think about being the “play closet” back 😬 Swipe for the before. The window is original just blocked by the door in the before shot ✨ #polishedplayhouse #thehomeedit #playroomdecor #playroomgoals #playroominspo #projectnursery #beforeandafterhomeedition #kidsinteriors #projectjunior

Not So Small Victories ✨ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ One week ago I publicly launched my rebranded book box business @sunshadesbox. I’ve spent the last week overwhelmed by your support, overwhelmed with should of/could of/would ofs, and already thinking about what’s next. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The “what’s next” can be tricky. It’s great to think ahead. Trust me, I’m a planner. I get it. But, you can get lost there and lose sight of how well you’re doing. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This week I’m going to do a better job of celebrating my “small” victories. I’ll start by calling them what they are. Victories. Nothing small. Just victories. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I want to encourage you to do the same ✨ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Also. Check out my operations and packing assistant! He’s ready to get the September boxes packed up and shipped out. Subscribe by August 19th for the September box ☀️📚 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #sunshadesbox #earlyyearsideas #kidssubscriptionbox #billybookcase #childrensbookstagram #kidsbookstagram #targetdollarspot #bullseyesplayground #organizedhome

Introducing Sunshades Book Box Co.™️☀️📚 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’m so excited to share the official launch of my book based subscription company Sunshades Book Box Co. The “sun” represents the joy found in the stories we read and the “shades”represents the diversity of the characters, authors, and illustrators. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Sunshades is a monthly book based activity box for children ages 3 - 5 years old. Each box features: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ☀️ One hardcover picture book featuring diverse characters, written by diverse authors, and/or illustrated by diverse illustrators. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ☀️ Materials to complete two enriching activities based on the book. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ☀️One featured product from a BIPOC owned business. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Sunshades began as an extension of this account in February 2021. In five short months over 350 families have shared diverse stories with their children through our boxes. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Th boxes are now available as 1, 3, or 6 month subscriptions. Head to to subscribe to receive the inaugural box on or before SEPTEMBER 1st. I’d love to have you join the Sunshades family today ☀️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ As an added bonus, by signing up for our newsletter you will also receive a FREE Summer Reading Challenge designed by my friend Belinda at @pictureitpossible. You will be prompted to join on the site. Check your email if you’re already subscribed to the list 🥰 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Swipe for past boxes and head over to @sunshadesbox to follow as we share joyful stories for diverse readers! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #sunshadesbox #kidsbookstagtam #bookstagram #kidlit #childrensbooks #raiseareader #readingathome #littlebooklover #earlyyears #handsonlearning #processartforkids #montessoriinspired #bookishplay #kidssubscriptionbox

This is the 3rd episode in our play space series. This week we talked about collaboration and conflict in shared play spaces. The big thing here is to MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS: Understanding the types/stages of play will help you set realistic and developmentally appropriate expectations for your children. Conflict is inevitable. We can limit but not prevent it. Modeling, using open-ended toys, and positively framing expectations can help. Take a listen and let me know what challenges you’re having and which tip you will be implementing in your shared play space this week. This video was uploaded in two parts. You can view the second part in my IGTV.

Sharing Space Part 2 ✨ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Last Sunday during my IG LIVE I shared tips for setting up a shared play space. I specifically talked about safety and accessibility. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This week Sunday at 3pm EST I’ll be back with part two! I will be talking about the social emotional benefits and challenges of a mixed age shared play space. The conversation will be centered around two big buckets. Collaboration and conflict. Hope to see you there! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ You can view last week’s episode in my IGTV, along with the first episode all about getting started with decluttering and organizing a play space. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ * I set Shy up with a few toys while J worked on a sensory kit at the counter. This is another example of the zones I discussed in last week’s episode.* ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #polishedplayhouse #organizedhome #playroominspo #playroominspiration #playroomgoals #playathome #handsonlearning #earlyyears #openendedtoys #playbasedlearning #montessoriinspired #teachermom #kitchensofinstagram

Today I’m sharing tips for shared play spaces. Our space is shared between a 1 year old and a four year old. Today’s episode centered on: Safety - Making sure all items in the space are safe for all children. Accesibility - Make sure children have access to items they are interested in by creating “zones.” Each zone should be centered around 1 - 2 items they are interested in. This will attract them to the area where you have placed the toys developmentally designed for them. The goal is attraction not containment. Next week I’ll talk more about shared spaces from the social-emotion lens of building collaboration and teamwork. Take a listen and let me know which tip you’ll implement in your shared space this week! #polishedplayhouse #playroomgoals #playroominspo #playroominspiration #playroomdesign #playroomdecor #organizedhome #organizedwithkids

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