popping paint filled balloons on a canvas . put paint tape to cover the place to stencil, put paint filled balloons around canvas, pop with darts (slingshots?), let dry, use stencil to add silhouette - love it! Or do the crayon melting thing!
At the back of the dining room area you could put a wall-to-wall bookcase filled with books. If you don't have that many books you can have a display bookcase where you place nick backs, a few books, some magazine, sculptures etc.