This winter we decided that each month starting with November we will tackle a new room to continue simplifying life. As a family we will clean, repair, de-clutter and organize each room only keeping what we really want or need. We want to use all that we own and keep it in good repair. The more stuff you have the harder that gets. We live in an old home so some repairs and paint are needed this winter. We also have limited closet space so we are evaluating how best to store the items we want to keep so they are handy to use.
So in the mean time I will show you what Eli's play area looks like. Having a baby at 43 and having a 16 year old and a 12 year old already; I can say I am wiser about many things. One of them being toys. After my second child I learned that a cardboard box and some washable markers could be more fun then expensive electronics. So when we found out I was pregnant last year we decided that this child would be raised more like we were. Simple things like riding bike, playing in the dirt, building tents inside on rainy days and forts outside on long summer days was what we did.... was what made us who we are today. Imaginative, creative, grateful for simple things, not afraid to get dirty to get the job done..... working towards something we could be proud of. But what does that look like when a child is so young. Simple toys that excite the senses and fuel the imagination. Child size items for everyday chores. Below are photos of Eli's play area in our living room. We live in a small home(1500 sq ft) so the living room acts as school room, family room, play room and office.
|This is our reading/nursing corner, all the children's school books, play area and basket of blankets/pillows.|
|Here is a close up of his play area. Eli has three shelves with toys and books. He also has a basket next to our bed since he co-sleeps with us.|
|This basket contains colorful toys. The wooden toys have movement, some are shakers and in the bottom are colorful links that we snap together.|
|This basket contains high quality animals. We have a bigger bin of them but for this age we put out this small basket to explore. Many are black and white but some are momma and baby.|
|The soft basket is one of my favorites. It contains some small dolls, a small blanket, a soft book, a small silk bag and some finger puppets.|
|The natural basket contains Montessori wooden baby toys, two rattles, a soft brush, and some teething rings.|
|I love these wooden stacking bowls! They are high quality. We play with them by filling them with other toys for Eli to empty. He loves when we stack them for him to knock down. |
|The bottom shelf contains some first sounds blocks, shape sorter, Two metal bowls, textured plastic balls, a few large piece puzzles, and some soft toys like the crocheted stacking baskets.|
As we get new toys and he grows out of some of these then we will change them out. Under our ottoman is a bin of blocks/stackers and a bin of animals. These shelves will change as he grows. As Eli's area of exploration expands to other rooms then we will very purposefully add items for him to participate in everyday life. In the kitchen we will add a little wooden kitchen and cleaning tools. In the bathroom a seat reducer and tray of Eli's hygiene tools. His clothes are kept in a basket to make it easy to teach him how to dress himself. We will have a water and sand play area in the garden. Next spring we have plans to build a tree fort with slide, rock wall, swing and stairs to share with his brother.
So now that you see our main play area can you see how simple it is to teach clean-up! It is not overwhelming for me or for him. It is a joy to play, sort and learn together.
Below a few links to some favorites sites.
Wonderful wooden toys made by Grimm of Germany but also lots made right here in the USA. Also the small baskets for storing toys were purchased here- http://www.atoygarden.com/
I also like to buy wooden toys on etsy.com to finish myself.... I will share that in a future post.
Amazon also has lots of wonderful toys and books.
Not just toys but tools for everyday life and educational materials. http://www.forsmallhands.com/
This site also has a great blog with healthy recipes and fun ideas. I love their book and browsing the seasonal catalogs. http://imaginechildhood.com/