Lego Storage

Lego storage. So often it’s just a bucket filled with a jumble of assorted pieces from sets long disassembled. This however doesn’t work for me or my Lego loving five-year-old. He has big plans and knows the pieces he wants. Finding that tiny piece in a bucket with hundreds of others is next to impossible and causes frustration, upset, and usually disinterest in the Lego itself. It’s also not much of an invitation to play in the first place.

My solution – an organized storage system with pieces sorted by color (in the tall drawers) and by type for more specific pieces (in clear sectioned trays and small drawers).

Does it take time to set up? Yes. Does it require my help at times to keep it managed. Yes. But it has changed the way he plays in such a huge positive way. He’s more autonomous and creative. There is less frustration. And he has taken more ownership of the space and works hard himself to keep it organized and clean. So was it worth the time and effort. Heck yes!

***Gorgeous photo from a recent session we had with the insanely talented Juliette Fradin.

Bottle Babies | DIY ‘toy’

Bottle Babies*!

What are they? Plastic bottles filled with colored water and (in this case) glitter, with the lids super glued closed.

What are they for? Whatever your child wants to do with them. They are great ‘heavy work’ for kids who need that extra sensory input – moving them around from place to place. They are beautiful when the sun hits them. Use them as potions in dramatic play. Pillars in the sandbox when building a castle. Sauces for the mud kitchen.

They are a wonderful open-ended material/toy that is practically free to make. Opt for attractive bottles vs your average plastic soda bottle (I used Califia Farms milk bottles for these ones). Think of your environment as the third teacher – you want what’s in it (inside and out) to be visually appealing so it draws your child in to play!

*Thanks to my son’s preschool for teaching me all about them. 🙂

Lia’s Play Space Makeover | May 2018

Lia’s play space is large and had minimal toys but needed organization, more defined spaces, and more open-ended materials to play with. Her mums also wanted a table and chair(s) for her to play and work at. Budget was a factor, but thankfully they had a lot to work with and everything else I needed could be thrifted or made.

BEFORE

AFTER

Some close-up shots of her updated kitchen, block/small world play area, ‘new’ table and chair, tiny dramatic play area – baby focussed because Lia is expecting a baby sister (bookshelf with grown-up books needed to stay in the room), and her art area with new Ikea art cart.

 

Who I am.

I am a stay-home-parent to two little boys, but in a past life I was a preschool teacher/director/art teacher with my philosophy steeped in the Reggio Emilia approach. Setting up beautiful learning/play environments was one of my favorite parts of my job, so finding ways to continue this passion has been a joy.

I am using my skills and knowledge to help parents get their kid’s space and toys under control. I can:

  • set up specific areas for children to play + learn + create
  • advise on ways to bring in more natural and open-ended materials into their play
  • create organization + storage so toys and materials have a home
  • personal shop unique open-ended + budget friendly materials
  • work to any budget
  • create play spaces inside and out
  • custom build pieces to fit your spaces (I am very lucky to have a wonderful husband who is insanely handy, and who works with me to create custom shelving, furniture, and other pieces for children)

I’m constantly amazed at 1) how many toys people have, and 2) how miserable it makes their parents, and 3) how little most of the toys are played with. Guys – you don’t have to be drowning in toys that drive you to the edge of insanity! It doesn’t take that much to get things in order and looking the way you wish it did. And it really doesn’t take very much money either – you probably have everything you need already and it just needs a little tweaking.

xx Mandy

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My babies and me, Mother’s Day 2018