Mirrors | #curatedPSA + #unexpectedtoys

You might have noticed that I use mirrors in all my installs – inside and out. Aesthetically, they are an easy and inexpensive way to make your space feel bigger and brighter. I love adding large mirrors on walls opposite windows to reflect light, over desks and work spaces, or hung low to the ground so our small humans can watch themselves play and learn (side note – all kids love looking at themselves in the mirror).

A long or full length mirror is also essential for your dramatic play nook (how else can you admire yourself post dress-ups?).

Outside I often hang mirrors over/around sandboxes and mud kitchens, but you can choose to hang anywhere where you want to add a little more dimension.

You can look to thrift a large (my general go-to) or get something simple like the NISSEDAL mirror from IKEA.

I also love to use small mirrors in play. You can buy acrylic mirror sheets, which are non breakable and make a really lovely play surface – for inside and out (note they will eventually get scratched). I’ve also used smaller square mirror sheets to create mirrored trays for a more portable play surface/display case.

I also keep a couple of table top/hand mirrors with my art cart. They are great when drawing portraits or for adding a new dimension to still life artworks. You can also use the acrylic mirror sheets as a washable canvas.

Minimizing toys – how to do it with (and without) your kids! | #curatedpsa

Get your tiny humans involved in the sorting and organizing, just give them parameters!

In my experience the majority of children are not keen to part with their things. I know the general thought in this post Marie Kondo world is to have them involved with the purging, but I can guarantee you that every single toy will bring them joy (even the ones they haven’t played with in over a year). So, what to do? You want to downsize but your small human belongs on an episode of Hoarders.

Here’s a couple of recommendations:

  • A simple way to downsize and have your children involved is to have a set container/basket side for things. For example the stuffies (because everyone has too many) – if they don’t fit in the designated basket then they don’t get to stay. You’re giving your child control but with very clear perimeters. They may still need help talking through letting go, and almost certainly they won’t choose the toys you would keep, but it is a really easy way to downsize with your child’s help.
  • The other step, is to purge while the kids are away (be brutal, like for realz). Start boxing/bagging up toys you know they don’t use anymore and put them out of sight. I can guarantee they won’t notice anything but their play space feeling easier to play in. If they haven’t been desperately missed in a couple of weeks, donate away!
  • When purging, low hanging fruit are toys that come with kids meals and all the plastic crap you get at birthday parties. Unless your kids have a huge attachment to them, these should go. Toys your kids have aged out of using is another easy one to remove.
  • Make sure not to forget books (this one can be hard, I get it). Start with books you hate reading (we all have them), books that were gifted and nobody enjoys, and books they are too old to read anymore. Little Free Libraries make donating books so easy and anxiety free.
  • Finally, find a task you can do together. At my last install, the five year old of the house was very keen to get involved. We sat together and worked intently for over an hour sorting beads, craft materials, and testing old markers to see if they still worked (which ultimately meant minimizing materials). Being involved helped her feel ownership to the new space and made it easier for her to see how having an organized, cleaner, more minimal space made it easier to play and created.

Heavy Work for Kids

Let’s talk about ‘heavy work’. 💪 Heavy work is any activity that requires you to put pressure on your muscles and joints as they are moving. During yesterday’s playgroup, there was some brilliant heavy work happening as the kids worked together to load up and push a wheelbarrow full of big rocks, which then transitioned to loading up and pulling each other around in a wagon. 🙂

“Heavy work helps your child in more ways than one. Aside from helping your child to feel calm and self-regulate, it also improves clarity and alertness, extends attention span, aids body awareness, and strengthens muscles.” (via Connections Therapy Center)

To trampoline or not to trampoline?

To trampoline or not to trampoline? A solid question for those with kids and yard space. I never thought we would be a trampoline family (although childhood me would have been so disappointed – how I longed for one as a kid). However two years ago a neighbor opened our back gate and rolled over a small old trampoline they no longer needed and we were sold. This one had no net and more than once my kids bounced with a little too much enthusiasm and…. 🙈. But my boys LOVED it and on days when energy was high (my oldest is 100% the energizer bunny), I would just send them outside to bounce and burn it off.

Fast forward to six months ago and this same family was moving overseas and looking to part with their springless trampoline. We jumped on the chance to upsize and found ourselves rolling over a much larger new friend (while a new family came and rolled away with our old one). During play dates and playgroup, it is the hot destination for multiple friends. Watching them learn to negotiate the space and use their bodies in new coordinated ways is a joy (and quite humorous) to watch.

So if you’re on the fence and wondering whether you should jump in (pun intended), my vote is a resounding yes!

Interested in learning more about the benefits of trampolining for kids? Visit here and here to read more!

Thrifting with kids | #curatedpsa

Dropped my first post-holiday load of things at the thrift store and popped inside to look for some more storage options for a play space I am installing this week. A quick browse turned into the motherlode (most of which was for me 🙈). Lots of retro linens for my boys’ beds, wool blankets for when we sit around the fire, plus a vintage blanket for our bed. Annnnd a few things for play spaces too, which totally justified the trip in the first place. 😉

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Note how at home my boys make themselves there – haha. A little #curatedpsa, I’ve found by saying yes to a toy or some books (always our first stop when we arrive), it makes the whole thrifting with kids things a breeze (and only costs me a couple of dollars – #everyonewins).