Postcard Writing with the Amabie (the Japanese Yokai that can stave off epidemics) | #curatedquarantineideas

Day one of quarantine with the kids, and we’re (knock on wood) off to a good start. I recognize I have a huge advantage in that a) I am primarily a stay home parent, b) I homeschooled my oldest for a year, c) I am an early childhood teacher, and d) my backyard is pretty much a playground. But even with all this on my side, the reality of social isolating is daunting and a huge pressure on parents. Luckily there are amazing resources and ideas being shared all over the place for folks to do with their kids, and I thought I’d share some ideas too.

Atlas’s Amabie Postcards

Today’s activity is a simple one: postcard writing, but with a pandemic twist. ;) My dear friend Rebecca shared this amazing website which taught me about the legend of the Amabie in Japan.

“As legend has it, in the 1800s a mythical yokai appeared off the coast of Kumamoto, Japan. The Amabie, as it was called, was described as a mermaid-like creature with long hair, a beak and 3 legs. It made several predictions related to bountiful harvests and, before disappearing back into the sea, left the locals with some advice in case of an epidemic. According to records, “If an epidemic occurs, draw a picture of me and show it to everyone,” said the yokai.”

So we ran with the idea for our daily writing activity (one of the two more structured times we have scheduled). Using blank white postcards* (an easy purchase on Amazon), Atlas drew his version of an Amabie on the front of the cards (I encouraged him to reimagine it a little for every postcard). Then on the back he wrote asking his friend to send him a joke and signed his name off. We researched jokes online (which was a lot of fun) and I wrote down his favorite joke under his message, so his friend got to enjoy it too. We will find a new joke daily.

*The beauty of using postcards is that there is a nice space to draw, a small space to write (so there is no pressure to write a lot), and postcard stamps are less expansive than regular stamps.

We made a list of all the friends he would like to send a postcard to, and he chooses two a day to write to. Then he crosses them off the list once he is done. This way we can keep track of who he has already written to. :)

A Basement Climbing Wall | #mylittlehome

A couple of years ago I had a sudden late night epiphany that we should build a climbing wall in our unfinished basement, and low and behold, Thomas made it happen. As we look to finish our basement this year, we decided it was time to spruce the climbing wall up too. Out came the white paint late last night (why do we always start these things around midnight?) and the kids got into the swing of things today too. What they don’t know is that we ordered some fun new holds from Atomic Climbing Holds, are making a huge sensory hammock for play, and have monkey bar holds to add to the ceiling too. Although we have a million other projects to finish up (looking at you kitchen + bathroom), we’re suckers for the fun stuff for our little humans. Can you blame us?

The next morning the kids woke up to a whole new space for them this weekend. We’re not quite done (sensory hammock and expanded section with Swedish ladder to come), but there is plenty there now to keep them busy. Who’s coming to play? :)

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A LEGO Space in LA | #inspiredbyCPS

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I have been in full pudding mode thanks to the flu, but my dear friends in LA have been working hard to create this #inspiredbyCPS LEGO space for their (almost!) six year old son. His baby sister is now on the move and Oliver was desperate for a nook in their apartment where he could build away from interested little hands. With a few clicks on Amazon, they had the perfect place for him to build – a wall mounted shelf desk, organized LEGO storage drawers, wall shelving for displaying his creations, and artwork/lighting for aesthetics (the lightbulb in the hanging light even changes colors so Oliver can set it for “different moods” :). He was so excited at the finished product he didn’t even wait for them to clean away their tools before he started building!

Addie + Charlotte’s Play Space | January 2020

Addie and Charlotte are such creative kids, with art and craft materials to rival a professional artist. Charlotte loves American Girl Dolls, and has an enviable collection of dolls and their fashions/accessories. Both girls also love LEGOs. All of this adds up to a lot of stuff but not a lot of space to put it all. This equaled a main level play space that was overflowing and muddled with art supplies and toys, while their basement play space was being underutilized.

This is where I come in. :) Their lovely parents were keen to find ways to maximize their play spaces and create better storage and organization. They also wanted to keep with the same beautiful aeshtetic on the main level they had created with their custom pieces from Forty Third Place. Here’s what we did:

Continue reading “Addie + Charlotte’s Play Space | January 2020”

Nathan + Maren’s Play Space | December 2019

I can’t think of a better way to end the decade than by being given the privilege to create a brand new play space for two wonderful tiny humans. When I visited their home for a consult, the kids main play space was the open concept living room that connected with the kitchen. Having toys in this space works well, because it’s a great space for the kids to play when a parent is cooking and they want to be close. But the room as overflowing and with the prospect of a new play kitchen coming for the holidays, something new had to be done. The kids’s bedrooms were also jam packed with toys, most stored in way that they just weren’t being used.

The solution was creating a new play space in the finished basement, that up until now had double as holding place for things that needed storing or donating.

Continue reading “Nathan + Maren’s Play Space | December 2019”