My Atlas is an early riser but the rest of us are not. The temptation is always to wake us, so in an attempt to earn a little more sleep, we’ve started setting very intentional play invitations for him to wake up to. Plus snacks! ;) This one was left for him and a buddy who slept over. It only took me a couple of minutes to set out, but it bought us quiet until after 7am! #winwin
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? :)
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.
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”
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. ;)
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).