Scarves | #unexpectedtoys

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A lovely way to add some color to your play space is with scarves – today’s edition of #unexpectedtoys. Easy to thrift and available in allllll the colors, shapes, sizes, and fabrics, they are the perfect addition to all sorts of play. In small world/block play, they can become rivers, beaches, snow on a mountain, a roof for a building, or a blanket for a tired animal. In dramatic play they can be turned into capes, aprons, dresses, hats, tails, and long hair. Add them to your music area and they are the perfect accessory for dancing during jam sessions. We keep a basket in our play space and I always like to add one to the spaces I help curate too. Just make sure to steam/iron out the wrinkles every now and then to keep them looking inviting.

Mini Makeovers (LEGO edition)

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Sometimes folks hire me for a full play space makeover and sometimes they just need help with one aspect of their space. Lots of times that aspect is LEGO. I’ve written about LEGO organization before, but this is kind of my crack (it’s a little embarrassing how excited it makes me). The best way I have found to organize LEGO is by color and specialty pieces. This way it’s easy to find the pieces if your child wants to build a set and it makes free building a breeze too.

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BEFORE

I’ll often find folks store all their LEGOs in one big box (*shudder*), but that does make it easy for me to scoop it up, bring it home, and get things organized. So if you’re looking for a little LEGO sanity, or even the perfect gift for the kid who has it all (the holidays are upon us), shoot me a message to get the magic started! ⋒ Swipe to see the LEGO before pic!

Gemstones + Crystals | #unexpectedtoys

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GEMSTONES + CRYSTALS are this week’s #unexpectedtoys. 1) They are eclectic, beautiful, and they bring good vibes to your space (all the wins). 2) They are a lovely play invitation (who can resist?), open-ended and can be used in lots of fun ways in play. My boys have used them:

  • in their play kitchen as candy and other food,
  • in small world play as treasure,
  • as a fine motor tools (they love to pick them up with tongs and place them into containers and jars); and
  • as trash in their big rubbish truck.

I’ve bought them from Amazon, Energy Muse (these ones are for me, but somehow my kids always seem to claim them), and we’ve found they are often in gift shops when we travel (a much better option than plastic junk that is just going to be tossed).
So do your kids and your chakras a favor, and add a little gemstone magic to your home/play space. ✨

Sneak Peek | Evie + John’s new play space

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A sneak peek of a fun play space we finished installing today. The family had recently moved into a new home and were trying to find ways to entice their kids down to the basement play space. The bunk bed from their old house was being used for play (and storage 😉 in the room, so we repurposed it by adding a railing up top to create a loft. The bottom became a cozy reading nook with added bookshelves, reading lamp, and twinkle lights. My most favorite addition however is the pulley system in the loft, which is controlled with the turn of a ship’s steering wheel. And at the end of the rope is a basket for all your little ones treasures (of course)!

Squeeze Pouch Caps | #unexpectedtoys

In a new section we’re calling #unexpectedtoys, I am going to share some of my favorite everyday items I love to include as toys in play spaces. Today’s unexpected toy is (🥁drumroll please) SQUEEZE POUCH CAPS. I prefer the round variety, but it’s whatever takes your fancy. 🙂

They are plentiful (my kids love anything in a pouch), colorful, and super open-ended. Right now we’re using our cap collection in our play kitchen as food (they are great to pick up with tongs and spin in a salad spinner). They sometimes find themselves in small world play as stepping stones, rocks, or treasure. We use them as a tool with clay and play dough. They are perfect in a low mess mud kitchen as an ingredient to add to stews. The possibilities are literally endless.

So the next time your kids are binging on apple sauce pouches, give the caps a rinse, put them out as a play invitation, and see where the magic takes them.

Play spaces are not stagnant spaces!

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BEFORE the play space ‘shelf shuffle’
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AFTER the play space ‘shelf shuffle’

You’ve worked your peach off and your tiny human’s play space is Insta worthy and beautifully organized. Bravo! Sit back and reap the rewards of watching your child play, engage, and not need you for awhile. 😉 But here’s the thing – remember that this space is not stagnant, and as your child grows and their interests change, so should their play space. You’ll probably know when it’s time too. Their interest in the space will wane, their need for you during play will grow, and you hear the dreaded “I’m bored” more and more.

  • You don’t have to go all out and replace and move around furniture (although it is true when they say change is as good as a holiday – haha), but you do need to be changing out toys, rearranging toy/materials layout to encourage and revitalize interest, and setting up new play invitations.
  • This can happen nightly when you do your space refresh (especially creating new play invitations – think setting up a train track for your child to find when they wake up).
  • Weekly – think the next time your child pulls everything off the shelves, instead of putting it back where it was, switch things up so new items are at their eye level.
  • Or monthly – pull and store some old toys, and bring out ones you had put away. And just like that, your play space stays fresh and full of life! 🙂

End your day with a quick play space refresh (your kids will thank you)!

The kids are asleep and you’re ready to turn in too, when you walk past their play space and realize your darling babies did not do a very effective job cleaning up. The temptation of course is to walk past and let them deal with it in the morning, buuuuuut I have another suggestion. Stop and spend the time cleaning up and setting out play invitations for the morning.

  • Don’t just dump things into the nearest basket, but spend the time to sort and put things away in their correct home.
  • Make sure the baskets and shelves are inviting and their play kitchen doesn’t resemble the aftermath of a huge dinner party.
  • Run the vacuum over the floor – guaranteed there are traces of snack and play still afoot.

Because here’s the thing, when your child wakes up in the morning and sees a beautiful clean space with inviting play invitations (think the start of a block tower, or a tea party set up at their little table) they are 1000 times more likely to want to play and engage with the space, which in turn increases your chances of extra sleep and a little time to spend on yourself. #everyonewins