Do your kids love having their face painted (or in my kids’ case, their entire body besides their face)? Then get yourself some watercolor pencils and call it a day. Nothing beats them for basic face painting, especially when you have kids who like to DIY.
My favorite for the job are the $4 MÅLA pencils from IKEA. Just dip the sharpened end in water and get painting! The best part is the ‘paint’ just washes off with water. Pro tip – make sure to let them dry out (tip up) when done so they are easy to sharpen for the next go round.
Did you luck out with a lovely bunch of flowers for Valentine’s Day? A week on they may be ready for the compost, but don’t be too hasty throwing them away. Instead pull off the petals and use them in your tiny human’s mud kitchen.
Don’t have one? No worries. Why not set up a little potion making/cooking station inside with the petals, water, and any other natural ingredients you can find. Worried about the mess? Use a towel as a tablecloth/rug to catch all the spills.
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.
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)
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.