Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New month, new theme: Connecting Families Through Creative Play

Phew, that blogging from A to Z was something...

I look forward to reflecting on it in longer form soon, but today is the start of new month, and I so enjoyed blogging on a theme in April that I thought I would do it again in May.  My first inclination was to work through 31 Days to Clean, but fortunately something else landed in my inbox and saved me from, you know, cleaning.  Because as much as I like having a clean house (I do! I swear!), I like playing way more.  So, without further ado...

Connecting Families Through Creative Play E-Course: Day 1 - Play Spaces

Someday, I would love to have a play room.  For now, though, our house is 1,100 square feet, with a separate basement apartment rented by someone else.  So, for us, the living room is our main indoor place space.  In my experience, most city mamas like me also have to make their living/family rooms do double duty.  And even though it would be nice to have a dedicated play room, a multipurpose space has its advantages.  For one, it gives the sense that the house belongs to all of us, and we need to share our space.  Also, it cuts down on the number of toys because there simple isn't room for too many.  Also, it is much harder to just "let it go", clutter-wise, which can be a pain in the short-term but is probably better overall.

So, now for the tour.  Please direct your attention to my lovely graphic above (thanks, picmonkey!).  All of the small bits I have highlighted around the border reside in the living room.  Counterclockwise from the bottom we have:
1) In front of our faux fireplace is a play kitchen from Value Village ($7) and a shopping cart that survived Kurt's childhood and made a reappearance thanks to the Grandparents.  The cart is sometimes swapped out for a different moving toy (doll stroller, car, etc.)
2) To the left of the couch are the toys with many pieces.  Right now, there is a box of Duplos, a wooden train set and an old school Little People garage.  Elijah (aged 2) knows that only one of these toys can be out at a time.
3) At the top of a tall bookshelf, I keep the "messy" toys - play dough, rice, plastic Easter eggs and the like.  These are available upon request, and Elijah usually plays with them at the dining room table.
4) Ah, Elijah's instruments.  These are perhaps the most frequently played with toys at our house.  Some are homemade, some are thrifted and some were gifts.  All are much loved.
5) Books, books, books.  There are books all over our house.  This box is reserved for library books as well as those in heavy rotation at the moment.
(Not  pictured) To the right of the couch is a catch-all toy box.  It's not my favorite thing to have, but it is necessary for balls, toy cars and baby toys for Isabel (6 months).  I figure as long as it doesn't get full to overflowing, I can live with it.

Also, as of today, we have the space shown above, previously occupied by a giant, broken TV belonging to our landlord.   Hooray!  Oh, the possibilities...

And that is pretty much it for the toys in our house, except for bath toys and stuffed animals.  There are a few other things in "storage" (aka on the top bunk in Izzy's room).  And we can't forget the one thing that Elijah can't live without...

...which, of course, resides in his bedroom. 

So, that's it!  Tell me about your play spaces.  I am always looking for new ideas.  And thanks to Kat and Gina for putting this awesome e-course together!  I look forward to blogging about it all month long.

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