feedback & Can I see photos of your preschoolers/kindergarteners playarea/playroom? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 19 Old 05-23-2007, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure if this goes here... I'm trying to get ideas for my children's play and work space in our new home.

We actually won't be homeschooling although I would very much love to, so I try to be as active as I can right now. DH is an elementary teacher so they'll go to his school...

I've decided to break down into 'zones' - we don't have a designated playroom yet so I'll have to divide things up a bit.

I want to incorporate the following zones into our home:

Manipulatives
toolbox
puzzles
letter tracing boards
etc.

Imaginative
play stand?
puppets
dollhouse
zoo animals
barnyard animals
dress up
subcategory: Kitchen and housekeeping (perhaps in another area of the house
wooden stove, fridge, sink
play food
pots/pans/dishes
mini housekeeping supplies & storage rack

nearby, Doll play
waldorf dolls
doll clothes
washbasin
drying rack and clothes pins
doll beds, highchairs, stroller

Arts and Crafts and Collections
art easel
art cart with paints, crayons, playclay, etc.
boxes for collecting stuff
'workbooks'
crafty stuff

Books
I'm making 'shelves' out of quarter-round moulding that will run in horizontal rows all the way up one wall in each of my kids' rooms, the books face out.

Music
Schylling toy piano
drums
other percussion stuff
woodwind stuff
guitar

Vehicles
DS's precious train table
other push cars

Computer
The kids have their own computer, I'll put it in an armoire in the living room.

What am I leaving out? My dd really needs some direction and order - she can't just be told to go 'play' as she just gets too distracted, and she's not very good at 'pretending' on her own. I think this organization will help her and myself move her around to different 'zones' so she'll get the benefit of a variety of play. Also, everything will have it's own place and won't get into a jumbled up mess, and we can make an effort to put things away every time we're finished playing!

Input?

I'd love to see photos of your spaces!
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#2 of 19 Old 05-23-2007, 08:55 PM
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Moved to The Childhood Years...

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#3 of 19 Old 05-24-2007, 08:04 AM
 
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I've noticed with ds that he plays with his toys more often and longer when there are fewer of them. I'm a little surprised at the number of things you have listed. I can't imagine my ds would get around to so many things. It would take him months, at least. Whenever we get new toys, ds chooses a couple to give away so we don't get overloaded. We tend to keep the things he plays with and toss the rest. All of our toys (except all the trains) are hand-me-downs from other kids we know. His 2 older cousins regularly donate their toys to ds, so the variety here comes not from having many toys at once, but from regularly cycling his toys. The excitement is not in having a lot of toys to play with, it's in having new, different toys.

I agree that exposure to a variety of things is good, and that organization helps when there is a lot of stuff, but sometimes less is more, kwim?

Why do you want her to play more (with her toys, I assume,) and pretend on her own? Curious.
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#4 of 19 Old 05-24-2007, 09:15 AM
 
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I agree! The key to making your environment child friendly is to take the less is more approach. For instance, in my living room are the puzzles. They are in a seperate room, and there is nothing else to play with except for the toys they bring in there, therefore the puzzles are played with more often than when they were amongst toys in their room.

also, i stored some things to pare down their bedroom and ended up selling them in a yardsale bc plain and simple, they were things that they didnt play with.... so I got rid of it.

before every birhtday and christmas, i weed out toys. The plethora of stuffed animals have been given to goodwill, i even weeded out our bookshelf and brought some books to our church.

I had a friend come over and she was "inspired" (thats what she said) bc I had "kept just the good stuff". (i live in a small two bedroom apartment with my two kids and she has a 3 bedroom house). When i buy toys I try to buy nice wooden things and things that will last. I spend more on nice toys and buy less stuff. After birthdays, I wait until crappy toys are forgotten at the bottom of they toy box and I get rid of them. We dont have a lot of money, but I still manage to buy quality, not quantity and I try to influence the buyers in my family to do the same (grammy and grampa and uncle). I also hold weekly pickups where i throw out broken stuff, paper, garbage and we put everything away where it belongs. This allows the creativity to less loose all week long, but restore some order when needed, my dd plays so much better when her room in organized and she can see all of her choices.
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#5 of 19 Old 05-24-2007, 09:19 AM
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I would agree with the previouse poster that it seems you have a lot of toys planned for your kids,....a few too many I think.
The more they have the more they will disregard the toys and not really play with any of them for a long time, also their imagination will not need to be sparked when it is not needed (I think that is what you would like to happen though looking at your selection of toys,... besides the computer).
A few simple things can become variouse toys in a young childs mind, a basket can be a bed for her doll, a ship for her stuffed animals or a transporter for small rocks.

I think that is the biggest problem with most kids these days is that they are over stimulated by a varity of things, stuff, noises, foods, chemicals etc. and that is why they have become weaker in constitution and in imagination.
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#6 of 19 Old 05-24-2007, 09:58 AM
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Sorry, I had to add on to my previouse reply that the toys you are planning on selecting sound wonderful by the way!
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#7 of 19 Old 05-24-2007, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your input - I find it interesting, since many people who visit us are suprised that we have so few items! I guess it looks organized? Maybe it's because so many of the things I've listed are actually accessories to larger themes, so they're not as obvious when you are looking at the zone.

I think imaginative play is very important for cognitive development, and have noticed that dd has much better days when she's engaged in these types of activities. I may seem a bit academic - but I'm academic by nature and tend to analyse things.

I know it seems like a lot if you look at the list, but note that many of the things listed are accessories to a broader theme. Doll play, for example - dressing and undressing are great fun. So is washing and drying! And since we have montessori leanings this 'work' is intrinsically rewarding! I guess I just want her to have things available to broaden her imagination and interests. Hmmm... what should I pare down? Many of these items are things we already have... I just want to reorganize. We have a small 1300 sq ft home. Perhaps I'll 'hide' everything but doll play and kitchen. And books. And music. And art. Ack!!! Help!
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#8 of 19 Old 05-24-2007, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abac View Post
Why do you want her to play more (with her toys, I assume,) and pretend on her own? Curious.
I don't want her to pretend on her own - I just said that she doesn't pretend well or play well on her own...

I was simply pointing out the difference between herself and many of her friends who can just run off and play by themselves... I don't have any problem playing with her, she and ds are my favorite people in the world!

Maybe the other kids know how to play by themselves because they've been left alone so much? But then again, ds likes to wander off and play alone.
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#9 of 19 Old 05-24-2007, 03:39 PM
 
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I don't think it's really that much stuff--maybe it just looks like a lot all spelled out. I think it sounds cool!

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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#10 of 19 Old 05-24-2007, 06:07 PM
 
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DD isn't great at just running off to play on her own either but if I play a pretend game with her and start a story line I can back off after 15 mins and she will run with the story (on her own) for hours. She's getting better at making up her own stories the older she gets.
Adia 4-3-02
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#11 of 19 Old 05-24-2007, 10:57 PM
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Reagrding: "Hmmm... what should I pare down? Many of these items are things we already have... I just want to reorganize. We have a small 1300 sq ft home. Perhaps I'll 'hide' everything but doll play and kitchen. And books. And music. And art. Ack!!! Help!"

Maybe try to rotate some of the things they have and see which toys they prefer? Keep the ones they like the most and the ones which spark the imagination.

If you want to keep them all,...I am not really sure in what way you would want to organize them?
We prefer to keep our kids toys in two areas, their room and a small area in the living room (from where ds likes to spread out during the day to the rest of the living space). We keep toys to a minimum and therefore do not have the problem of stuff laying all over the place.
We also have almost only wooden toys (I come from a Waldorf background and the toys you mentioned are very much related to Waldorf as well,...besides the computer!) and therefore they are nice to look at and are of unobtrusive nature in our living space.
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#12 of 19 Old 05-25-2007, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been told we have very much a weird combination of waldorf and montessori - imaginative play and 'work' -

I'm planning on reorganizing, as I described before - into 'zones' - in DD's room will be doll play and kitchen; in DS's room will be trains and zoo and barnyard and dollhouse (sounds rather sexist except for the dollhouse but that's how they play!); I'll hide the ugly computer in the living room armoire... and art and music in the living room too... I'm hoping to eventually glass-in our screened porch and move art and plants there. All the other chattels are just parts of those larger themes, and when you see it, it truly doesn't look like a ton of stuff.

In a way, it's already rotated! We move from one activity to the next, sometimes in one day, sometimes in a week. It just sort of happens that way. Some days we do art all day long!

Thanks for the input!
alison
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#13 of 19 Old 05-25-2007, 08:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggieinnh View Post
We also have almost only wooden toys (I come from a Waldorf background and the toys you mentioned are very much related to Waldorf as well,...besides the computer!) and therefore they are nice to look at and are of unobtrusive nature in our living space.
I agree - some of the items are beautiful - even the train table which is solid wood that has a nice varnish so it looks very natural, if a bit shiny. The easel is pretty, so is the wooden dollhouse. Waldorf dolls are adorable, their clothes are natural cotton.

We're replacing the plastic kitchen with Liams or the Willow kitchen and Refrigerator - I wish my own kitchen looked like this!!!

And although I'd like to get this playstand, I don't know how much the kids will use it; other people rave about them. Does anyone here have one? There are limitless possibilities I guess - some kids turn them into libraries, grocery stores, playforts, etc.

I think this is cute, too!
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#14 of 19 Old 05-25-2007, 09:37 AM
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I had the same concerns regarding the playstands, but as we barely have stuff for ds we thought we get it for him,...we needed something organisational in the living room for his toys anyway, so we bought the same ones you showed (I think up until now they are the cheapest with two shelves).
He can transform them into a boat or a store front as you mentioned, if you want a bit more info on them, why don't you go into the Waldorf forum and check the pictures out there!

The kitchen I plan to make myself, similar to the top one on the Willow Tree page you showed.
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#15 of 19 Old 05-25-2007, 12:17 PM
 
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i have already posted pics in my thread in the waldorf forum but want to se what everyone else posts!!

Waldorf mama to Autumn DD 9/05 and my Spring DD 4/08 Winter baby due 2/11
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#16 of 19 Old 05-25-2007, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OH WOW!!!!!!

I'm so excited. We just ordered the kitchen from Willow Toys *please note that they aren't the same as Willow Tree Toys*

I had a question, so I called the number on their website - the owner, Joe, answered and he was amazing! He offered to make the refrigerator match the Liam's Kitchen, so that the bottom of the 'fridge doesn't have the curvy details that you see in the picture on their website. I wouldn't even have noticed!

He was reeeeally helpful and it's so cool that the kitchen will have a personal touch and is built with love and care. I know it may sound silly, but that's very important to me. Much better than any plastic kitchen!

I can't wait to see my children play with it! He uses lavender in the wood finish so it has a nice scent.

He has 3 kids, and a fourth on the way - his wife unschools their kids. I doing business with that kind of family - it makes me feel like my money is very well spent!
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#17 of 19 Old 05-25-2007, 02:40 PM
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Sorry, I meant "Willow Toys" - NOT Willow Tree Toys!
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#18 of 19 Old 05-25-2007, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#19 of 19 Old 08-28-2007, 02:18 PM
 
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I'm resurrecting an old thread to post pix of our playroom.

I just posted this in another forum. It isn't quite like this, but the layout is going to be the same.

I have slowly been replacing all the plastic with natural toys, it's just going to take some time.

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t.../playroom1.jpg

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t.../playroom2.jpg

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t.../playroom3.jpg

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t.../playroom5.jpg

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t.../playroom4.jpg

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t.../playroom6.jpg

And then of course, there's the outside "play" room...

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t...s/DSCN0215.jpg

Mama of 3 girls: 7.5 , 6 , and 4.5
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