Monday, February 27, 2012

Play Area

So, to make a long-ish story really really short, I got fired yesterday via TEXT MESSAGE! Anyways, I was expecting to work today, so I had nothing planned and didn't want to leave the house for fear of spending any money. Thanks to that, I finally got to check off one of my blog to-do's, and put together a little tour of River's play area!

For those of you (if anyone actually reads this) who follow my life, I'm currently living at my parents' house. I've been here since December 2010, when my life fell apart thanks to my soon-to-be ex-husband. I'm being blunt and honest when I say that my parents are not very child-friendly people. They are quiet, clean, scheduled people and children are often none of those things. This is why they only had one, and this is why it's been very hard living at home again. Their constraints always manage to make me feel like a teenager again. I just want to argue, yell, and do stupid things in the name of rebellion.

Anyways, all of that aside, here is the tour via collages made on, sorry for the repeated picture :/

After much arguing over there being ANY child toys in common space, they finally relinquished a small corner of the living room under the condition that the toys were to be kept out of sight unless they are currently in use. My grandmother had given me an awesome old shelving unit with these yellowed, cracked bins. Two of the bins were salvageable, but I'm glad to have the shelves free for other things. There is also a toybox and a dress-up chest.

On the top of the organizer there are three bins from Ikea with some of their circus toys in them. I love toys that foster creative imagining! The book I referenced in my last post (Your Brain on Childhood) talked about finding toys that are 80% child and 20% toy. This means no talking flashing plastic crap that tells a child what to do or what is happening. For example, a keyboard should play what keys are pressed, not a prerecorded tune. The circus set is a little further towards 60%/40% since it dictates that they are members of a circus, but it's still more about the child's imagination than the toy.

Also on top is an owl play clock (an awesome estate-sale find) and River's one-year book from

(The bins are labeled: Coloring Supplies, Cards, Felt Food, Musical Instruments, Small Stuffed Toys, Alphabet Blocks, Ring Stacker & Shape Sorter, and Blocks.)

Living with the parents is certainly not all bad. My mother salvaged the needlework on the dressup bin and gave the bin and some costumes to River as a Hanukkah/Christmas gift this year. She also had the toy box in the basement, full of fabric, and gave it to me to use for River (and also as part of her quest to clean out the basement and get rid of a lot of fabric). She painted lizards on the back and bottom.

I love that River is still too small to get into the toy box on her own. It lets me hide special toys for when she's getting tired of what she has access to, and also gives me a place to dump things that don't otherwise have a well-labeled bin to call its own.

Of course, while taking pictures, River decided that it was a good time to play with all the toys I had just cleaned up :) She also demanded to wear the wings that normally hang on the trellis with my leafy wings. I think Elmo pants, a strange Japanese padded shirt from the Salvation Army, and monarch wings are the coolest!

At the top right she's riding her awesome rolling bumble bee (another resale find), and on the bottom she's decided that playing with a plastic tube she found in the garbage and a magnet are way more fun than all the awesome toys she has. I agree.

After some spinning, getting frustrated with the wings, and then vacuuming with the popper vacuum, it was time for some art! Also, I know it's kind of cheap, but I love this effect :) Also, since the paper was so big and she didn't want the box of crayons on top of it, she had to keep getting up and walking back and forth to get crayons.

Next on my tour list is a tour of my bedroom... once it stops looking like a bomb went off in here. It's really horrible, but I have all of my necessary possessions (other than food) stuffed into one room, so it's a bit cramped.

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