Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Re-vamped playroom and new art box

Any organized parent or teacher of littles will tell you of the importance of rotating toys. Leave a minimal number of toys available at any one time, and then rotate those out on a regular basis. Rotation makes old toys new again. Too many toys out at once is just overwhelming, and ironically, it can lead to too many new toys entering the house as kids stop seeing what they actually have. While we weren't adding any, we certainly had too many out. When I sat dejected in the middle of a very messy playroom one afternoon, I took a good look around and realized that if I were a kid, dumping everything everywhere would be my first inclination too. How else could you see what there was or decide what to choose? Once something was dumped on the floor, it wasn't even obvious where it should be put back. Too much!!!

Unfortunately, knowing this didn't translate into making the time to fix it until this week, mostly because it was definitely not a task that could be completed with children watching. The other night while the girls were asleep, I went through and took it all down to a minimum level. Now, each shelf space holds one or two items at appropriate heights for their users. A cleared desk is topped with a pad of paper, a sketch book, and a tackle box/art box for Ellie (and an unplugged phone for important business calls). The room became inviting, interesting, and fun again. I expected backlash at the absence of most of their things, but there hasn't been even a hint of objection. Instead, both girls happily entertain themselves without any hesitation or deliberation, and they can easily see where toys need to be put back. Ellie is enraptured with her new art box, so much so that this morning she bypassed my sleeping body and was busily engaged with it when I woke up who knows how much later.


I plan to rotate some contents of the tackle box weekly too. Right now, it contains twist-up crayons, muffin tin rainbow crayons, feathers, goggly eyes, colorful pompoms, scissors, glue stick, beads and string, stickers, paper strips for cutting or gluing, and a small blank book I made with card stock and computer paper.

5 comments:

Aussie Mum said...

Well done on the playroom clean up. I have been planning one for age as ours seems to have desended into chaos once again. We sorted out the art supplies in the office but I haven't got as far as the playroom yet. However, reading your post has me inspired so I think a clean up is on the way. Wish me luck!

schlelly said...

I've come to the conclusion Mom's are the smartest people out there. I don't have kiddos yet but now I realize I need to limit stuff in my own life so I can appreciate the stuff I choose to focus on better. I was chatting with a friend last night who just had her first baby in May and I was sharing my fears of raising children with her. The hubby and I get lots of pressure from family and the constant comments make you start thinking about what it means to raise children when you aren't even preggers! My friend had sound, rational, honest advice that translated to so much of my life, even beyond raising children, and it made so much sense! I've concluded I need to talk to moms more often!

the dipe squad said...

Aussie Mum, seeing your lovely organized office supply box made me finally go out and purchase the tackle box that had been on my list for who knows how long. Good luck with your next phase!

Meghan dahling, bless you! I certainly don't feel very smart most days, though I have to say (to muddle an old phrase) parenthood demands the necessity of invention. I don't believe that there is any real way to prepare for having kids, since no one really knows how he/she will react and what the personality of their new little person will be, but thinking about it can be overwhelming! We've long been of the opinion that trying to prep in advance makes it scarier, so you just have to jump in with both feet if you are brave enough to take the plunge. The best advice we ever got was from a stand-in pediatrician after an ordeal in Houston (long story). He said, "You write your own book." It's such good advice! Do what works for you! Most often, you discover what that is after you haven't been doing it for a while, but that's okay too.
As for the pressure, it won't stop so try not to sweat it. When you meet the right person, everyone wants to know when you'll get married. When you get married, everyone wants to know when you'll have a baby. When you have a baby, everyone wants to know when you're having another one...

azure said...

You know I have had this philosophy for a long time of having minimal toys when (possibly if) I become a parent. And I have had a lot of people look at me like I have grown a third head... People think because I have never had children before that I can't possibly know anything. I'm glad to know that someone else agrees with me. Well Done Jennifer, well done!!

Karly said...

I, too, have been planning to do a major cleanup of toys, art supplies, etc...lots of sorting, putting away, throwing away, and then rotating what we keep. It has seemed like such a huge task that I have put it off for far too long. Thanks for the kick in the behind that I needed! Seeing the great results and hearing of your accomplishment is just the nudge I need! Great job yet again, mama! :)