Okay so in light of yesterday's events, I felt inspired to do a little showcase of the Dashiell Playroom.
I hope it will serve as a glimpse into our philosophies on children's toys and spaces.
Maybe you are looking to cut down on the amount of toys in your home. Maybe you think this is still a lot! Either way, I will share and describe to you what our two children have and why, and I hope you enjoy the tour.
|A rare moment of cleanliness/nonactivity -- Ella was at school ;)|
So this room is about 14' long and 9' wide.
Not very big by most current American standards, but just perfect for a playroom for two children (or more when we have playdates!). The key is few toys that offer open-ended play and a nice space to do the playing in. I believe in and try to adhere to the Simplicity Parenting set-up for a space for kids and their possessions. Well-meaning family members can make that challenging at times, but that's what donation centers are for -- yay! Pretty much, less is more when it comes to children and filling their lives with material presents (as a way to make up for lack of presence, is my guess) is not always that great an idea. When a child has only a few favorite toys, he/she are more apt to appreciate and respect said toys, since that is all he/she has! I hope to instill that into my kids: respect for their possessions because they're not "easy come, easy go" -- they are here to stay if you can just care for them in the right way to make them last! That means the materials the toys are made of should hopefully be sturdy as well...and my personal preference is wood.
But anyway, I digress.
Let's take a closer look at the room:
|The far wall, beneath the window.|
The Cuties box on top contains the bigger books we own, then there's a basket of stuffed animals, and then the princess castle Dash built her for her 3rd birthday. I'm proud to say that those are the only stuffed animals we own. As many of you may know, people just loooove giving them as gifts, so that you can very soon find yourself swimming in them. Well, I've done what I can to keep them to a minimum.
As for the compartments down below, from left to right, they go as follows:
- 4 puzzles
- music makers
- random toys
- dress up accessories (jewelry and shoes)
The "random toys" slot includes things like a jack-in-the-box, jump rope, kaleidoscope, and spinning top among other things. They are the most likely to be donated, because they are mostly plastic...and yet they inevitably get played with whenever a friend is over. Go figure!
The basket of shoes is a little gratuitous I know -- when Ella's abuela learned that she wanted "pretty shoes" for Christmas two years back, she got her 6 pairs. Plastic high-heeled pairs. @_@ Abuela's heart was in the right place, but the ensuing shoe chaos was a little much for a while there. Thankfully, Ella's calmed down about them and they've all but fallen off her radar...
Anyway, moving on:
|The space to the left of the red compartments.|
That wicker tower thing is something I salvaged from the side of the road some years back. It holds all the smaller books on top. And the space behind the doors...is pretty much empty. It holds a couple Barbie dolls and the clothes I made for them. But not much else.That basket on the floor is "baby friendly toys" (rattles, soft things, etc) which will be shrinking as William gets older and more interested in things that offer some kind of imaginative play, I'm guessing. The basket I received for free from a garage sale.
I hope you don't mind my constantly mentioning where I acquired the furniture in the room -- I can't help sharing with you how people's excess wealth has so conveniently fallen into my lap and filled the need for things that might otherwise have been pursued in a store. One man's junk is another man's treasure, right? :)
|The wall to the right.|
Here we have Ella's basket full of dress-up clothes (I warned you about that above...but know that they are the most played with items...daily!), three dolls (also something we have to constantly keep in check, because how many dolls does a girl really need? Not that many, thank you!), and chalkboard easel. Oh, and there's a basket of balls below it (alliteration!) Kids love balls! That chalkboard gets serious attention every single day. Yay for toys that require participation!! Really, we are not about toys that do the playing for you so anything with batteries in it...you won't find here.
|Directly beside the door.|
Here we have the kitchen.
Another serious point of interest, especially when kiddos come to play. The green basket is full of play food and utensils that we've received. And the shelf is something I found on the side of the road and is at a perfect height for toddlers and preschoolers.
That thing in the corner is a drum -- Dash likes to play guitar in the playroom so a lot of music goes on in general here. Yaaaay music!!
Also, the play sink/oven set was found at Goodwill along with that child-sized broom leaning up against them. This is before I became anti-Goodwill. But more on that another day. ;)
Thaaaat's pretty much it.
As seen in the first shot, there's a trampoline that our friends got me for my birthday and that all kiddos simply adore! And a rocking horse (Goodwill score!) that Ella is too big for, but William is starting to enjoy. Oh, and blocks! Blocks are a great toy for any kid...would've preferred the non-plastic kind but Dash went ahead and got them without me knowing. In fact, I do believe that's the one new thing we've ever bought the kids. Ever!! The rest was either second-hand or received as gifts. Scoooore.
So yeah, we are all feeling very happy with the arrangement of the playroom and its contents.
Good for kiddos of most ages (baby through preschooler at least), both genders, and parents too! :D
Oh, wait. I almost forgot to mention Ella's collection of Princess dolls.
There's a plastic pail of them that we keep mostly out of sight and I have a love-hate thing for them. I don't like their plasticity, nor the way that they feed the urge to "collect them all" (along with their plentiful wardrobes), nor the fact that they narrow down imaginative play that much more because of the storylines that come with them thanks to their movies, ... But at the same time, I must say Ella can spend many an hour making up stories with them and using either her blocks or that castle to create scenes for them. So they're not all bad.
That being said, I don't want to bring any more of them into our home (or any more Princess brand anything for that matter, thank you) and am just patiently tolerating this phase in the hopes that it will eventually run its course and be gone before Ella gets exposed to any more stronger forms of consumer culture through it.
Family. Friends. Your cooperation in this would be much appreciated!
Well, that just about wraps up the Playroom Tour.
I hope it gave you an idea of how many toys these kiddos have and how they really don't need any more toys. Experiential gifts will benefit them far more anyhow. And by experiential gifts I mean non-material gifts like classes (ballet, anyone?), trips to cool places, and the like.
I wrote about things of this nature back in 2011 in preparation for Ella's 2nd birthday, in the hopes that we would not be inundated with more stuff again...to not much avail.
But hopefully this time the message will stick.
And if you feel compelled to buy some material gifts for our kiddos, please consider the following:
- art/drawing supplies that are good quality and will last (we've got a budding artist here!)
- play silks (so versatile and beautiful)
- anything homemade for them will be priceless
Well, I certainly did not mean to make this post so long and to cover the topic of gifts/toys, but oh well! I guess it was enough on my mind to put it out there.
What's your take on toys (type and amount) and what do you love (or hate?) about your kiddos' play space.
I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, Happy Playroom!!