Each fall I go through our home and make it ready for the long winter ahead. It's not just getting out the winter woolens, boots, and coats, but about making what's inside seem a little bit "newer" to inspire more play, creativity, and fun during these dark, cold months. I've spent the last couple of weeks doing this...putting the odds and ends of toys no longer played with in the thrift store bag and switching around toys that are played with to inspire new creative play.
I can't say it enough...less is more when it comes to toys. I think it's so very important to have a calm, peaceful, inviting play area. Everything must have a place, and the quality of toys is essential. We really strive for handmade, wooden, and natural toys. This could be as simple as a basket of river stones, chestnuts, sections of tree branches for stacking, and a basket of felted figures. The little one plays with a bowl of chestnuts and acorns as much as she does her dollhouse! Simple things are often the best!
Sasa and I occasionally look around saying, "There are too many toys!" and we know when we are saying that, we really need to think about what we are bringing in our home and what the little one's play is like. There are many times when she can't get a good play rhythm going. It's quite often due to the fact that she is too overwhelmed by the things she does have to play with! So we go through, get rid of stuff, and create simple corners inspired by the natural rhythm/season around us.
The little one has three main playing areas. A nature table corner with a basketfull of wooden animals and people, barn and gnome home, an embroidery kit, and a basket of playsilks. The main play area has a wooden kitchen, doll play area (swing, bed, and high chair), shelves full of felted people and animals and wooden stacking toys. She has a dress up corner with a box of all my old ballet outfits (12 years worth!), dress up shoes and face paint.
Upstairs in her room is her reading corner and her beloved dollhouse made by grandpa. We recently moved her room around to allow more space for play. AND it encouraged her to sleep in there again. Phew!
Our mudroom is all decked out in wool. I love it.
So those are our newly arranged play corners just in time for the long winter ahead. I love that these beautiful toys exist. I love that they inspire hours of creative play. I love that she is aware of the quality, the beautiful handmade details, and the connection to the natural world. To learn more about creative play, I love Sarah's description of Waldorf education, but also love the creative play piece.
So here's to lots of creative play this winter! Care to share with me your play spaces? Leave a link in the comments!