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On Play Spaces

Riding in the SleighI've been experimenting with play spaces quite a lot lately.  Like maybe too much.  Roan thinks that when he goes out for a couple hours, he will come home to find things different again.  I suppose that is not too far off.  I've just been trying to figure out ways to prompt cooperative play between the children.  I love the play stands for their ability to be many things, so we've had them a lot of ways this Summer.

We had a portion of the room sectioned off with a wall of playstands.  That was especially successful, but difficult to keep tidy.  I felt like it was encroaching on the room, but I would do it again.  There was the cozy spot, dearly loved by Willow and the subject of much play at its start.  But then it became a place to keep "just so" and not really snuggle up in.  Roan had a woodright's shop for awhile, but he became the only person to use it.  So, I put the playstands back as a house.  It was still the woodright's shop.  Humph.

I am quite interested in play, wishing to learn how it evolves over time and how to make it peaceful with minimal adult input.  So, I do a lot of reading about it.  I know that environment is a huge factor, so I spend much of my energy on that.  It doesn't hurt that I love to move furntiure, the most frugal kind of remodeling.  My parents gave us a new big bookshelf/cabinet and we put it in Mike's room.  Working to make the space feel more productive, we put in my real desk and took out the bench table.

Christmas MorningToday was another shift of furniture, turning the cozy spot into a kitchen and moving the doll corner to the living room.  The woodright's shop is still in operation, but Roan does enjoy building things for us in that space.  He loves to use all his tools to make toys or furniture for us, making jokes like the woodright does about his draw knife and his half-brother.  It never gets old.

One thing that was especially fun was that the children decided to wrap up their toys in silks and load them on to a sleigh.  Willow helped with the wrapping, as I try to encourage her to help Roan with things like that.  He was Santa and drove the sleigh, using the climbing fairy as the reins.  The delivered the gifts, drove the sleigh back home, and then opened all the presents.  It was a wonderful thing to watch.

Knowing that the kindergarten child likes to have projects, I try to prompt this type of play as much as I can.  It gives me a little free time to put sheets on beds, which is often accompanied by their jumping on the beds.  That did not happen today. Moving toward more adult-led activities, like painting and drawing and stories, has meant that we have had to work on promoting independent play.  They just always want to be where I am and my goal is balance.  I know I will miss it some day.  Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy and I am hoping to shift to the insulated curtains for the chilly weekend ahead.  I am hopeful they'll come up with something else fun to do.


( 4 trees — Plant a Forest )
Oct. 3rd, 2014 01:23 am (UTC)
I love both those pictures, but the second one especially! Priceless.

Hmm. My three have all been very clingy lately and refusing to play either alone or together. They must have me to play with, except they each want a different game. I am spent. I have no idea what I can do to encourage them to play, but I am encouraged to think about it by your post. (And if I rearrange something, I meet the wrath of Gnarly. Today I moved a book of hers from not having a home to an easily accessible shelf, and oh the arguing.)
Oct. 4th, 2014 01:52 pm (UTC)
I think the clinginess comes in seasons. I could hardly keep them inside in the spring.
Oct. 3rd, 2014 10:22 pm (UTC)
As always, I enjoy your thoughts on play and how to inspire creativity. :)
Oct. 4th, 2014 01:44 pm (UTC)
( 4 trees — Plant a Forest )

A Blessed Wilderness

It was just like being in heaven, being in there. In those days there was no road. The park was all a blessed wilderness. I have often thought what a wonderful people we would have been if we had wanted to keep it that way.

~Adolph Murie, biologist, on Denali


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