How quickly time passes! I have been keeping myself iPad free during the evenings (thanks to teething toddler who does not want to go to bed!) so I haven’t been keeping up with my blog posts and sadly have a huge list of unread blogs sitting in the Word Press reader to get through! Words just aren’t coming together at the moment. I’m giving it my best shot tonight with both babes in bed early!
When there was one baby in the house all play was geared towards her. The play items in our house were targeted for her age, the playroom was set up for a child of her development level and our everyday experiences were just for her. I have always made conscious decisions to keep independent play experiences free from frustration – naturally I have helped C learn how to play in new ways (“scaffolded” for those teacher buffs!) but generally the experiences presented to her are ones she can achieve success with. This poses a problem when there is a busy baby and a toddler sharing the same play space!
I have used the term ‘handbag’, endearingly, to describe L’s position in the family. Just as our outings revolve around making sure the toddler sleeps (because the world is a much better place if she does!), our home has grown with her and now reflect the needs of a 2 1/2 year old, rather than a baby. My energy and attention goes into playing with a C, activities and experiences geared to her development. Thankfully L goes with the flow and I have discovered the major advantage of baby #2 is that baby #1 takes away all the pressure of being the sole entertainer! As L is growing, she can always be found close to C, joining in in her infant way!
The girls are really beginning to play ‘together’ and C is loving involving L in her games. It’s not roses all the time but L is robust enough to find a push and a wrestle a funny game which quickly diffuses C and they both end up giggling. C is also very good and getting L new toys if she takes something she is playing with!
This week I decided the playroom needed an overhaul … Again! I wanted to create a space for L and spaces for C to play her games. I’m loving the new setup! I have minimized to an even greater degree the amount of things out each day. C is very dependent on me at the moment for play anyway so I can live without the clutter! Her play house (That play house is a lovely place for a morning cuppa! ) and kitchen are permanent fixtures and this week I added a little corner with some new books as she loves to play ‘crèche’ with her dolls. The little crates on the floor contain a few wooden food items, some wooden dolls, a couple of finger puppets and some wooden spinning tops my clever husband made this week! The other things out in the room is a box with teddies that are regularly used for pretend play by C and emptied out by L who is also using the box to pull herself up to her feet. We also have a pram, a toy shopping trolley and a ride on toy that I am not allowed to move!!!!
For L, I set her up on one side of the room with a mirror ‘borrowed’ from our wall – this stemmed from recent reading I have been doing into the Reggio Emilia approach to learning. Mirrors play an important role in Reggio spaces and the placement of one mirror isn’t much to write home about but it’s a start! I plan to get to our local hardware giant soon’ish and purchase some mirror tiles to use in different ways.
For her play experience this week, I set her up with her own treasure basket, loosely inspired by this post. I sadly don’t have a home full of natural materials on hand so I went to the one drawer in the house guaranteed to entertain any baby – the Tupperware drawer! I gathered an assortment of lids and other circular play items we had – it may not follow the heuristic philosophy but it was items around my home and that was important to me! I added a set of little measuring spoons – a baby favourite! I loaded all the items into the lid of a Tuppperware dip platter – again not natural but decluttering me removed all spare baskets, boxes etc from the house! This platter has actually turned out to be a hit. It’s light enough to push back and forth, the objects make a great noise when moved around in it and, and this is the highlight, it’s big enough to empty and climb into!
The blue circle is a universal plug – a long time favourite ‘toy’ of L’s. Do/ have your children had attachments to funny objects? With C it was a rubber phone cover my husband used to have on his phone until he gave
up in and gave it to C as a permanent addition to one of her toy boxes!
L has really enjoyed playing with her ‘basket’. Each day I have added an object here and there and removed something that has passed its interest use-by date! She enjoyed looking at and feeling each object – putting each in her mouth naturally, seeing if they make a noise.
The mirror was and continues to be, a huge hit! After initially attempting to climb through the mirror, L began to watch herself play, reaching to touch the baby staring back at her! Now she chats and giggles away to her new friend! It goes without saying that C is rather fond of looking at herself too! I, on the other hand, could do without the image of my tired scraggly reflection looking back at me when I sit and play with my children!!!