Tuesday, June 22, 2010

inspired creative play

I'm not sure about your child, but mine gets very tired of the same old thing. I am constantly rearranging his toys and furniture and hiding things away to be forgotten and then rediscovered. One tactic I use to keep the toy romance alive is to surprise him with new and novel things when he wakes up from his afternoon nap. I often set up a table with creative snacks or lay out a few toys in combination with items he hasn't seen before in an appealing and inspiring fashion. These could be twigs, rocks, flags, forts, bowls filled with water or stuffed animals with dress ups.

Yesterday, when North woke up, to his delight he discovered his kitchen had an array of edible and non-edible play snacks, including a little picnic table set up with a tea pot (filled with water), jam and crackers, ants on a log, green pea pods in a pot, black beans in a bowl, dried pasta, and a biscuit hidden in the oven.

After he shared his joy and excitement with me, he busily went about his business preparing a pasta dinner, feeding his doll, Billy and pouring cups of black bean tea and then pouring them back into the pot again. The beauty of simple surprises like these is that they inspire in him new vocabulary, experimentation with food and imaginary play, so that when he next enters his magical kitchen he will reenact the experience and build upon it.

Notice how he graciously shared the only vegetables with Billy.

What do you do to inspire creative play in your children? I'd love to hear your ideas.

xo

Oh yes- for those that have noticed our semi-new kitchen set, we bought it second-hand on ebay. I am so excited about this purchase, it has added so much joy to our home and North's playspace for half the price of what a new wooden set might have cost.

22 comments:

brentasarus said...

Mine isnt quite so far as to play in a kitchen yet, but I will definatly be drawing on the memories I have of certain games etc with my mum, the most useful and fun of which was the cleaning robot.. I cleaned anything if I thought I was a robot and it was a game. Funny thing is even now I find myself cleaning the house a whole lot better with electronic music on, strange no?

Gifts of Serendipity said...

You are such a creative, thoughtful and loving Mummy, this is such a wonderful idea and not just for the little kids either!

X Felicity

Kristi said...

the toy library has been great. they have an amazing array of vintage toys, newer brands like "plan toys", and a motessori section. is there one by you? i like to go while quinn is at school and then set up some new puzzles and things for when he gets home.

Ellie Tat said...

I'll be taking your idea on board. It is hard to think of new things all the time, isn't it? Especially when it has been raining for days. Recently we've come up with a new favourite: we throw a blanket over the table and have a picnic in the 'tent'.

Erin said...

What a beautiful kitchen set :) We too are big on reorganizing etc. to keep things new & exciting around here.

Maxabella said...

Your boy is very lucky to have such a dedicated mumma. My contribution to creativity is to leave everything within reach, throw them in and then try not to complain about the mess too much. :)

Leslie said...

oh wow...what a cool mom you are. that sounds like a blast. i am not inspired often....i just let mine play but they are much bigger. we only do fun stuff when the weather is bad.

arwen_tiw said...

What a lovely fun idea to bless and inspire his morning. :)

From time to time I set up a playscene on silks in the middle of the living room, so that they come down to find a forest set up or a little row of fairy houses. I also love to leave gifts hidden on celebration mornings (or if I have a new toy to introduce to them - especially a new mama-made dolly), sometimes I set up a trail of flower petals or glitter leading to them! So fun, and their little faces just light up!

Ola said...

Oh you are such a good mommy! I rearrange Annie's room every now and then. When she sees it, I act all surprised and have no idea how it happened. We come to the conclusion that the fairies must have done it. She absolutely loves it!

CHILDHOOD MAGIC said...

This is fantastic! I do the same thing! My children act as if they have brand new toys every time I rearrange their playroom. Their creative play gets such a spark just from switching the room around--- I also have a spot in the linen closet where I hide old toys and bring them out after a few months and they get such a thrill "rediscovering" an old treasure.
Your photos are so sweet and pretty. Great post.

LJ said...

Miss T loves doing domestic chores, so when I am doing the dishes I will set up her own sink and give her dishes to wash and dry. Same for when the ironing is done and the folding, etc. If I bake...she often wants to bake something herself..so I give a range of dry ingredients and let her create away. We do toy rotation in our house a lot...

Katie said...

What a great idea!
I try and set out different toys that encourage different and new skills every morning for my little. I keep the rest of the toys in his toy boxes around the house so if he wants to explore and find other toys he can.
I find that by putting out toys that he hasn't seen in a few weeks he gets really excited and intrigued with them again.
I've been on the hunt for a wooden kitchen set I think they encourage such wonderful and real life skill development. What an inspiring post!
PS. after reading your post on amber teething necklaces, I found one on ebay and it was worked like a dream for Fin! he's definitely not drooling as much, not as grumpy and much more calm.
Also your creative post on making pants inspired me too! I've now gone a little sewing crazy and put together 7 new pairs of pants for Fin from my husbands old tshirts that we were going to give away.
Thanks again!!

ecoMILF said...

Thanks everyone for all your sweet words! I feel so overwhelmed with support and encouragement!
I love all the ideas you have provided so thank you for sharing!!

Katie- I am so glad you whipped up some pants for your little one- that was one of my very first projects and I was so proud! I am still learning and most of my projects are a little creased and have uneven lines but rest assured they are made with love and there is nothing like them out there! Also so glad you love the amber necklaces- we love ours as well. xo m.

Claire Gale said...

my thoughts have also been turning to creative play lately. i also stash and rotate toys. and since the beach is just across the road, there are endless games we cam play there in the sand, water, shells, seaweed etc. her favourite is 'simon says', which can be played anywhere and allows her to 'lead' the play. great suff, i love your ideas.

Tricia said...

I can just imagine how delighted North would have been finding all those kitchen treats.

Thanks for the reminder. I used to do something similar - but had fallen out of the habit.

That kitchen is a wonderfl find!!!

erin said...

What a great idea. We moved a few months back and my daughter got such a thrill out of seeing all her old toys again. Great little kitchen set!!

pink and green mama MaryLea said...

Beautiful kitchen set and so fun to hide his snack there. I'm so doing this with my little "C" she'd love it!

Thanks so much.

xoxo
pink and green mama
MaryLea

cara bear said...

Meagan this is SUCH a precious idea. I'm not yet a mommy, but as a babysitter, i too understand keeping toys and playtime exciting, and the kids away from the TV. I wish i woke up to surprises around my kitchen! ;)

Catherine said...

This is beautiful to see:) I love to watch and hear little ones with their imaginative play, it always makes me smile to see them explore and make an understanding of the world in their own little way.xo

Michelle said...

This looks like such fun. Would love to come to play one day : )

Catherine Lowe said...

Oh my oh my, he is adorable! And I LOVE the little kitchen set, LOVE!

Kelly said...

I just found your blog, and don't know if you'll see this comment, but you might consider going on etsy.com and checking out the felted food for play kitchens. My girls love them (and have since they were little). Some of the etsy stores sell the patterns and email them to you. Sometimes I buy felt, sometimes I use a felted sweater from the thrift store. My youngest is turning 7, and still is asking for another set.

simplydawson.blogspot.com

Post a Comment