This will be the first of a few posts showcasing my new Reggio Emilia inspired playroom.
If you would like to learn more about the Reggio Emilia Approach check out this site: www.education.com/magazine/article/Reggio_Emilia/
While I would love to say we have a huge playroom with lots of natural light and big beautiful windows the reality is it's in a small space in our basement that's shared with our laundry area. Since we moved here a year ago it has been a dumping grounds so to speak for all the toys we own in the house. I didn't like going down there, it was cluttered and unorganized. Using my own experience working in a Reggio Emilia school as well as inspiration from this site playathomemom3.blogspot.com I set out to transform the playroom into an inviting organized space for my girls.
This first thing I did was purge. I went through all the toys that are broken, missing parts, "Junk" type toys and got rid of them. I also filled a bag with good toys- some still in their packaging and set those aside for Good Will.
The philosophy behind the new playroom was to make it an inviting pretty environment. If I felt the chaos being down there certainly my girls did too. It's really about setting things up for purposeful play, providing as many natural materials for exploration, and most important (in my opinion) is to have items/toys accessible.
I took the girls down to the new playroom last night and the reaction was incredible. They LOVED it down there, were incredibly engaged and we only scratched the surface with the new experiences I set up.
It's still a work in progress but I wanted to share a few things I've done so far.
The sensory table! This is my homemade super cheap sensory table. As you can see it's really just an old bin I had in our basement. There are many items you could out in a sensory table but I started it off with colored sand, measuring cups, and some gems. My 1 1/2 year old had to be closely monitored to make sure she didn't stick the sand or gems in her mouth, but she loved it just as much as Mallory.
Mallory played with it for at least a half hour!
I also used the girls tent to create a cozy reading area in the playroom. They looked at books in there that had been down in the play area for the last year but were rarely looked at.
Again it was about presenting them in an accessible manner, "inviting baskets" and displaying them in a cozy place. Case in point, Mallory yelled with delight "I remember this book." and proceeded to sit down and read it. The book had been in the play area all along before the transformation but by presenting it in a different way she thought it had been lost and found again!
Here are some more ideas for sensory table items: styrofoam, shaving cream, snow, water, pine cones, shredded pieces of paper, sticks/twigs, leaves, uncooked noodles, bubbles, the list is endless!
Stay tuned for more playroom ideas!