We stayed with some friends over the weekend, on their property in the Toodyay hills. These are good people, and their love of cooking and eating wonderful food I naturally appreciate! They have created an amazing haven there on their little patch of earth, and it leaves you feeling relaxed, calm and contemplative.
My children, especially, loved their time there. They were so calm and engaged, and inquisitive and exploratory. I love it when they are like that. They become little adventurers, discoverers, wonderers.
I sat back in that space to watch them, and it occurred to me... this place has a soul. It is filled with beauty, but, more than that, everything surrounding me was made with natural materials. I tested my theory, gazing around the room. No plastic. Just a vast array of handpicked items made from wood, silk, pottery, felt, stone and glass. I talked to our host about this and she said yes, it had been intentional, as things of plastic have no life force, no connection.
I have been reading quite a bit about the Steiner approach to child development, learning and play. The idea of simplifying your child's play space is something I have come across a bit in my reading... not just simplifying the kinds of playthings your child has access to, but also simplifying the amount. I have been reflecting on the fact that whenever my children are presented with fewer play options, their play is far more focused, far more creative and far more engaging.
I came away from our friends' house inspired and determined to get back into our girls' playroom and transform it from an overly 'plasticised' toy storage zone into a meaningful space that will allow them to play creatively and provide them with some areas to retreat to when things become overwhelming.
Here are the results.
|The girls' home corner, complete with a lovely tin tea set.|
|Quiet space for reading, and toys in baskets.|
|Miya often needs a space to retreat to - this is perfect.|
|The drawing/sorting/crafting table.|
|Small selections of toys - not too overwhelming.|
|Finger puppets, great for oral storytelling.|
|Scarves, mostly used for dancing with.|
And better still, by selling some of their old toys, I have made enough money to buy some gorgeous, WA handmade Waldorf dolls from here!