Wednesday, 23 January 2013

A Play Space for Baby

I've spent a lot modest amount of time on Pinterest collecting ideas for organising and decorating the kids' playroom and I'm slowly implementing some of my favourite ideas into the space.   

Most of these ideas, however, are things that the older children will be able to utilise and learn from.  So I was delighted to find this image and link to The Imagination Tree.

Anna (who showed us to how make this terrific space play dough) has created a Reggio and Montessori inspired play space suitable for a baby 6 - 18 months.  You can see her space in full here.  She also has a space for a 0 - 6 month old here.

My older sons attend a Montessori-based school and I'm learning so much all the time about this approach to learning which is impressing me greatly.

I also really loved the idea of Rohan having his own space in amongst the world of his older brothers and, as everything is a collection of items we already had, it didn't cost a cent! 

Here's what I created...

I've used a small rug we had sitting in the cupboard to define his space and added a lovely soft bunny rug with satin ribbon edging to add a textural contrast too.  Then I added the following elements:

* A series of high contrast black and white images 
I found most of these online and pasted them into a Word Document table.  The heart, sun and arrows I made in the Word table.  I simply printed it out and used clear contact paper to stick it to the back of the Kitchen bench!

* Some images of faces 
I decided to use some recent family holiday photos of Rohan and his family, friends and Godparents.  Attached as above.

* A mirror 
A real mirror would not be a good idea around my boys!  This one is acrylic with a felt frame that came with the activity play-mat he has outgrown.  I've attached this with Command Adhesive Strips - the kind that interlock like Velcro - but discovered I needed to hot glue the strip to the mirror as baby loves to grab and pull this one!

* Simple wooden puzzle (I have a few of these I can rotate) and animal puzzle blocks

* A cute stuffed toy 
This is "Fiddle" and he's a Floppadoodle.

* Wooden blocks 
While not the traditional stacking Montessori blocks, these are different shapes and colours and fit into their own mini wagon.

* A collection of board books (He's crazy about books at the moment and these are easy for his brothers to read to him too.)

* An African drum (Anna had a drum in her space and after these photos were taken I found the little cow-hide drum I bought in Uganda!)

* A Treasure Basket
Anna has a heap of amazing ideas as to what to put into Treasure Baskets and a variety of different themed baskets too.  I've used a collection of household items, with differing textures and colours, I thought he'd find interesting. 

These include:
    - An interactive sound and feel soft book
    - A touch and play toy
    - A plastic slinky spring
    - A plastic dinosaur
    - A fabric sand-filled dinosaur
    - A cup
    - A mini metal saucepan with lid (which seems to be missing from the above photo!)
    - A mini metal ladle
    - A mini metal whisk
    - A small wooden and silicon spatula
    - A wooden maraca
    - A wooden stick Tambourine
    - A ceramic bee-shaped egg cup
    - A metal dinosaur cookie-cutter
    - A fabric slice of watermelon
    - A fabric banana
    - A wooden train
    - A small water bottle shaker (This one is filled with barley.  We have a series of these in our musical instruments box.) 
    - Two different types of ribbon
    - A mini wooden spinning top
    - A mini maze puzzle
    - A wooden train whistle
    - A leather bookmark
    - Small balls - tennis, fabric, plastic with a car inside and rubber light-up bouncy ball

**Please note that active supervision is required when allowing a small child 
to interact with some of these items.**

And, what's the verdict?
 The mirror is a big hit.  He likes smiling at and "talking" to the photos too.

The rubber ball was the first thing he pulled out of the Treasure Basket and the only item he played with for the first three days!  That was before he discovered it lit up too!  The wooden top is a favourite as well, though I'm not allowed to spin it he just likes holding it.

His three year old brother is enjoying it all too.  He wants a Treasure basket for himself!

I'm finding it such fun to see what item/s take his fancy at different times and on different days.

I might look at buying ask the Easter bunny to bring him an authentic Montessori toy for Easter.  Much better for him than chocolate!

What are your baby's favourite things to play with?  I bet they're not the expensive toys he/she got for Christmas, either!


  1. Peppers favourite toys come out of the kitchen utensil drawer lol. Usually it's the measuring cups but she discovered our ring of metal measuring spoons the other day and was over the moon. The look on her face was priceless when she discovered how much they jingle when she shakes them lol. She just loves noisy things. Her other favourite is her shaker bottle (a water bottle filled with rice).

  2. Makes you wonder why we spend so much on toys, huh?

  3. Wow, you have done a wonderful job setting up Rohan's special play space. I also love what you did for his VHC party. Keep the great ideas coming. Very inspiring :)


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