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Old 08-15-2012, 11:08 AM   #11
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Re: play at home moms?

Oh wow, I've never seen that blog. No wonder you are feeling overwhelmed!
If there was ever too much of a good thing that blog shows it. I do think about this issue a lot because I was a teacher and I have to reconcile my ideas about what 18 children in a classroom need versus four in well, the world. I really think the pendulum has swung from not giving children what they need (pre-20th century attitudes and practices) to overabundance.

If you are looking for a parenting style that aligns more closely with your overall philosophy of minimalism I would suggest googling terms like "benign neglect parenting" or "free range parenting". Keep in mind the blogs won't be nearly as numerous or as pretty as some of the others because well, there is only so much you can say or show about essentially letting your children entertain themselves! But they may help alleviate your concerns about not having a lot of stuff and some how depriving our children. Children need to learn to entertain themselves and they can do it with almost anything.

One of my favorite children's books is Galimoto. The main character is a little boy who spends the day looking all over his village for pieces of wire to make a galimoto, a truck. He uses such ingenuity and creativity, and has so many tiny little priceless experiences that would never have happen if he already had a truck, or even if his mother planned a truck making activity for him.
Over the years I have invested a lot in beautiful toys for my kids. I know that compared to most households what we have is not much but we could
have less. In fact, the less we have the happier, more occupied, and more independent my children are. They are far, far more engaged in the activities they initiate themselves than those I suggest. This isn't to say we don't do things together - we read, we listen to music, we cook, we walk and swim - but I don't really play with them. And, I would say that almost all of their play involves found objects or household items in addition to a very few open ended/imaginative type toys. I'm keeping everything we have because I'll be able to use it when I go back to teaching, but we could get by with the following -

playsilks
blocks
figures
some kind of small, no specifc manipulative

paper
colored pencils
watercolor paint
scissors
tape, glue sticks, string
playdough or beeswax for the older kids

junk mail, egg cartons, cardboard boxes - basically anything from the recycle bin

sticks, rocks, dirt, water

books and Pandora for music

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Old 08-15-2012, 04:55 PM   #12
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Re: play at home moms?

SAGE-

I'm in total agreement. I homeschool and we have TOO MANY nice toys- like solid wood nice toys. I don't know how to pare down any more, but I need to. I love the term benign neglect, which I learned at La Leche League when ds#1 was just a newborn!

"Overabundance" is a great way to describe my problem.
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:05 PM   #13
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You know I recently discovered the the play at home mom site. I like a lot of the ideas, but oh the clutter! I can't do that. That just looks like a giant daily clean-up project. My kids would never keep all those art supplies properly sorted.

I do think there are ways to do art, sensory, gross-motor, fine motor, and other fun activities at home without it taking up a ton of room or taking over your house. I do Montessori at home with my toddler and I have two sets of low shelves, 1 book small book shelf, and 2 bins in the closet for storage. It doesn't take up any more room than that. We also do a LOT of things outside, I mean really the more you're outside the less you have to clean up! I have the book "15 Minutes Outside" and it has really simple activities you can do outside each day, for every month of the year.

Anyway I like the site, and I also really like Playful Learning. But I think you can do it without just accumulating masses of stuff.
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Old 09-08-2012, 07:43 AM   #14
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Re: play at home moms?

See, I love the Play at Home Mom site and ideas! I think you CAN do it pretty minimally, though. You don't have to leave everything out all of the time, and you don't have to have every supply they have. I don't, but I do a lot of the activities with my son. A lot of it is about setting up what they call "invitations." If I left all of those materials out all of the time, my son would go crazy and my house would be a disaster. But he enjoys doing many of the activities I set up for him. Things like shaving cream, food coloring, water beads, etc. don't take up a ton of space (although bins and whatnot do). But I don't mind using up some room and having a bit of "clutter" if it's getting used. To me, clutter is only clutter if it has no purpose and gets in the way and isn't adding to our life (and doesn't have its own place in the home).

I keep some materials in our kitchen closet (where I keep some craft supplies, coloring books, art supplies, etc.). I use their website as inspiration when I'm looking for something interesting for my son to do. They have a lot of different types of play, too.

If you follow their facebook page, you'll see a lot of it is also about saying "yes" more. And allowing kids to explore their worlds and be messy, splash in puddles, play in the mud, participate in life (like, let them cook and make your kitchen messy as they learn), and trust that they can do things. Those things don't require a ton of supplies, if any. It's a mentality.

I think it's one of those things where you have to take what you want from it and leave what doesn't work.
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:39 PM   #15
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Re: play at home moms?

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Originally Posted by wordbox View Post
See, I love the Play at Home Mom site and ideas! I think you CAN do it pretty minimally, though. You don't have to leave everything out all of the time, and you don't have to have every supply they have. I don't, but I do a lot of the activities with my son. A lot of it is about setting up what they call "invitations." If I left all of those materials out all of the time, my son would go crazy and my house would be a disaster. But he enjoys doing many of the activities I set up for him. Things like shaving cream, food coloring, water beads, etc. don't take up a ton of space (although bins and whatnot do). But I don't mind using up some room and having a bit of "clutter" if it's getting used. To me, clutter is only clutter if it has no purpose and gets in the way and isn't adding to our life (and doesn't have its own place in the home).

I keep some materials in our kitchen closet (where I keep some craft supplies, coloring books, art supplies, etc.). I use their website as inspiration when I'm looking for something interesting for my son to do. They have a lot of different types of play, too.

If you follow their facebook page, you'll see a lot of it is also about saying "yes" more. And allowing kids to explore their worlds and be messy, splash in puddles, play in the mud, participate in life (like, let them cook and make your kitchen messy as they learn), and trust that they can do things. Those things don't require a ton of supplies, if any. It's a mentality.

I think it's one of those things where you have to take what you want from it and leave what doesn't work.
Absolutely. I could never do everything they do, or make my house like theirs, I'd go nuts, but I do use it for ideas and inspiration!
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Old 09-09-2012, 07:53 AM   #16
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Re: play at home moms?

I make my own ideas with household things. We play in different things (oats, sugar, flour) as a sensory activity. We just did some shaving cream finger paint (though she kept trying to eat it) and we'll try yogurt paint another time.

I've done glow sticks in the bath and glow sticks in a dark room and both of those go over well... they are the only activities that have required buying anything, but glow sticks are cheap and small.

I look at it as an opportunity to get creative with stuff around the house when I read her ideas.
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