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My Own: Play

Many of you probably know, one of my other loves apart from photography is children.  Not in the “I love kids!” way that most of us say, but I really have a passion for enriching children, fostering growth, and feeding healthy habits and fostering healthy thoughts for life.  IF I could do life again, I’d have hands down been a teacher.  The older I get the more I realize I hung onto the dream of nursing and being a nurse for so long for all the wrong reasons.  It sort of squashed my real passions and ambitions on the wayside.  Lucky for me, things work out the way they are supposed to in life and here I am!

While I as pursuing my nursing career in school, I also decided to get a degree in child development.   Mainly because I knew it would make me a better mom–but also because it was something that I had a genuine interest and liking for.  I enjoyed the classes, and learning that took place.  I graduated with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies, with a focus on child development.  In some ways, I think it makes mothering harder–it adds pressure, because I know certain things about different development aspects that make me compare and criticize my parenting.  But in general, it’s a good thing.

When we bought our new house, what sold me, was the  potential for an awesome kid space.  I love play. And if I ran a preschool, my philosophy would 100% be ‘learning through play’ and self discovery.  It’s a natural teacher and helps kids become independent, inquisitive, and creative…amongst so much more.  One of the most fascinating things about parenting so far to me, has been seeing this actually happen.  Watching my daughter’s growth and discovery as she gets older.

I believe my generation of parents have a hard job in fostering genuine play.  There are SO many gadgets and electronics that talk, and video–that take the creativeness away from our children’s minds.   The hardest part about fostering play is not getting your children the right toys, however–its holding back from getting them the toys they don’t need, and overwhelming them with too much.

‘Boredom’ spawns good creative play.  Chances are, kids have enough toys in any circumstance–it’s just a matter of utilizing them differently, and making them new.  Rotating toys, changing their location, taking some away.   The best toys, are the simplest, in my opinion.

This is why I couldn’t wait to get the basement in working order for my daughter and her friends.  I am SO excited to see kids actually use it.  It may actually be one of the best days of my life. Really.

I am blow away by what we’ve been able to create in this room considering it is mostly hand-me-downs and garage sale items–play doesn’t have to be expensive!  I used all the paint we had left over from our other house and that the old homeowners left in this house to paint the walls–I just bought a can of chalkboard paint.  I also bought a piece of precut wood from Home Depot for $6 to paint and cover a hole in the wall that the previous owners had a fish tank in.  I bought a few animal hooks, some crayons/markers/paint/scissors, and some coloring books, and construction paper specifically for the space but everything else I had before beginning.

I scored the awesome easel and dress up clothes at garage sales for $30.  The wall art is just printed from the computer via free online printables, and will likely change at some point.  Most everything else we have in there was either gifted to us or hand-me downs.  My parents have been hanging onto some great toys from our childhood, including legos, marble works, duplos, and…my dad’s childhood blocks.  I can’t remember the story exactly, but someone made the blocks for my father as a kid, and then my brother, sister and I played with them as children, and now my daughter gets to play with them.  I mean, how cool is that? Another toy down there that I LOVE was a gift from my best friend, a wooden mailbox with ‘real’ mail and stamps.  I would have LOVED that thing when I was a kid!  I can’t even believe it.

We are SO lucky.  Check it out:



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