Friday, January 6, 2012

Playful Learning

Friends, I am bursting with joy to share my most recent endeavor!  For the first time in my life, I have (or have made) time for leisure reading in the past 6 months - a hobby I intend to continue - and for Christmas my mom gave me the book Playful Learning Spaces by Mariah Bruehl.  I am fangoriously devouring it.  Fangoriously... gold star if you catch that reference from the early 2000s.  It is loaded with great information about stages of development in different areas of learning (art, math, writing, etc), and she offers suggestions for creating meaningful play and learning experiences for children of all ages and developmental levels.

Last week we cleared our junk room to host some dear friends who were in town from Michigan, and the guest room without guests in it, is our new family studio.  If you can imagine, the room was stacked with boxes and toys and outgrown clothes and craft supplies from wall to wall waist-high just over a week ago, and now we have a clean studio space!

Guest room from the door that we were unable to fully open a week ago.  The towels and blankets (on the shelf) will return to the linen closet in the hall until we are expecting guests.
Our expandable day bed is back to twin-size, and the shelves are ready for new activities for the children.  We'll be adding an easel and table to the space along with some playful and carefully designed art, writing, science, and math activities (some of which may end up on the kitchen and living room shelves... we can't cram everything into one room!).

View looking back toward the door (to the left out of view) and curtained closet.  The toys and books on the shelf were just a couple things to help our mini overnight guest feel at home.
A big open wall and a couple pop-arty pictures to hang on a wall somewhere.

  I already have little piles of in-progress work toward the goal of breathing life into our studio space.

The paints will likely remain in a closet with a tray/palate on the shelf, so we can be more aware of when they are ready for projects with higher potential for destroying rugs and walls. :)  They paint often, just with supervision to ensure that the paints are not being abused.

In addition to reading and enjoying Mariah's book, I have registered for her Playful Learning E-course, which should help fuel and direct my aspirations for our studio and our home.  She has a beautiful studio in her own home, and it has been a major source of hope/inspiration to me in the past year since I discovered her website and blog:  Here is a video trailer for the e-course, in case you might be interested in joining... I'm already in, so say the word and we can be buddies in this process.  I hope to share some of my work for the course here on the blog!