To curb my desire to buy everything labeled educational, I try to be very intentional with my purchases. I try limiting the number of toys that accomplish the same objectives. Thus, I loved the idea of setting up our playroom with Investigation Stations. Not only will it help with the flow of the day, it will help me remember what we have and what voids I want to fill. This is applicable to playrooms and home school classrooms alike. Easy clean up is an added bonus!
Our playroom needed a few tweaks to transform into a creative learning space that would complement, instead of distract, from planned lessons but also allow free play to occur throughout the day. The Mother Goose Time handbook provides great suggestions on how to establish the ideal classroom, primarily focusing on investigation stations. Set up time was a great opportunity to purge items as I went. It is still a work in progress but I love how it is coming along.
We are a family of readers, so I loved the suggestion of adding beanbags to a designated library. After searching high and low for affordable but comfortable beanbags, I stumbled across these at Aldi’s for only $15! It was well worth the investment both kids love them. I only trust the 2 year old with board books, thus the rest of their books in the china cabinet or on wall mounted shelves in their rooms. As we moved the books to the library area, the kids enjoyed selecting books to give to a younger cousin, keeping only enough to fit in the designated space.
An Ikea shelf was repurposed to house most of the stations. The cubbies contain building blocks, doll clothes/accessories, “worker” hats, a Mr. Potato head bin, musical instrument bin (drum, maracas, bells, tambourine, and a triangle), and a bin for balls. On the top of the shelf, I rotate a “toddler appropriate” puzzle (whenever I remember). It is also home to the two of the best toys we own—Squigz and Lego duplos. We received the squigz as a present for Christmas. I was initially not impressed but they continue to be one of the most used toys in our house by our kids and visitors of all ages. The Lego set is a new addition purchased from a big box store for $30. My kids love playing with a generic set of legos at my parents’ house. However, they typically only build fences or towers. This set has opened their mind to endless possible creations. They started by building what is shown on the box and then their own imaginations were unleashed!
Unfortunately, we found the little table on the left is not quite big enough for two kids. Most crafts and games are completed at the kitchen table. The train table often converts to a puzzle station. The china cabinet holds the lessons, craft supplies, manipulatives, larger puzzles, sensory items, technology, etc. I am still trying to get this area more organized! Next to the cabinet, is our dramatic play area. Most of our dramatic plays occurs in other areas, so our dolls take a nap in between play sessions.
When we are not engaged in circle time, it is the parking lot for our ride on toys and grocery carts. The ride on toys are being used less and less but I am not sure any of us are ready to part with them just yet!
Because of my kids’ age, we do not leave the art supplies within their reach. The easels occupy their own corner but the rest of the supplies are in the china cabinet. I am disappointed that they do not use the easels as much as I anticipated. I think if the supplies were more accessible they would get more use. I look forward to trying a true “art studio” in the future.
I am not very organized by nature, so I am thankful for the layout guide in the Mother Goose Time teacher’s guide and look forward to their future suggestions at how to keep the kids engaged in their learning space.
Thanks for touring our room! I would love to hear how your play space facilitates learning!