9.23.2010

mutli-use play canvas

One thing about having moved around a lot over the past year is that our toys collection is fairly slim.  Our playthings are a constantly changing collection of fairly small of items, figurines and rubber animals gleaned from free boxes and thrift stores along our travels.  Much of my childrens' play is centered around temporary worlds created with what ever household items they find about and the recycle bin.

Perhaps this is a bit of deprivation.  When my kids visit their friend's homes, they obviously take great pleasure in playing with the toys there, though, I know children always like to play with novel items and grow bored of their own stock soon enough.  Still, to sort of freshen their experience, I like to get involved every once in awhile and make up something with a bit more sparkle then the old scarves and toilet paper tubes.

Of course, in a home with as much glitter in the craft cupboard as we have, 'sparkle' is always a literal description.

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To support their transient playthings and small scale toys, I thought this play board might inspire some tiny realm play. Truth be told, I'm hoping it will serve as a base for a number of sophisticated magical worlds, like the DIY land of OZ featured on Filth Wizardry. So far, my munchkins have failed to channel the realm where old movies you've yet to discover live and spontaneous produce a miniature emerald city, but Smootch and Birdie have still managed hours of play, creating and deconstructing entire lands of fantasy.

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The play board is, of course, merely cardboard, cut from a box, flattened and painted with acrylic.

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After getting a nice thick layer of paint on, I sprinkled a generous amount of glitter and made some swirly designs and whatnot to seal in the sparkle. So far, no glitter has left the board to land on the carpet or faces, so this is officially our neatest glitter project ever.

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The "blocks" Birdie likes to play with right now are cut from a tree branch, sanded smooth on the cut sides. They make a oddly satisfying 'click' when you stack them together. If you decide to do the same, make sure your wood is nicely dry before you cut, otherwise they may form little cracks over time. For anyone pruning back their trees before winter (or summer on the other side), this is a good time to set aside a few branches to cut up for holiday presents.

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You can see our toys are getting down to the basics. The thread spool, the lego, the string.  Anybody feel sorry for him yet?

The other thing reason for this play board is to have a canvas for geometric drawings. After a particularly paper heavy craft, I took the scraps and cut them into basic shapes, rectangles, triangles and squares. Then, I let the kids at them.

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This is the beginning of introducing collages to Smootch beyond the random placing of objects on a page and gluing them down. With Smootch, Miss Perfectionist, a temporary canvas (movable features, a Magna Doodle or chalkboard) often encourages her to be more daring and inventive, knowing that she can quickly erase her mistakes or unwanted effects.

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A few housekeeping details before I close for the day:

1. My emails are working again. You can contact me at vegbee@littleprintdesigns.com or info@littleprintdesigns if you like and I will most certainly get back to you.

2. I am almost finished sulking about my impending move. We have found a place in our new town, right on the lake in a holiday cottage (at off season prices). It has a backyard (Smootch's only request) and a dishwasher (The Man's main criteria), and we will be settling in on the first of October.

3. I would like to do two new things with this blog and advice or input is welcome. One is the offering up of the opportunity for those of us with a home based, handmade business to get a bit of exposure by offering up sponsorship spots on Indietutes. I will be bringing more information out with time, but if you are interested now, please contact me directly. The spots will be limited and formatted such as you see on the right side of the page. More details to come.

4. If you cast your eyes left and scroll down a bit you will note a new tutorial section called 'What To Do With'. Our family is taking up a personal mission to eliminate our garbage. Nothing thrown out, only reused or recycled. This will be an ongoing evolution for us, done in stages, but the first part is to try to figure out what to do with the little ends and bits that I would normally send out to the bins. Soon I will post what I've been doing with the plastic thread spools I have so many of. Other than that, if you have some clever ideas or are wondering what to do with the odd things we normally toss away, please email me with your brilliance and questions, and we can talk about it to figure out together how to reduce the load on our landfills. Stay tuned for more of this also.

5. Have a lovely day and find some time to play with your recycle ;)

12 comments:

  1. Seems like fine toys to me! Your son's wooden toys reminded me of something- wood toys are supposed to be lovely, natural, warm...so what do you make of the wooden cell phone I saw my niece playing with yesterday? Made me laugh out loud :)

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  2. Somehow it seems that no matter what shiny toy you buy a kid, they soon get bored with it and eventually make their way back to the cardboard box etc anyways. I think his "toys" are just fine!

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  3. I have never felt sorry for your kids--the best 'toy' is an engaged and creative parent and that is what you clearly are. It's inspiring and I think of mums like you when I resist the urge to encourage my kids to get out of the kitchen cupboards and go play in their pretend kitchen!

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  4. I love that your kids have few toys and seem to find things to play with! My goal is to scale down what we have because half of it doesn't get used anyway!
    Fabulous ideas.
    I really enjoy your "unschooling" posts as well.

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  5. You have the toy set-up that I want. I keep purging (to the thrift store!) and the relatives and husband just keep buying. I keep insisting that it's no longer a playroom when it's so deep with toys that you cannot play in it, but no one seems to listen. And now I really wish I had some branches to cut back, because I love the branch blocks.

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  6. for some reason even if you have those fancy shmancy toys the ones they gravitate to are the things they find on their own. I am constantly finding scraps from my sewing garbage around the house because they are using them for capes, blankets, pillows or other useful items for 'dudes'.

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  7. Here are a few things we've done with applesauce cups and yogurt cups.

    http://melissaculver.blogspot.com/2010/04/lady-bug-craft.html

    http://melissaculver.blogspot.com/2010/02/cups-cups-cups.html

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  8. Definitely don't feel sorry for them! I see kids that are using their imaginations to the fullest extent. Toys nowadays leave much to be desired in the imagination department. :)

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  9. Love such simple props for play!
    Re your garbage/rubbish reduction efforts, www.rubbishfree.co.nz may provide you with some incredible inspiration about what you might be able to achieve, and plenty of practical ideas.

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  10. I love every.single.thing in this post. I love the way you think. I'm totally copying you.

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  11. This was selected as one of my great posts of the week.

    http://www.jdaniel4smom.com/2010/10/great-posts-i-came-across-this-week.html

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  12. that was a clever little addition to play in your home. Creativity never dies when it is allowed to breathe.

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