With a small living space, we need to prioritize what children’s materials we keep out. We keep books on a low shelf and have a building area in one corner, but couldn’t really spare any more space. Greysen has been asking to write and draw, so it seemed time to make a dedicated space that she, and soon her sister, could access as they pleased.
I wanted a space that Greysen could get to but Moon could not – she still needs to be supervised when using scissors, and I wouldn’t want her to get a hold of the stapler either.
First I tried pencil boxes, then a tray, but neither were available enough – nor did they stay organized. I emptied my wrapping paper drawer and arranged a portion of their materials for them.
The drawer is at the perfect height so that Greysen may reach it, but Moon can not.
I kept to just a few things so that it would be easier for the girls to keep organized. The main art cabinet is the large one above (top picture). All of these are familiar materials to Greysen. She knows which markers work on the transparency and which will not. She can not work the stapler on her own yet, but since she handles it carefully I feel safe leaving it in here.
Ideally, Moon would have access to some crayons and paper at least, but I haven’t figured out where to keep that yet. This table is about three feet across from the girls’ play kitchen, so we keep it clear so that it can serve whatever play they are engaged in.
The girls are writing and drawing on a regular basis now. They’re loving this new space.
According to the calendar, Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but around here the note writing is in full force. Greysen has been asking for pen and paper to write notes throughout the day.
Greysen has also been asking for her Dad when she wakes up from her afternoon nap, sometimes crying while asking for him to give her a hug. I suggested giving her notes an addressee – none other than Dad.
Remembering how different sizes of paper often inspired different types of marks, I offered Greysen two sizes. She made no mention of size, but did choose “yellow.”
I suggested that she write to Dad and tell him what she wanted to say to him when she was sad. She also wrote the label, after which I asked her where I should write my part. I have been thinking about labeling things as another way to encourage writing, so this is a start.
This little mailbox is from my childhood. I recently saw ones just like it at Target in the dollar bins.
By the time she places her note(s) to dad in the mailbox, her sadness has dissipated and she’s intent on writing to others. What a bonus for Mike when he comes home to a raised mailbox flag. The letters are a tangible conversation starter between the two of them, and while there are no words to read, Greysen readily tells him some tidbits about the experience.
I’m wondering, do you keep any tangible conversation starters or records of the day for your children and out-of-home working parent, and if so, how have they affected your child’s relationship with them?