Children’s Spring Clean

  
  
  

Even though we live a very simple life here, we do have a little children’s play room (something which is quiet unusual for people over here).
And we do have toys, subhanallah, not a whole lot of them, but alhamdulillah enough, and sometimes I think we have even too much…
That’s why one of my priorities for this year’s spring clean was the kid’s room.
Baby grows so quick, subhanallah, and she already crawls everywhere, that’s why I had to make the room safe as well, because I don’t know if it is boys in general or if it is just our boys – but mashaallah, they really are not good in taking care of their stuff. Unfortunately we do have not only wooden or toys made of natural materials (which I would much prefer), but we do have also a lot of plastic cars and things that brake very quick… So first I had to declutter the spaces from all these little broken pieces, mashaallah, and I took out all the destroyed and worn-out things and also the things that have to be mended (like books or broken cars).
And then we were ready to rearrange.
Recently I am so very much inspired by all the Waldorf- and Montessori-ideas. They simply resonate with my heart and with my ideals and to me they seem so logical in what they say about how to keep sane the children’s imagination and about the need for healthy nourishment to develop well. 
We changed now our play-spaces according to these ideas:
– more un-toys and natural-toys instead of plastic or battery-toys,
– defined areas for different kinds of play (huge free play zone to play with cars and to built huts, corner and hangers for the items of imaginative play, little table and chair to draw and write, corner for relaxing with lots of new cushions to hide and to feel comfortable),
– beautiful toys at display and the others logically arranged in different baskets and marked with little pictured-/named-hangers (to make it easy for the kids to find the right place when tidying up),
– harmonious colours and materials that keep a sense of peace and warmth,
– only a few toys at hand, the others hidden in the cave – to change them from time to time to keep the interest and not to overload the children’s spirit.  

I also read about the importance of doll-play, even for boys. I liked dolls myself when I was little and I really liked all the thoughts I read about the benefits of that kind of play, so I ordered now a Waldorf-doll for each of my children, hoping that they might bring a bit more softness and peace into their art of play (… mashaallah, I am so longing for more girls-like play after all these fighting- and cars-and shooting-boyish-years).

Alhamdulillah, the room looks now much nicer and play already is more harmonious here, and we also have some other aims and ideas to realize inchaalah:
– keeping the room neat and in order every evening to be ready to welcome the next day,
– making stacking toys out of natural wood. Letting the kids cut and sand and prepare the pieces themselves,
– making felt balls in different sizes and felted fruits and vegetables for play,
– avoiding plastic toys and focusing more on things like this and that (alhamdulillah, we have no toys-shops around here, but these are the priorities for the wish lists, because, subhanallah, the kids did sense the benefits and beauty of natural and wooden things after I explained and talked about it over the last weeks).

… Sorting out, minimizing, thinking, planning and putting priorities as well as focusing on real beauty concerning toys and play spaces pays off, I believe.

It really is worth to make an effort to arrange a beautiful nourishing atmosphere for our children because: “It is an immense fallacy that little children do not notice. It would be wiser to think that nothing is missed, that everything is absorbed” (Francis Edmunds).

12 thoughts on “Children’s Spring Clean

  1. Liebe Itto,
    just diese Tage habe ich auch das Gefühl, das Kinderzimmer und alle Kinderecken in den anderen Räumen aufzuräumen und richtig auszumisten. Es sammelt sich so viel “Gruscht” an, Dinge, die man geschenkt bekommt und eigentlich gar nicht möchte. Ich entferne solche Sachen mittlerweiler rigeros von Junis.
    Zu unserem Abendritual vor dem Schlafen gehört das Zubettbringen der zahlreichen Bagger und Baumaschinen (ein kleines Sofa in Junis’ Zimmer). Junis legt einen natürlichen Wunsch nach Ordnung an den Tag, wenn er mit einer Sache gespielt hat und den Raum verlässt, räumt er das Spielzeug meistens wieder an den richtigen Platz zurück. Mal sehen, wie lange das noch anhält.
    Nun steht nächsten Monat sein 2. Geburtstag an und ich habe jetzt schon Angst vor den vielen unnützen Geschenken für ihn. Ich muss mir dringend noch Gedanken für eine Wunschliste machen, damit er nicht wieder laute, kreischende Baumaschinen bekommt….

    Liebste Grüße aus Bremen
    Steffi

  2. salam alaikum,

    Masha’allah what a beautiful theory, i too have mostly palstic toys for my kids although they are slowly breaking and I am not replacing them, its so true that the toys That have survived the years of roughness from my 7 are the simple wooden toys!
    Your cushions and mats have inspired me to get to my machine insha’allah!

  3. Oh, what a lovely post, again! Once again Itto, your gentleness comes through your words, and soothes me. how lucky your children are, masha Allah.
    At the moment, we have “no toys”, because I get so tired of cleaning them up, stepping on them, tripping over them. I just keep packing them up and giving them to the orphanage, and trying not to get more to replace them.
    My daughter does not even like toys, she prefers crafts. My son has only playmobils, he’s a big fan of them. And the little one just plays with this and that.
    But if we had a lot of space, I’m sure they would love a big, well organized playroom, like yours.
    Love from the big city,
    Nora.

  4. Salams Itto,

    The boys may not get into doll playing right away or too easily since they haven’t seen that modeled too much. It may be really nice to make them a few very simple little dolls, like the style of the simple felt “math gnomes.” You know how kids have special affection for the things we make and also while you are making them you can talk to the dolls and about them, making up their little life stories and such and this will help to bring the dolls “to life” for them. I’m so happy–my eldest (11) has just started making dolls! Masha Allah.

    The room looks great!

    Love and Peace

  5. Oh, I also wanted to tell you about what we did with our rocks🙂 The three year old washed them–for a very longtime–in what started out as a bucket of warm soapy water. She loves water play, so I let her do it for as long as she wanted but kept having to redirect her back to where the bucket was supposed to be, on the towels.
    Then the eleven and eight year old went online and learned how to identify them. We got a really nice variety.
    Thanks Itto!

  6. Your blog is a gem and I’m so happy to have discovered it Alhamdulilah. I look forward to following your new adventures and thoughts here. I found it via GrowMama where I also write.
    Peace, Danette

  7. AA Itto,
    Another lovely post!!!! JAK.
    We started an Umme and Me program in our masjid over 5 years ago.
    When buying toys we decided no junk!!!!! We bought only the highest quality toys……five years later .. almost all toys are still in great shape.
    Anyone living overseas be careful of the cheap plastic toys as they may contain lead. We had a big toy recall in US a few years back ..high lead content….scary when you thnk of babies putting those toys in mouths.

  8. …Also war es nicht Dein kleines Mädchen, das ich auf zwei Beinchen in einem der Fotos gesehen habe, sondern ein anderes.
    Ob des Waffenarsenals mußte ich lachen. Mein Bruder war auch so, Messer, Pistolen und Feuer. Irgendwann hat meine Mutter alle Waffen konfisziert und unter die Matraze des Puppenwagens meiner Schwester gepackt. Wo wir sie vergessen haben, bis alle Kinder erwachsen waren. Als der Puppenwagen an ein anderes kleines Mädchen verschenkt wurde, waren alle etwas erstaunt, wie viele Pistolen der Junge tatsächlich hatte! Man vergißt sowas.

  9. Pingback: Homemakers at Heart « Itto's Living Faith

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