Summer Rhythm

I often think of rhythm as the webbing that holds are weeks together. Without sending children to school and without working a consistant schedule, I find that having a strong home rhythm is even more important.

 

We generally use meal times as our rhythm anchors. Our rhythm hasn’t changed much since the fall, which I am very grateful for but it will very soon since I’m 38 weeks today! I’m eager to see how our little Gavin fits into the rhythm and how it will need to be adjusted for his needs. I find that the beautiful thing about rhythm rather than routine, it can ebb and flow to fit our lives.

 

When you are reading this, please note that these times are fairly flexible.

 

 

~ 7:00 Morning Rhythm

 

Lydia wakes up. I have been trying to have a little art “invitation to play” set up for her. She loves it. I also usually give her a tiny serving of fresh fruit to hold her over until I make breakfast. I prep this the night before so it is super simple.

 

We begin with bit of outdoor playtime, lately straight for the sandbox, sidewalk chalk or pool. She tends to stay close to the house in the early morning.

 

Breakfast- We still do a variation of eggs almost everyday for breakfast. Lydia sometimes requests oatmeal or yogurt so I accommodate those easy requests. I make our lunch smoothies while I am already in the kitchen.

 

After breakfast, we naturally settle in to read books while I have a little more coffee.

 

Then it is free-play, usually indoors, but these summer months pull us outside too. This is when I do household chores like laundry.

~10:00 Morning Adventure

 

I have been blessed with friends and an incredible play-based community. This lends itself from doing great developmental exploring any day of the week. I have been trying to be very mindful about what we agree to join in on. I look at proximity, time outside, child-led interest and my own enjoyment.

 

Mondays- Home Day

Tuesdays- “Mom Mom” time. Lydia spends the morning with my mom.

Wednesdays- Roots+Wings Playschool

Thursday- Home Day

Friday- Playdate, usually at a local coffee shop with a playground!

 

We have snack time during our morning adventure. This is usually fresh fruit and some type of nut or seed.

~12:30 Lunch

We try to get home from our adventures for lunch most days. I could push it and keep us out longer, but the flow of our afternoon works so much better when we are back by 12:30 or 1:00pm.

 

Lunch is smoothies and often something crunchy like crackers to satisfy our snacky needs. I keep a big basket of library books in our dining room so they don’t get mixed up with our other books. We read these while she eats.

 

We usually do lunch at the dining room table. In the summer, we tend to gather on the porch though.

 

~1:00 Quiet Time

My daughter doesn’t nap anymore but this post-lunch time remains very dear to my heart. She plays quietly in the room and reads stories with me.  Once in awhile, if she isn’t sleeping and I feel like she needs some shut off time, she watches a show.

 

I often have the white noise machine going at this time. We have one that has a timer, so after some quiet play, if I need a break, I set the timer and she knows she has to stay in her room until it turns off.

 

Potty Training hint: Put a mini potty in the room to stop the “neeeeeed” to come out of the room to go.

 

~3:00 Free Play

Our afternoons remain our free play time at home. We explore in the backyard, create art in the playroom and just bop around. Generally this is a two hour time block, even in the summer heat or the winter cold. This is when I tend to the garden, clean up the yard and water plants.

~5:00 Dinner Prep

I retreat the the kitchen to prep dinner. Lydia often helps me with this prep or plays with play dough or draws at her little bench right by the kitchen.

 

Lately she has been into audio books. I put on a story for her from Spotify, get out a book that matches the story and pull out a felt set that matches the story. She loves this and will often listen to fairy tales 3 or 4 times while I finish dinner prep. I try to clean all the dishes that I can while I go so after dinner clean up goes fast.

 

This is part of the day that I know will be harder with a newborn. Ayy!

 

~5:30 Dinner

We gather, as a family, at the dinner table.  She sits and chats with my husband and I at the dinner table until she is full. After awhile, she is free to go play in the playroom, directly off our dining room, while we remain at the table.

 

~6:00 Family Time

Kitchen clean up. Playroom clean up. Family playtime or stroller walk.

 

~6:30 Bedtime Routine

Sometimes she hops in the shower or bath, depending on her level of dirt.  But it is always brush teeth, books then bed. We do about twenty minutes of reading and then its time for her to go to bed.

Observer of Play

I’m an observer of play.

Yes, I do run a one day a week playschool, am a former teacher, and lead a playgroup. But those super prestigious(ha!) titles don’t compare to what I feel is my role in my community.


I watch little hands interact with dirt and sticks. I watch feet stomp and jump off rocks. I watch bodies twist coming down slides. I watch shoulders tense and ease as the children engages in a new game.

I listen to spontaneous songs belted out in the middle of a field. I listen to giggles as a centipede crawls on messy hands. I listen to the sweetest conversations as baby dolls interact. I listen to invitations to play, followed by engagement or toddler politics.

And I observe the parents while these incredible learning experiences are happening. I observe their words, or lack of. I observe their guidance, or simply their presence. And I observe their eyes, so clearly falling in love with their child over and over again, while they watch play.

It is such an incredible honor to take the time to observe this.

Play-based Minimalism Interview: Jenn Salsich

Our mission for our Interview Series is to hear from parents that believe in play-based learning but also attracted to a minimalist lifestyle. To us, “play-based minimalism” is about believing that children should be given the opportunity to play in an environment that is designed for learning and imaginative play but free of physical and “commitment” clutter.

This week, we are highlighting Jenn from SimplyOnEden, a wife and mom of three sweet kiddos.

How has “play-based minimalism” helped you as a mom?
“Reducing the amount of stuff and increasing the amount of space we have have been beneficial twofold. Personally, I am less stressed and spend less time talking to them about and actively cleaning the play spaces. Additionally, my children’s level of curiosity and creativity have really blossomed. Ultimately, we benefit from the calm and engaging atmosphere of a simmer play space and home
What is your philosophy of play?
“My philosophy on play is that learning and play are synonymous for children. When they play, they learn. I find that when they are struggling with a new skill, I can step back and approach supporting them by providing an engaging outlet to practice.  Each child learns differently so proving various forms of play allows each child to develop their own way into their true selves. “
 
What is your best piece of advice for parents designing their child’s play space or bedroom?
“Follow your child’s lead. If they are destroying their toy area and you find yourself constantly saying, stop climbing all over my furniture, sit back and observe.  They may, in this example, be focused on gross motor development. You may need to temporarily put toys away and climb a pile of pillows for a few days or use other gross motor toys. They tend to focus on one area of development at a time.  Observe what they seem to be naturally enjoying and gravitating towards and see what you can do within your budget, to support that. ”


What is your favorite toy for young learners?
“We have two… I can’t pick one over the other because they are both life changing for our family. The Grimm 12 piece rainbow is a tool we all use, from ages 1 to adulthood, and love. It allows for creative play and spacial awareness.  It goes from being a doll house to a pinball machine from one day to the next. Grimm toys are an investment but they are heirloom type toys that I hope to use with my grand kids some day far, far away.Secondly, we purchased the Gonge Riverstones and Hilltops. These work wonders for balance, coordination, sorting and so many other important pies of their development. Especially with busy children, having something that causes them to focus on their body seems to drastically improve their mood and helps them work out their extra energy. We use these inside and out and I cannot think of a better investment for your kids.  They are expensive but these will last for years and years and can be used from one stage to the next.”




Thank you for participating, Jenn!
Follow along with our series on Instagram, #playbasedminimalism.

Play-based Minimalism: Natasha

Our mission for our Interview Series is to hear from parents that believe in play-based learning but also attracted to a minimalist lifestyle. To us, “play-based minimalism” is about believing that children should be given the opportunity to play in an environment that is designed for learning and imaginative play but free of physical and “commitment” clutter.

It seems odd to highlight myself on the play-based minimalism series, but I have been asked many times to share my answer to these questions, so here it goes!

How has “play-based minimalism” helped you as a mom?
“Minimalism was a journey that my husband and I began prior to having our daughter. We felt pulled to make some changes, and each step brings us closer to the inner peace that we were craving. Our goal is to allow our children to flourish in an environment of calm, joy and intention. Play-based minimalism has helped me dedicate my time to playing and observing, rather than cleaning and organizing. It has given us the gift of free time as a family and the privilage to live a debt-free (minus mortgage) life. Minimalism and the practice of essentialism, truly makes me a better mom. I am more mindful of choices, mindful of my words and mindful of my actions because my mind is not cluttered like it used to be. This opens up so much time for joy and play!”
What is your philosophy of play?
“It is difficult to find a subject that I am more passionate about than play. I believe that giving children time for free play is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. My style of play is most similar to Rudolf Steiner/Waldorf style, where the emphasis is on imagination and learning through whimsy, with an emphasis on delaying academics. That being said, I also am a huge early literacy promotor and love seeing books come alive through play so I am drawn to Charlotte Mason’s teachings. “
What is your best piece of advice for parents designing their child’s play space or bedroom?
“I believe that play spaces should encourage imaginative play. This is my number one when looking at a play-space. Do the children have room to release their creativity? Do they have access to toys that are open-ended and offer many different play scenarios? I believe that natural materials like wood should be integrated into the play-space because it grounds the children and exposes them to more advanced textures and energy. Even with minimal toys, children have the urge to sort, fill, empty and organize. I make sure that there are baskets and bags for this critical play skill, even if the baskets remain empty when not in use.”


What is your favorite toy for young learners?
“My top three are blocks, baby dolls and fake food. These are three toys that remain out at all times for our daughter. They are used on a daily basis in different forms. The blocks may be parts of a house, phones, chairs or hats. That food may be set up for a birthday party, shared with a doll or thrown in the shopping cart on an urgent shopping trip. I am also loving our new Wave Board! This toy is the ultimate open-ended toy. It is amazing for sensory integration, movement and soothing. But it is also a beautiful piece that becomes a bridge that angry trolls live under, a slide for dinosaurs and a rocker for baby dolls. “
What atmosphere does “play-based minimalism” create in your home? 
“Minimalism in itself creates an atmosphere of intention. We are not stark minimalists, so we feel that our style allows us feel the calm embrace of intention without the harshness of a sterile environment. With less stuff, and less commitments, we are able to use our time the way we want to- hiking, reading, cooking, visiting parks and playgrounds and eating locally. I am a Type A Virgo, but have such a love for play and free time. Minimalism allows me to be content and organized while still enjoying and living my life. It is such a blessing. “
 
Follow along with our series on Instagram, #playbasedminimalism.

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