Roots+Wings: Cloud Themed Preview Day

Each Roots+Wings playdate will have a similar structure so that the children will become familiar with the rhythm. Today was rainy so some of our planned lessons were altered and most families stayed home due to the weather, but we had a great time enjoying some cloud activities. Please enjoy this photo summary of our day!

Invitation to Play

(Playing with cloud sand)
(Planned sensory bin, but decided to not bring it out because we were inside)

Read Aloud
  (Really cute book!)
 (Little cloud turns into different shapes.)

Main activity, Mini-lesson

(Ink blot cloud art)(Creating clouds with cotton balls, shaping them like the book)

We had a fun science experiment planned, but the weather didn’t hold out for us. No worries though, it was a perfect opportunity to talk about how rain comes from clouds.

Thank you for joining!   

Play-Based Minimalism with Emily Russo

Our mission for our Interview Series is to hear from other moms 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.

There is a Waldorf Education Philosophy that believes that a child’s education should be focused on the whole child- Head, Hands and Heart. We believe that this philosophy should be applied to each member of the family, and the home itself.

We are honored that Emily is willing to share the Head, Hands and Heart of a minimalist mom that encourages play-based learning. Emily is a joyful mom to two little ones, Ezra(3) and Priya(1) and a loving wife to Joel. They live in Ohio, but I wish they were my neighbors because her party planning skills are on point!

How has “play-based minimalism” helped you as a mom?
“Play based minimalism as a mom has been life changing. My children play so much better, more peacefully and for longer periods of time when they are not lost in a sea of toys. There is also less clean up which is nice because I spend less time cleaning and more time with my family.”
What is your philosophy of play?
“I wouldn’t say I have a “philosophy” of play but I do want it to be relaxed and open ended. We try to focus on Montessori methods in our home so our children while playing are learning but also gaining independence in the activities they do during the day.” 
What is your best piece of advice for parents designing their child’s play space or bedroom?
“I don’t have much advice because I myself am still learning, but one thing I have learned that is worth sharing is that it can be tempting to want play to meet a certain expectation we have in our minds but I’ve had a lot more success letting my children play with what interests them and then the learning just comes naturally at that point. It’s much less stressful to let them take the lead and show you what interests them and then use that opportunity to slip in play based learning. We also try to not buy toys that only have one function (battery operated tend to be like this) but that serve as many purposes as their imagination can come up with. It has made a world of difference to have a play room full of open ended toys! “
What is your favorite toy for young learners?
“We’ve got a lot of favorites but if I had to pick one it would be our Melissa and Doug rainbow stacker. That thing gets SO much love here! It’s great because it’s very versatile. All while playing my 1 year old is working on fine motor skills trying to stack them and if my 3 year old is playing with it he’s working on fine motor skills but also on shapes, colors and counting.”
What atmosphere does “play-based minimalism” create in your home? 
“My home has felt more peaceful since we have implemented a minimalistic mentality. Physical clutter is mental clutter and it’s amazing to see how much better my children play in atmosphere that is free from clutter. It’s also made us appreciate quality over quantity. It’s easy to fall into the trap of consumerism so it is important to let our children know it’s not the quantity of things you own but the quality of play, relationships etc that matter.”
Follow along with Emily’s play-based minimalist life on Instagram  and show her some #playbasedminimalism love!


One of my biggest changes in life over the past two years has been my relationship with time. Maybe it is seeing how much growth my daughter makes each month and knowing these amazing days of having little kids is limited. Maybe it is my research on executive functioning and time management skills through consulting. Or maybe it is my desire to live a life with as much good and as little “fillers” as I can.

Minimalism is about far more than decluttering and asking yourself “Does this spark joy?” In fact, that is only one small bit of a meaningful minimalistic life. Yes, my home is not cluttered. Yes, we try to minimize our physical positions and have scaled back greatly over the past couple years but the most powerful way we have minimized is with our time.

My husband and I have had people ask us lately about ways that we manage our time because, honestly, we have a lot of “free time”. As The Minimalist would word it, my “pithy answer” is:

Get in the habit of saying no in order to say yes to what you truly want to spend your time doing. 

(f you want to minimize your time reading, just hop to the link here! Keep reading for my non pithy answer. )


This is what I have started doing for grocery shopping.

  1. In the summers, I shop the local farmer’s market. Sometimes these prices are still a bit high so I am careful at how much I buy there. (We follow the Dave Ramsey Plan so I know where my money is going, especially the grocery budget)
  2. I shop at a local grocery story that sources its food from local farms. I only buy my dairy (usually kefir or yogurt), my bread and sometimes my eggs from there. (Ramsey Friends- I give myself a $20 cash limit per week there because I could get carried about with all of the amazing goodies.)
  3. *I use SHIPT. Grocery delivery to your house. Seriously, it is amazing. I grocery shop from Publix or Whole Foods online and it is arrives at my door. I double heart eyes loooove it. When I am shopping online, I can easily check my balance in my shopping cart and adjust my spending accordingly. I can click through the sales easily and use the search option on the site rather than wander through the aisles. Oh and the fact that I can have a glass of wine on a Sunday afternoon while waiting for my order rather than plopping my toddler in the cart, is just fantastic. (Ramsey Friends- Yes, it does cost a yearly or monthly fee. Yes, I do tip $3-6 each time. But I save money because there is no temptations. So if you are on baby steps 4/5/6, this is an awesome option. If you are plugging away at 1-3, keep it up. You can do it!) 

More to come about my meal planning, grocery saving tips and favorite recipes. I would love to hear what you all do to save time and money in the area of family meals!

*If you sign up through my link, I do receive $10 worth of grocery credit on my account. By signing up through someone else, you also get $10 worth of groceries and 2 weeks free. If you sign up, please be sure to let me know any of your Shipt Tips and how you are liking it.

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