Archive of ‘Minimalism’ category

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.

Play Based Minimalism With Randi Tatsch

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.

 

We are honored that Randi is willing to share with us about being a minimalist mom that encourages play-based learning. Randi is a mom to her little boys, Hudson and Jude. Her and her husband live intentionally and she has the joy of home pre schooling her boys. She cooks up some incredibly nourishing meals and has a beautiful Wild+Free style mom heart.

How has “play-based minimalism” helped you as a mom?
“It has made me a better mom since it has simplified our life. Clutter creates a drain on the senses. I feel less organized when there are tons of toys out. Embracing a minimal life style helps us feel happier in our home. My children spend the majority of their time at creative play. They are learning through play since they have less stuff competing for their attention. This carries over to other spaces. As a mom, I love how they can engage each other in imaginative play no matter what environment we are in.”
What is your philosophy of play?
“We play with natural materials as much as we can. My boys will turn sticks, rocks, leaves, and acorns into people. My oldest son gathers treasures on our backyard hikes. They spend their days in unstructured play so they can use their imaginations. They choose what to play with and I only step in if they have a disagreement. When I purchase new toys for them, I value quality over quantity.  I carefully consider the item before bringing it into our home. I try to focus on beautiful, functional or educational items. We have mostly wooden toys and books.”
 
What is your best piece of advice for parents designing their child’s play space or bedroom?
“I use Houzz and Pinterest, since I’m a visual learner. There are not many toys out in their room. Clutter creates an uneasy feeling so their rooms don’t have many items out. Most of their belongings are in the closet. However, a few beautiful and well loved toys and books are out. My boys fall asleep quickly and easily. Their room is a calm and pleasing space. I also designed it so that it will grow with them. There is a beautiful midcentury dresser, a queen size bed, a nice, inexpensive rug, and a bookshelf/desk.”

What is your favorite toy for young learners?
“My favorite toys spark imaginative play. My boys spend a great deal of time playing with their play kitchen. They also really love homemade play dough! “

What atmosphere does “play-based minimalism” create in your home? 
“When you focus on minimalism, you create a nurturing home. We spend quality time together. We come together as a family. We enjoy a daily rhythm of open play, reading, connection, and nourishing meals. My children learn values since they clean up after themselves. It is a work in progress of course! Our boys share with each other very well. The toys we have around are such a nice quality that they should last a long time. We experience a relaxing, peaceful home. “
Follow along with Randi’s play-based minimalist life on Instagram  and show her some #playbasedminimalism love!

Extending Play: Water Balloons

I posted on my Instagram this week one simple thought:

    Play in itself is simple. The learning that happens within play is beautifully complex. 

This thought right here has been on my mind a lot lately. I have focused my recent energy on teaching and showing others how minimalism and play-based learning can go hand it hand. Not in the minimalist mindset of “only have 100 items”, but it the sense of bringing home and keeping only physical objects that serve a purpose or add a great deal of value to your life.

Please know that I am not for donating and purging all your toys and starting new. I am not for packing them all up to teach kids a lesson. I come from a reasonable place with my play-based minimalism.

By designing a home environment that has fewer toys, you are able to gracefully work on the habit of sustained attention and responsibility. More to come on the psychology of this in later posts.

One way that we are able to have fun-filled, learning days at home without a great deal of “teaching toys” is by extending the play with the toys that we have. I have started a blog series that will focus on extending play.

For today, I want to discuss something very simple:  Water Balloons with the focus of extending play.

This morning was our normal extraordinarily ordinary type, a bed headed child playing.

It started with the request for water balloons. Sure, why not!

We filled the balloons up. Some we filled up with all water. Some we blew a little air on top of the water.

We also got out two bins: her blue bin and red wagon. I filled the blue one with water and left the wagon empty.  She spent time moving the balloons back and forth between the bins.

When I noticed her attention was drifting but I wanted to work on the habit of sustained attention, I pulled out some sorting cups and simply rested a balloon in it. I didn’t speak any words during this demonstration, but she saw my action. Soon she was filling the other cups with balloons and talking about them “fitting” and “falling”.

This then turned into her dipping the stacking cups in the water and watering her balloons and practicing dumping her cups. This then led back into sorting the balloons back and forth between the bins and a sing-a-long of Bumping Up and Down.

Play-Based Skills

Language: Full or Empty? Big or Small?

Cognitive Skills: Sorting, Colors, Cause and Effect, Will it fit?

Physical: scooping, dumping, dropping, throwing, pulling (wagon), stacking

 

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