I have been diligently working to create a space in our home for Jewel and Rosie to discover and explore. I have had to be creative in this process as actual space within our home is limited. I wanted the space to be child guided, meaning that all materials would be kept available to the girls to use at their leisure. I do a lot of our art and sensory play in the kitchen. It is large, and the floors are easy to clean. This led me to the idea of converting the chef's counter into Rosie and Jewel's open play space. You could also use a blookshelf to create a similar space anywhere in your home.
The first thing I needed to do was purchase storage containers so that materials could be easily accessible to the girls. I purchased my containers at The Dollar Tree. I love that the containers are clear and Rosie and Jewel can easily find whatever material they may be inspired to explore with.
Once I had all the art and sensory supplies in place, I was excited to see how Rosie would react. Jewel is a bit too young to choose activities as she is only 6 months old. This space has worked out amazingly! Rosie can now tell me when she wants to explore or create with a certain material, like paint for example. I have found this to have a huge impact on her creative process. I love that I am no longer dictating when it is time for her to be creative. That is not how creativity works after all.
Here is the finished play space. It includes an array of art supplies as well as sensory bins and a light table.
After just one week of having this child guided space Rosie has learned to put away an activity before pulling out another. I simply watch to see what Rosie goes to play with, and then step in to facilitate the activity. This simple concept is building endless skills. Rosie is gaining autonomy and confidence. She is being given the opportunity to use the materials when she is in a place to grow, create, and explore.
Before having this play space, I would decide at a certain time of day that it was time to explore with a certain material. Often times, I was met with resistance. Perhaps in those moments Rosie was tired, hungry, or wanting to go outside. I still lead activities at points in the day, but Rosie now has the opportunity to create freely. Now that she can choose when she explores with what materials, the activities go so much more smoothly. I see her learning and growing so much more. She loves the feeling of power and control that this gives her.
So far, there has not been a time when she wanted to explore with a certain material, and we were not able to do so. If and when that time comes, we will see how she handles it. However, that will only lead to another important development. It is important to learn that in life we don't always get what we want. It is important for her to also be learning that within reason, she can choose, she is capable, and that I have confidence in her :)