Donate Toys with your Child for the New Year

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5 Steps to Declutter and Donate with Your Child For The New Year

After the holidays your probably feeling overwhelmed with the amount of toys your child has added to the pile. Its time to start the new year fresh and clear out those unused toys for the new year. The end of the year always brings a wave of energy and the mindset of letting go by shedding things we no longer need around us. It’s a window to get in the spirit giving! Why not include your child in the spirit of giving too? If your not ready to do a big clean up that’s ok. This post is for you!

You can instill the value of helping others in your child heart at an early age. How? By allowing your child to be apart of decluttering some toys they no longer care for. Its a great way include them into decluttering, practice detachment and giving all at the same time.

Here are 5 simple ways to take action now without making any major changes in your child’s play area.

  1. Plan: Pick a location, child or family you would like to donate toys too. Make any prior arrangements to drop off the donations shortly after declutter to avoid having the pile of donation laying around the home or sitting in the car for weeks. Then, block out a least one hour to declutter with your child.

  2. Prepare: Grab one large sturdy bag, bin or box.

  3. Talk about it: Sit with your child in front of the toys with out any distractions (meaning no screen time during this conversation). Talk about letting go of a couple toys to donate to some children who would appreciate them.

  4. Take action: Allow your child to pick a couple toys to put in the bag, bin or box you choose. Its important they are apart of the detaching process. Be patient with your child, even only a few things end up in the pile, at least you are practicing the act of giving little by little.

  5. Let go: Make a trip with your little one to drop off the donations. This where the feeling of joy kicks in! A sense of relief will come through you and your child’s heart will be filled with doing a good deed.

Simple Ways to Create a Montessori-Inspired Peace Corner at Home

Many families use the time out chair or some small spot in the house to send thier child to when they are "misbehaving". During those tuff moments it helps to have a space for children to go to relax and think about their actions, but sometimes the time out chair isn't the most effective for all children. Some children can benefit from having a personal environment with tools to help them relax and calm down. That's why there's a peace corner!

Why create a peace corner for my child at home? 

When children seem sad, tired, upset or definat in a Montessori classroom they are often redirretced to the peace corner. The intention is to have a space where children can have a place to help calm themselves down. You can create a Montessori-inspired peace corner like this at home. 

Like adults, children also need inviting space to regroup at times. A peace corner provides not only a comfortable spot to play in but it also becomes a great source for redirecting during challenging moments too. The purpose of the “peace corner” is to support peace within ourselves and others by using materials that represent and encourage positive behaviors, mindfulness and self-reflection.

You may also use it has a space for your child to cool off and redirect him/herself independently. Then you can calmly approach your child after you have reflected on how to take this challenging moment and turn into a learning one. Sending your child to this space also gives you the time to calm down by walking away from them to think about realistic consequences you will set follow through with. Through that consistent practice, this space will support building a deeper collaborative relationship with your little one.

How to Create a Peace Corner

Find a Spot

First, find a place in your home you know would be ideal for your child to safely access anytime. It doesn't have to be a corner in the home necessarily, the key is that it must be a calm area your child can really have some personal space. If you already have a "library or book nook" for you hild at home you can easliy intergreat the peace corner within that same space. Consider decluttering in and around the space you choose. Natural lighting and simplicity are two components that help create an inviting nook your child will really enjoy and use.

Consider  

Anything you use in this space should be looked at with some type of positive purpose for your child. Age, personal interest and level of development should be considered when choosing materials for this space. If you have multi-age children at home it is key to consider each child's personal interest too. 

Gather

  1. Small Mirror
  2. Images of Emotions 
  3. Peaceful/ Happy/Family Images 
  4. Manipulative Toys/Objects
  5. Sensorial Object
  6. Books Related to Purpose 
  7. Timer
  8. Pillows
  9. Carpet 

You can find one of a kind nick-nacks, objects and even pictures like these in second hand stores, local shops or online boutiques. Read the purpose of items listed below so you have an understanding of what to look out for before you gather items. 

  • Small Mirror: A mirror is a great way to for your child to gain self-awareness by noticing his facial expressions during different moods (happy, sad, angry).
  • Images of Emotions: Images help the child distinguish what words to use when expressing their feelings. Ex: I feel “happy” when we play together. 
  • Peaceful/ Happy/ Family Images: Pictures help communicate what peace looks like around the world and at home. You can find art works of landscapes, pictures of influential people and even your own family pictures of happy moments. 
  • Manipulative's: Simple objects your child can play with in the peace corner will not only promote concentration and relaxation but inspire creativity.
  • Sensorial Object: Any safe and pleasant items your child can smell, hear or feel to support sensory stimulation.
  • Books: Books related to the purpose of the space will also help your child calm down and can become a great tool to use as a conversations starter after a heated moment. 
  • Timer: Any timer will do the trick! Sand timers make a meditative tool to look at as the time goes by. Having a timer in this corner also becomes helpful during those tuff moments you need to give your child a time limited time to calm down.
  • Pillows & Carpet: You want this space to feel comfortable and cozy. Other wise the space will feel stiff and uninviting. 

Keep in Mind

Use your creativity when creating this space for your child. Remember you can rotate the items to avoid cluttering and to keep your child interested in the simplistic space. 

May peace be with you! :)

 

Montessori Inspired Kicthen

Montessori inspired kitchen

So here's Zires kitchen space, set up for him to clearly see what he can use to move about in the kitchen for himself. We are open about him building independence throughout our home with safe and appropriate boundaries. He has his plates, bowls, cups, a step stool and more at his reach. This space has been awesome for him, he can serve himself a snack and be able to clean up after himself.

Benefits:

- He feels so confident when he pours himself and us glass of water.

- Learns coordinating what he needs to do to accomplish a task.

- Practices grace and courtesy! He loves to serve our guest and his friends snacks and juice when they come over.

 

Montessori-inspired space

Montessori room for children

So this is one side of Zire's Montessori inspired room. I wanted to make sure he had a place to come and feel inspired to creatively express himself through play and art. I find myself just wanting to hang out with him in his room many times, the environment calls my inner child out to play too. It also reminds me to keep introducing him to new arts and craft projects and play ideas. 

The area that he's sitting is were all his building toys are, I also incorporated a mirror inspired by the Emilia Reggio philosophy. The purpose of the mirror is to enhance his play inquiry it allows him to see his lego and other toys from more than one dimension, cool concept right?!.  The other area along the wall is his arts and craft area. There he has the essentials color pencils, crayons, glue, scissors, papers, paint, stamps and a couple of other fun things. 

Most of the times he usually takes what he needs and comes to the living room or the kitchen to do his crafts or play because he likes company, and thats A ok. The point is that when he's inspired to play or do art, it is accessible for him to independently get what he needs at any time.