Last week I posted about our plan to use play centers to facilitate learning. I’ve worked hard at getting our learning space ready for some playful learning! So far Caden really enjoys being in our basement playroom! Are you ready to see what I’ve set up?! WARNING: Our basement was finished in the 1970’s so it isn’t the prettiest, but it’s what I’ve got to work with at the moment. 🙂
The main play area is a huge space! I had planned on breaking up the space into smaller play areas and centers, but it didn’t work out that way with the furniture and space that I have available. So what we have is the reading nook in the back corner and two toy shelves side by side in the center of the space. I used rugs and mats to define play spaces. In front of the reading nook is a car rug and in the center of the space is our large foam alphabet mat.
On the toy shelves I have a variety of toys that Caden likes to play with. I tried to label each shelf or bin, I still have a few more that I need to label. I also grouped the toys together based on similarities. For instance on the bottom of the blue shelf are the building toys- wooden blocks, nature blocks, mega blocks and duplo blocks. I also places on the blue shelf the toys that are usually paired with the building toys- cars, mini animals and little people. On the brown shelf I have two bins of dress up clothes and other toys for pretend play. I also plan on using this shelf to store the themed activities and games.
I also decorated the walls of the main area with cute transportation themed printable wall cards. I found these great alphabet wall cards from Royal Baloo and they fit perfectly on the large wall space above the toy shelves.
These alphabet wall cards go perfectly with these color wall cards I found at Early Learning HQ. I just love these wall cards and had so much fun decorating the walls with them.
Our art center is really simple. I have provided Caden access to some of his favorite supplies while being frugal and using the space and storage I have available.
I am using the drawers of an old bathroom vanity to hold our art supplies. And will be using bins on the counter top to hold the art projects I have prepared for the month. We will be using the small child sized table for our art projects. That table is also part of the dramatic play center.
I really want to put together a play dough kit like this one, but for now I put our play dough supplies in an unused drawer near our child sized table and so far it is working out well.
In another drawer I put our art supply caddy with crayons, markers, dot markers, & colored pencils. In the drawer below that is where I put the white drawing paper, construction paper and a container of stickers.
The drawer under the play dough drawer holds Caden’s Melissa & Doug Transportation stamp set. I may change-up the stamps if I have any stamps that fit the theme.
Dramatic Play Center
As far as dramatic play goes we don’t have anything fancy, just a couple bins of dress up clothes- mostly hats, a play kitchen with a basket of food & a container of kitchen ware and a workbench and tools. But Caden is often bringing us “food” to eat and “coffee” to drink or hammering away at something. He also enjoys wearing his fireman hat and coat while running around making siren noises.
I really like the idea of using busy bags as a way to promote independent learning. So I added a couple of 3M hooks to the existing hooks on the side of the old bathroom vanity and will hang my busy bags in large zip bags with a hole punched in a packing tape reinforced corner.
The reading nook I put together is really simple. I hope to put together a really nice one like these when we finally get settled into a new house. But for now I added a shelf with books next to a little futon that I cozied up with a small quilt made for me by my Grandma and a couple of fluffy pillows. When we start our monthly themes and I get some thematic books from the library I may add a basket to the top of the side table/shelf.
Games & Puzzles
Across from the reading nook we have a large thrifted entertainment center with a huge cabinet on the bottom that is the perfect place to store Caden’s growing collection of puzzles and games.
This concludes your tour of our basement play and learning space. It will of course not always be this way as I will be changing things around to meet our needs and as we acquire more fun learning stuff.
© 2013, Stir The Wonder. All rights reserved.