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As we are getting ready for gift giving season, one of the challenges is to buy things that fit into our play space, both literally and figuratively. A play space is a parenting essential. If you don’t already have that space, maybe that should be the gift you give yourself.
Whether you have a small space and need the area to serve multiple functions (for us it’s our guest room) or if you’ve repurposed your three-car garage to build a mini DisneyLand, it is important to have a designated area for play. There is nothing sustainable or healthy about toys being strewn all over the house.
My son is 9 months old now. And as a big kid, myself, I’m already having a ton of fun creating his play area. There are a few things that are must-haves for me.
Obviously, a play space should be fun. But it hasn’t taken me long to realize my son gets the most out of playing when my wife and I are actively engaged in his adventures. Knowing this, we focus on activities that allow us to join him. I enjoy telling stories, and who doesn’t like puppets?
This year for Christmas I am getting him a puppet theater, and some new wacky friends to sing and have storytime with. Nothing seems more fun to me right now than doing a puppet sing-along, while he and my wife beat on the drums. Then, there
The reality is, I am not able to play with him all the time. For this time of his day, an activity center is a way for him to do some independent learning. I want my activity centers to be safe and secure. I look for it to have interactives that promote learning to distinguish different shapes, sounds, and textures. My heart explodes every time I see my boy grasp how his actions can make an object react in a specific way.
With both my wife and I working from home these days, the play area items must be easy to clean and store. Modular and collapsible items that are easy to wipe off or detach and wash, are a dream come true. It was mind-blowing to me when I realized so many of the baby items we bought were not easy to clean. Don’t even get me started on some bassinets not having a removable cloth interior.
While all aspects of the play area can be made interactive, activities that promote mobility are paramount in their development and so rewarding for them. My son is at the age now where he recently started climbing, on everything. We bought him the SoftScape Toddler Playtime Climber, a couple of months ago. After seeing him quickly learn to navigate those blocks, he is ready for a wooden climber, with a rock wall ramp.