"Our lives today are full of more and more 'stuff'. The things we have around us and the things we see in our daily lives, all greatly affect the way in which we create... When it comes to play things for our children, I can't emphasise enough that, for creative play, less really is more. Between generous gifts from family members, hand-me-downs, and accessible, inexpensive toys, it is quite likely that our homes are cluttered and full of play things. A sad product of our modern world is that our children are taught early on to over consume - to want more and more and more. Chances are that they do not need more toys, but fewer. When there are too many things around, there's little room for imagination. Clean out some of the toys that are not used often and think more critically about the ones you let into your home..."   
- Amanda Blake Soule

Our recent playroom overhaul has challenged us to become much more mindful; not only of the amount and type of toys accessed by Sage, but to also consider the ways in which the items themselves are presented. 

Throughout Sage's childhood, we have consciously chosen open-ended materials, inspired by the natural world - namely wooden or cloth based toys - steering away from the often brightly coloured, limiting, noisy world of plastics. 

With the upcoming festive season fast approaching, I've been devouring "The Creative Family" by Amanda Blake Soule, to reinvigorate and inspire our choices when it comes to placing gifts under the tree this Christmas. Amongst her pages, Soule asks us to consider the following when bringing new items into our homes:

"Is it beautiful?"
Choosing to surround our children with beautiful design can be a great source of inspiration. {For us, we've discovered that simple collections of natural-hued items are warm and inviting, aesthetically pleasing and evoke a sense of cohesion.}

"Is it simple?"
Think about selecting toys that can be used in a multitude of ways... ones that evoke imagination and creative expression and ones that can be adapted and used in different ways as your child grows.

"What is it made of?"
Not only do toys made from wood, cloth or natural fibers feel good to play with and connect children to the outside world, but they are also visually appealing and are often durable enough to last a lifetime.

We'll most certainly continue to keep these three elements in mind when making purchases for our children, now and in the future, and gently encourage family members to do the same.

The images accompanying this post show the items currently available to Sage during play {in addition to her play-based investigation area [see more here] and her 'home corner' space}. 

For many months, we've been looking to replace her white, cubed shelving unit {seen here in her old nursery space} with something that would feel more cohesive with the changes we've made in rest of the room. A wander through our local market a few weeks ago, lead us to this much-loved, but perfect shelf, all for a grand total of $15!

At present, the shelf houses materials associated with spring, as well as some wooden stackers and alphabet and numeral resources {as Sage has shown a keen interest in letters and numbers of late}. Pieces will be regularly rotated, added and removed, however puzzles, books and fine motor tasks will always feature. 

As will a hint of nature.

Top shelf - daffodil fields image (old school resource)  //  wooden tree (similar)  //  nest with quail eggs
Second shelf - "Spring" book  //  wooden stacker  //  garden and rainbow layered puzzles  //  wooden bead stacker (thifted)
Bottom shelf - toadstools (purchased in-store)  //  pixie dolls  //  crocheted numerals (made by a friend)  // assorted books 

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