A few weeks ago, I saw Mariah Bruehl’s new book, Playful Learning, featured on several of my favourite blogs. I was inspired and excited to have a peek at it from what I could see from her guest posts, online shop and blog, so I entered a giveaway and requested the book from my public library. When I picked up my library copy and flipped through, her ideas for children’s writing desks leaped right off the page at me. I mulled over the photographs and brainstormed ways to use what I already had at home to create an inviting, child friendly writing station.
This is what I came up with:
The most amazing thing is how much the girls love it.
I know there’s a novelty factor anytime you introduce something new, but the girls have used their writing station multiple times a day, every day since we set it up. Beatrice has been drawing pictures for herself, writing and mailing cards to friends and family members, and has started a daily exchange of hand drawn notes and pictures with the little girl who lives across the road.
Our writing station is small and simple.
I used only what I already had when I set it up, although I do plan on adding a set of vertical pockets to display various types of papers facing out. I started with our small blue kid-size table, then added a set of wooden drawers, two canning jars, one for regular pencils and the other for colouring pencils, and the alphabet and number posters on the wall. Papers live in a plastic pouch on top of the drawers, and there are a selection of notebooks in the widest drawer. The other drawers hold index cards, pencil sharpeners and erasers, and we plan to fill the top drawers with pre-printed address labels for friends and family members. Stickers live in a little pencil case beside the pencil jars.
This writing station has been a great experience for me to have right now, as we start our first year homeschooling. I’ve realized (again) that learning is so much more than just choosing the right materials or working out the best routine.
Learning happens best in an environment that is set up to be empowering and inspiring to the child.
Bringing papers and pencil crayons to the dining room table meant that the girls were working in my space (at a full-size table, sitting on adult sized chairs) and projects had to be cleared away for meals. The writing station is their space, one where they can feel comfortable going to create something at any time.
I was lucky enough to be the winner of a Playful Learning giveaway at Let the Children Play, one of my favourite early childhood education blogs. I’m looking forward to trying out some of the other projects in Playful Learning and learning about how to create an atelier in my house in Mariah’s Playful Learning e-course. You can have a chance to win a copy of Playful Learning and a spot in the e-course too, as the Playful Learning blog tour still has a blog or two left to go.
Have you created any playful learning spaces in your home? How did it go?