From birth, we change from an environment of water to land. To interact with the world and every area of the brain can be stimulated in new ways. No environment is good forever. If we understand this point, we will also understand the importance of the present environment.
What we strive for most in the Toddler environment is to meet the needs of each child. With this, we take into consideration all that may take to help the child to help him/herself. In the classroom, we keep everything at a toddler level; everything small and light enough to make it not too easy but not too challenging to the point of failure. The environment is supposed to be attractive and beautiful, yet simple with plenty of storage space.
Organizing a playroom at home.
Baskets and trays are most helpful to begin organizing a space for your child. Michael’s and Hobby Lobby craft stores carry all types of these materials as well as thrift stores.
Types of Toys
These toys should be meaningful, purposeful, and useful to develop gross motor and fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, as well as independence. Plush, stacking, building, connecting, puzzles, pretend play, musical play, art play, and of course books! These toys, activities and books can be rotated in and out often (instead of buying new ones all the time) to keep the space attractive and underwhelming, also to avoid clutter. Too many choices can be overwhelming to the child just as an adult can feel overwhelmed at a restaurant with a 20 page menu. Minimize by having a set number of toys/activities you want your child(ren) to have in the room. As you get new toys or books rotate through them rather than adding to the room.
Include a Reading and/or Book Area with shelves for books to facing out creating a welcoming space for quiet reading and exploration. Somewhere to sit as they read such as a chair, small couch, bean bag, etc. will help them to be comfortable while adding to the inviting nature of the space.
If the playroom is the bedroom, separating areas well enough to distinguish for instance where we play, where we sleep, and where we change clothing so clear expectations are known. Designate your playroom as a place to run, jump, roll, throw, wrestle, tumble, hide and seek. How wonderful to have a place to send a child who wants to throw toys.
Ideas great for some toys and organization pieces are below:
Melissa and Doug, melissaanddoug.com - Plan Toys, http://usa.plantoys.com (This company has more options on amazon) - A Montessori store, forsmallhands.com
Help organize: Trays - http://amzn.com/B00756KE1C - http://amzn.com/B00756KDDG
Care of self
Care of self should be practiced daily in an area designated for the child. Like all other areas, they should be distinctly separate from the rest of the areas in the room.
Hand washing can be practiced daily; we teach each child how to properly wash and dry their hands, and we have some from the beginning of the school year that we are still working with to their hands multiple times a day. -Set up the bathroom for the child to be able to access the water, soap, and a towel to dry their hands independently. Additionally, at this age, teeth are setting in and proper materials are needed to be easily accessible to show them to brush their teeth: toothpaste, toothbrush, and a cup for water should be set out daily. We recommend filling a small container for toothpaste to avoid squeezing out the entire bottle in one wash.