What’s on our shelves- (at 5 years and 3 years of age) plus some ideas for this age group

When it comes to making changes to my children’s toys/materials and spaces at this age, I always include them in the process. I don’t like to make any big changes unless both of my children are on board. There has been times when we have made a change (changed shelf positions or rotated toys/materials and they have initially been very happy with it, but then in a matter of days have asked to change it back.

Here is a look at the way we have currently set up some of the toy/material spaces in our home;

This shelf is used mostly by my three year old but still gets lots of use when we have younger children such as family and friends over to visit. The empty second-hand baskets on the top are for play inside or outside. Both of my children use them for pretend play or for collecting things. This shelf was home-made by my dad and he also made some of the wooden play blocks.
Every Day Begins New- Art shelf rotation
This is where we keep the rest of the art materials- downstairs in a cabinet that my children can access whenever they like. On the top shelf is acrylic and water-based palette paints. On the bottom shelf is their playdough tray and in the glass bottles is liquid watercolours and liquid acrylic paints. Our glass paint bottles on the wooden trays are from Dragonfly Toys.
Every Day Begins New- Games and puzzles storage shelf
Also in the cabinet downstairs in where we keep puzzles and games. The puzzles range from 60-200 pieces. On the right is our card games- UNO, snap, memory match and charades.

My five year old;

All our sewing, knitting items are kept on a trolley upstairs. The cross stitch activity a friend gave my daughter. Our Lucet knitting fork is from Dragonfly Toys.

As you will see in the above photos, for the most part aside from her own desk and the writing/Language shelf, all of the materials my daughter uses is gathered from different areas in our home. All of the puzzles, games, art and play materials are kept downstairs which is where we spend most of our time as it’s connected to the lounge and kitchen area. Downstairs is the coolest part of our home as it can get very hot upstairs. The upstairs study space is used mostly early in the morning or later in the afternoon/early evening.

Upstairs is our study space/spare guest room is where my children have a desk and chair each and keep more their shelf materials, sewing items, writing, reading materials (chapter books and story books kept in their rooms and reference books kept in the study) etc. This room is used more as a quiet space. We did however move the Lego upstairs as it became a hazard (small pieces) when having younger children over to visit. We keep our Lego on wooden trays on a low shelf.

Downstairs play and art space. Upstairs music space (in the hall way area) and language space kept in the study. This writing space is kept pretty simple- A4 paper and small coloured paper, work books (from school) and a book with practice French words and a space to put finished work and an A4 wooden clipboard. Above is our movable alphabet and some chalk to use on the large lined chalkboard next to it. On my daughters desk is a wooden art caddy that contains stationary items such as pencils etc.

My 5 year old has very specific interests at this age and stage. She loves to read chapter books and reference books, is currently learning to play the keyboard and learning a new Language at home (French). She enjoys the challenge of 200 piece puzzles, playing Lego or dolls. She also spends lots of time writing, reading, drawing, painting and sewing. If she is not inside working on one of these things, she is outside playing on her bike or scooter, practising skipping or pottering in the garden area. So busy and so independent.

As mentioned previously, my daughter is trialling ArtVenture for 3 months. She also does a yoga class with a friend one day a week during the school term.

My three year old;

My three year old has abundant energy and is continuously busy inside and outside the house. He is also an avid collector. To him, having a special space to collect and display things (nature table) is important. His favourite things to collect are natural items such as shells, pretty stones, seed pods and feathers. My three year old is also very tactile and enjoys getting his hands dirty any chance he gets whether it be in dirt, paint, playdough etc. Setting up a playdough tray for him is truly one of his favourite things to work with. When he wants quiet time you will often find him pottering outside or working on a puzzle, playing with his toy cars, playing Lego or looking at books.

For Christmas my son received this 3D dinosaur puzzle, Lego and Melissa and Doug stencils from family. This Ravensburger puzzle is 60 piece but he also likes to work on one of our 100 piece puzzles as well.

My children spend a lot of time together when they are at home whether it’s play or working on something such as art side-by-side. It’s lovely watching them play together. As a family of four we also aim to spend lots of quality time together such as playing board games and card games, playing tennis or kicking a ball around (for fun), we go swimming or go for walks, but also lots of time reading books together. Even though I have mentioned toys and materials in this post, at the end of the day that’s not what is important.

Practical Life– some ways that both of my children help around the home-

  • for meals– they help set the table and clear it afterwards. Sometimes they help wash up but not always
  • Looking after a pet– we have fish, so both of my children help to feed and care for them daily.
  • tidy up (re-set our spaces)- at the end of the day we all pack away together. Usually when I am cleaning and tidying the kitchen, my children are in the lounge space packing away anything left out. I don’t make them frequently pack up items such as blocks or Lego or even art or puzzles during the day (unless it’s a hazard) because they may be still working on it. Often something such as a puzzle may need to be worked on over a coupe of days.
  • Gardening– over the weekend we often tend to weeds, and water the plants etc. I am never short of helpers.
  • Cooking/baking and food prep– not always, but most of the time my children help out in one way or another either with my weekly food prep including baking or they help to make something such as a salad to go with dinner.
  • Rubbish sorting and composting– this is something my eldest enjoys doing. We will go through all the daily rubbish and sort through it. We also put the left over food scraps in our compost bin or worm farm. These are great ways for children to see how much waste as a family we are producing each day/each week.

Have I missed anything? Do you have any specific questions or want me to share any more photos of something specific in regards to children’s spaces?

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