For quite some time now, we have been keeping all of our excess toys and materials in a cupboard on a low shelf that both of my children have access to, so they can change items on their play/work shelves anytime they like. I have kept things to a minimum, so there is no overwhelm in regards to choice. In the same cupboard, which happens to be our linen cupboard, we also store our excess books. When my children were younger, I was the one who rotated their work materials including art supplies, toys and books.
This wooden shelf that my Dad made for my children house the main ‘messier’ play toys except Lego and dolls/dolls house etc (kept upstairs) as there is plenty of room to spread these type of toys out and play. These tend to be toys (again except Lego) that my children will play with either on their own, together or with friends who visit. Our wooden blocks, play scarves, cars and trucks, train set, barn, animal and people figurines are still very popular in our house.
Work material wise aside from the jigsaw puzzles, my children share everything on this shelf. Both of my children have a desk space plus a shelf where they have access to some Language, math and other favourite subject materials including reference books. My youngest has been asking for me to set up some more ‘work’ trays for him recently, so I may see where his current interests lie and go from there.
I spent a bit of time looking at what was on the shelves at a Montessori-style Before and after school care space, which I found interesting and it gave me some ideas. These are not Montessori specific classroom materials, but more for fun however there is also some level of challenge involved.
On these shelves for the 6+ year age group they had:
- Various Tangram puzzles
- Wild Australia brand 100pc and 150pc Jigsaw puzzles.
- Card sets including UNO and a regular deck of cards
- Collaborative board games including a chess set
- Magnetic puzzles and Cube puzzles (I will look more into what these are)
- Maze games
- Wooden pattern blocks
- Rubik cube
- Bananagrams (similar to scrabble I think?)
- Charade cards
- Pick up sticks and barrel of monkeys
- Beads and accessories for jewellery making
- Origami paper (small squared) with printed out guides
I will do another ‘What’s on our work/play shelves’ towards the end of the year.