Less Is More!

Have you joined the pre-holiday toy decluttering challenge? If so, I’d love to hear how it’s going for you. For a little more inspiration during this challenge, I have asked my friend, Alana Chernecki of Brillante Design, to give her two cents on decluttering. Alana is the only other Reggio-inspired preschool teacher turned designer of children’s spaces I’ve ever come across and I’m so excited to introduce you to her today. Read on for her guest post and see her beautiful spaces.

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My Home Tour

It’s been a while since I have shared photos of our entire house. I was recently interviewed by Glitter Guide about our home and how to encourage creativity and playfulness, while still keeping things organized and stylish. The amazing photographer, Vivian Johnson, shot the photos and has beautifully captured the spirit of our home and play. Thanks for taking a peek into our family home. I’d love to hear from you and learn how you bring creativity and playfulness into your home!

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Big Kid Desk And Art Nook

Do you remember the feeling you had when you finally felt like you were a “big kid”? One thing that always evokes that sense of growing up is having your own work desk. Swapping out an old play table for a big kid desk and some new “grown-up” supplies is a simple way to celebrate a child’s development or a milestone birthday.

I love to help families with this transition, so when a friend hired me to design a big kid work space for her daughter’s 8th birthday, I couldn’t wait to get started. The first time I worked on a big kid makeover project was 6 years ago and it also happened to be for an 8-year-old’s birthday (you can see it here).

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Soothing Playroom With Learning Centers

I’m so excited to share this recent project with you! It was a little hard to narrow down all of the photos, so this post is a little longer than usual. Hopefully it will give you some inspiration and guidance on on how to set up a soothing playroom with learning centers for school aged kids. Although many of us don’t have a full room to dedicate entirely to this type of space, it has got me thinking about setting up small areas in our home to encourage the exploration of different subjects and interests. I hope you are as inspired as I have been throughout this project!

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Summer Reading Recommendations: Learning At Home

A reader recently asked about my recommendations for books on setting up creative learning spaces. She specifically wanted to know about books inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. It got me thinking that I should put together a list of my all-time favorite resources- not only for setting up learning spaces, but also for expanding creative learning opportunities at home.

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Art Supply Organization: What’s in the baskets?

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Whenever I share a photo of our art space, I often get asked, “What do you keep in the large baskets at the bottom?” As an art teacher, I became accustomed to keeping large bins easily accessible for over-sized art materials like paper towel rolls, egg cartons, scraps of cardboard, fabric pieces, or bits and bobs of broken toys. Now in our home art studio (as well as my client’s art spaces) I always include these types of items without even thinking. But, of course, these materials don’t always come to mind for most people when thinking of art supply organization or setting up an art space for kids. So thank you for reminding me of this! I’m excited to give you a peek today into our large art bins and what we do with the materials.

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The Quickest Way To Set Up An Invitation To Create

Have you tried setting out “invitations to create” for your kids? Sometimes referred to as art prompts or provocations, invitations to create can help kids get excited about working with art materials in new ways. They are simply an invitation to engage with the materials laid out in front of them. You can learn more about invitations to create here.

I have found that an invitation, in and of itself, can be a quick and easy activity when a child needs a little prompting. But it can also spark inspiration and become a gateway to exploring other materials for a drawn-out creative session. Either way, invitations are all about the creative process, which is why they are one of my favorite ways to engage young children in the arts.

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The New Playroom – E-Guide Launch!

Today is an exciting day! I am finally launching my first e-guide, The New Playroom, a step-by-step guide on how to set up a home art space for kids (actually, I am launching my first two e-guides at once! I have also created a bonus guide, Invitations to Create, but I’ll leave that for another post).

For the past 13 years I have been on a mission to help kids gain creative confidence by exposing them to artistic materials and process-oriented art at a young age. I believe that being creative and understanding how to use tools and materials to make things is an essential part of learning.

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I am a strong believer in the Reggio Emilia saying, “the environment is the third teacher” (the first two teachers being adults and peers). When we create spaces in our homes that are stocked with interesting tools and materials- that are organized and inviting- we are giving our kids the message that they are creative and capable little beings. We are inviting them to explore the world around them through these materials so that they will gain confidence in their natural creative abilities and take these skills with them as they grow older.

Through my work I help clients design art spaces in their homes and schools. But this is not enough. I want to reach more families than is possible with a one-on-one service, so I created this guide for you to tackle it on your own. The New Playroom offers all of the insights that I have learned over a decade of working with kids in creative settings. I take you through my design process when working with clients and give you every tip and trick in my tool belt. And if you ever have a question or need a little encouragement, I’m here for you.

Thanks for joining me in this launch day celebration!

Click here to learn more about the guide or to make a purchase. And don’t forget about the bonus guide, which includes 30 days of easy art prompts!