Thursday, June 7, 2012

A burst of inspiration

I was at our Drop-in-and-Play (DnaP) several weeks ago and was lamenting that it would soon be closed for the summer. DnaP is part of our local Parents as Teachers program. PAT is federally funded, but each state implements it differently and even within our state, each school district implements their programs differently. From what I can tell, our local PAT program is really great because we get lots of home visits, we have the DnaP, and they also have group activities throughout the year.

I'm seriously in love with DnaP. It's a great environment. We can stop in whenever it's open and just play. They have really great, high quality materials to play with. I couldn't even venture a guess as to how many thousands of dollars of equipment are in this room. Most preschools don't even have a facility that can match this (plus, this is free). Here are some photos I snapped awhile ago on my phone of the facility. There is just so much and I have a lot of photos.


Outside of DnaP. They always have an interesting display set up they seem to change regularly. Sometimes it's hard to get him into DnaP since there is so much fun outside. 


It's a pretty large room.


Kitchen


Living room. Puppet tree.


Ball pit and things to climb on


Dress up lockers


Big, wooden vehicles. Michael loves these.


Almost every type of block you could want. They also have those giant, hollow wooden blocks you can build with and climb on, but I didn't snap a pic.


Misc toys.


More misc. toys


Big, wooden dollhouse with ethnically diverse dolls (sorry Barbie).


Infant toys.


Push or ride


Sensory bins... although I'm not wild about them... they have a pasta, rice, pinto bean mixture in all of them.


Books and more baby toys


Puzzles


Arts and crafts area


Michael's favorite: The sand table


And a teeny, tiny potty in the bathroom. This was a good motivator when potty training Michael. 

Oh, and we can also go out to the school playground and use it whenever we are there too. This school is only for early childhood education and therefor the playground is designed for infants through preschool (yes, they even have a shaded infant playground). I don't have any pictures, but it's really nice and they even have tricycles (and helmets) for the kids to ride around on during recess.

And that's all, but I think you get the idea. Not only do I love the materials, I love how they have sectioned off parts of the room for different activities and put little laminated labels on everything. It's not hard to see how this could be a source of inspiration. 

And about the same time I was lamenting DnaP closing for the summer, Meg at Sew Liberated wrote a post about organizing her craft closet, which only reminded me of how badly I want to organize all the little art supplies I've collected over the years and all the newly added stuff since having Michael. Supplies are randomly shoved all over the house and I forget about them.

And finally, we took a visit to my SIL's and I liked how she got some big carpet  pieces to create more appealing spaces in her unfinished basement. Finding a way to create a nice environment in an unfinished basement is hard.

All of this knocked around in my head for a little while and then quickly turned into a BURNING desire to create a new space for Michael in our basement. I'm addicted to organizing and tinkering with the spaces in my house. Luckily, my husband is an enabler to my addiction.

And since I've been really busy and unable to blog about all of this, I'm happy to report that it is done (although it is a continually evolving space that I will be tweaking forever). So next post I hope to share some of my philosophy on this area and the pictures.