Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Packing Up the Baby Stuff

One advantage of living in a small space is that you can't really hold on to the stuff you don't use/need.  Well, I guess you can, but you'll be on Hoarders.
As the twins have outgrown things--bouncers, clothing, carriers--I've sold it as fast as I could either on my Twin Mom's Club classifieds or on CL.
It's always a little bittersweet, but mostly I'm glad to have more free space (especially the bouncer/swing plastic crap!).
This past weekend, I started gathering toys.  So many (too many) toys.  I put them all in a big box, took away most of the other toys and waited to see if they would play with them.  Eh, not so much.
These weren't even their baby toys, but nevertheless these almost-2-year-olds are over and done with H.aba blocks and activity cubes.  I catalogued and boxed up all of the toys that I'll now try to sell.
And I was sad.
Actually, I couldn't part with them all.  We aren't having anymore children, but I keep a few small things from each stage that I just can't bear to sell/donate.

Now that they are entering the "pretend play" (shopping cart filled with food, farm and animals, airplane and people) and want "things that GO" (trains, cars, scooters, trikes), or things they can build (Duplos and soon, Legos) I'm a little lost with what toys will get me through the dark, cold winter (113 days til the beach!).

We don't have much room inside and I get them outside twice a day to play in the park.  But there are going to be so many days we just can't be outside at all unless it's to fiercely bundle up and walk to the indoor play space or to someone's house for a playdate.

I believe my FIL is going to buy them an art table like this:
I need ideas for art supplies and things we can do around the house.

We thought about a play kitchen, but honestly the only place we could put it is in their bedroom and there is NO way they would stay back there and 'pretend' to cook when what they really want is to be under my feet while I am cooking!  I've learned to just set them up with kitchen things and cook fast.
The idea of a train table is enticing, but there is a big store about a 10 minute walk from our place that has a huge Tho.mas the Train table set up in the toy section and we go play with it a couple of times a week.  Why buy it when we can go there??

Those of you with 2-3 year old's, tell me--what worked for you and what do you wish you'd not bought?
The grandparents are asking for Holiday gift ideas and I'd like to be prepared.
And Chicken has the logic of "Oh, we just got rid of a bunch of toys--let's buy more, more, more!" and I'm all like, "NO!"
Anything without batteries and along the lines of Montessori would be great!



Casey said...

Gluesticks are a big favorite right now. I cut up lots of little pieces and Roozle glues them onto another piece of bigger paper.

Scissors are fun too. But obviously both of these activities may require a bit of assistance.

We have a small train track set from Ikea that Roozle loves. And lots of books. And water. Lots of water. She likes to pour and wash and fill then pour again. Last year I gave her a small bucket with a tiny bit of water and a brush and some apples to have her wash them. She loved that and worked on it for a long time.

A chalkboard wall is also great. We use that a lot and she really likes to clean it.

And pouring dry beans into different containers, working with mason jars to screw the tops on, lots of scooping. Felted wool balls can be used to pour, count, separate by color, scoop, throw etc.

Washable markers, washable paint, we painted cardboard once and she loved that.

At her school today they used those little tiny stickers you buy from Staples for documents the little circle ones and put them on a big piece of paper. She LOVED that.

Roozle also has her balance bike inside and a small wooden tool set so she can work on the bike and play bike shop.

Tea parties.
Farmers market.
Long baths just for fun.
Making forts.
Building stuff with blocks for the trains to drive through, little cities.

Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Something I want to get for BG is some bathtub paints, which seems like a good idea for a small space and two kids especially because you can put them in there, and they can paint like crazy all over the walls, each other, etc., and then have bathtime. It makes for two activities and occupied boys, right?

We just got a magnetic writing type thing. It's a lap board with a "pen" and little stamps, and he's been spending a lot of time with that.

Forts are becoming very popular around here, as is reading in forts, building things in forts, and doing just about anything in the forts. Life is more interesting under a blanket, you know?

Finally, though, the play kitchen idea is not a bad idea. Did you know there are foldable options? This one is really cool and actually folds flat: http://www.playkitchens.com/play-kitchens/kitchens/hideawayfoldingretrokitchenred.cfm. I mention this because BG can spend over an hour pretending at his cardboard box stove. It's the one thing that focuses him for long periods of time. I give him empty spice jars, the cuisinart with no blade, jars of dry pasta, measuring cups, etc., and he plays forever. And as Casey mentioned, mason jars are a huge hit, but especially if there's something to transfer into them. The two-part lids, and especially the rings are endlessly fascinating.

I'll let you know if I think of more, but honestly, I'm looking forward to seeing what others post here, as I think we all need ideas this time of year.

anofferingoflove said...

loved reading all of the ideas from the pp'ers.

we got bird a play kitchen for her second birthday. it has a rather small footprint, so it doesnt take up much space in our tiny galley kitchen. we bought some awesome wooden foods and bird *loves* it. i realize you said you dont have room - maybe you could get a basket or something though and get play kitchen items to have on hand while you are cooking? just the kiddie fruits/veggies, cups, etc are fun on their own.

stickers are also a BIG hit lately for us. she'll sit for 20-30 minutes pulling stickers off and putting them into her sticker book.

Anonymous said...

play-doh keeps my twins occupied for an hour at a time - it's amazing, especially since we don't bring it out on a daily basis.

washable crayons, washable markers, paint -- avoid watercolors, they are too hard for them.

at school they have used paint dot sticks - they look like bingo markers - and they enjoyed these

stamps with washable ink pads

fisher price magna doodle (?) I think that is what it is called is a big hit

for holidays at age two they asked for and received guitars (plastic with characters were the only ones that were the appropriate size and I hated them) BUT a year later, they still get used -- all their musical instruments do. (If you can stand it)

matchbox cars and wooden blocks, if you have the space

if you don't have room for a kitchen, the wooden food is still great. m&d have a lot with velcro that they take apart/ put together (pizza, cake, fruit)

K J and the kids said...

Watercoloring is cool and of course washable markers. but my kids only painted on themselves and the table. if you are ok with this. great :)
Playdough is awesome. especially if you give them plastic dull knives to cut with.
stickers. that they can stick on everything :)

also. matchbox cars are the bomb. You can set up a cutting board and a pan to cruise down and catch said cars. They will love taking them to the top and letting them fly down.

I think that the important thing is....let them play with playdough today while you cook....then put it away. The next day do rice with different measuring cups and wooden spoons to scoop and stir.
The next day markers.
If you want it to last it has to be new.

Strawberry said...

Right now Curly's absolute favorite thing that doesn't take up any room is sticker books. He can keep busy with a sticker book for at least 30 min a day. We also have a little tent from IKEA we'll break out every now and then- folds up easily. Books that make sounds are popular as well. Playdoh/space foam.

Kimberly said...

My twins are younger than yours and still at the age where everything goes in their mouth, so we let them play with food quite frequently - cheerios or pasta and a pipe cleaner helps their hand eye and fine motor. My favorite is this table: (http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_05224541000P?sid=IDx20070921x00003a&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=05224541000) and dry acini pasta. We have a back patio right off the kitchen, so I leave the door open and they come and go as they please while I cook. And the pasta is small enough that it fits through any sand toys/sifters. I love the tactile stimulation. An aqua-doodle is a good alternative to a magna-doodle because it can be rolled up and there's no harm done if it is stepped on. http://www.aquadoodle.com/ I also put the kids in their booster seats at the table while I cook and let them play with markers and paper so the "art" is confined to the table.

Marcia (123 blog) said...

I love your decluttering philosophy - I need to get cleverer and SELL our stuff!

I've just been donating :)

As for arts and crafts, we do a different thing every day and then only is it effective - painting, colouring, stickers, play dough, etc.

Mine love to mess in my kitchen while I cook - let them loose in the plastics cupboard or give them a bowl and spoon to also "cook". They make "muffins" with silicone ice-cube trays, etc.

Strawberry said...

Here's the 'space foam' stuff I mentioned- http://www.amazon.com/Educational-Insights-1805-Playfoam/dp/B000EREGRM

Carey said...

Our Trio love their play silks, matchbox cars, playdoh, and anything artsy. I agree with bringing it out at certain times. Having a rhythm to your day helps with those long days too. Certain activities on certain days works well and takes the thinking out of it so you can just be in the moment with them. Look on eBay for duplos, way cheaper! (and easy to clean in the sink)

Anonymous said...

Being a grandparent and wanting stuff for them to play with that I could store pretty easily and pull out when the kids come over were the toddler size lego's they come in bags or a nice size tub. My grandkids from 2 years old to 9 still play with them. Of course the 9 years has moved on to the smaller hard to put together sets but he still builds with the larger ones. And another great thing are the tinker toy 200 piece plastic tub they LOVE those things might be something you might want to supervise at first and they are little hard to use at first until they are broke in alittle. But they are great easy to store winter time toys. I'd love to see more pictures of those beautiful boys Take care, Jean

Moving Boxes said...

It was a pleasure reading your blog. The way you manage everything is truly wonderful.
It will be great if you donate the toys you have packed in a big box.

Thank you...

Michelle said...

When I was a nanny (for twins + toddler)every once in awhile I would fill a small container with snow and bring it inside. We had a lot of fun playing in the snow but were also able to stay warm. While it is a limited time activity (due to the melting), it's just water and not that big of a deal to clean up.

Nicole said...

Check out lakeshore learning for high quality educational toys, or even just look there for ideas that you can recreate. For example, felt boards are super fun for kids and easy to make. Favorite stories like Rainbow Fish make fun felt board activities. Cover a surface w/ felt, then cut the book characters out of felt, and stick them to the felt board as you retell the story. Great language activity!