I have a problem with winter and it may surprise you that my problem is related to the weather. I know, that statement makes me sound like a hypocrite since I so often promote outdoor play in all types of weather.
Yes, we do play outside every day and we love it – climbing, digging and building with snow and ice. However, we spend considerably less time outdoors in winter than we do in other seasons like summer when we spend the majority of our day outdoors. There are parts of our program that I’d prefer to do outside but in winter we need to keep them inside.
So, my problem with winter isn’t really our time outdoors, it is the increased time indoors. Day after day with extended periods of time playing indoors and I begin to remember all the things I wanted to ‘fix’. All those parts of our indoor environment that were bothersome last winter but I put off tackling. Once spring arrived we again spent more time outdoors and all those thoughts faded away. Now it is winter again and I remember. With prolonged time indoors the space issues are becoming apparent again.
For example, the sunroom;
The sunroom is where we do art activities and other types of messy play. I can easily move the small toddler table and then there is a 8′ x 8′ open space where I can put down a tarp for messy play activities. During quiet time when the little ones are napping in the playroom the older children play and do art in the sunroom.
So what’s the problem?
The problem is the wall opposite the windows. The wall that is home to the dog bed and the green house. The problem is that I have four infants and toddlers who love painting, and playdough and sensory bins – and the dog bed. The toddlers love every activity that I set out on the table or in a bin for them but after a few minutes one of them decides that it would be even more fun if they moved it to the dog bed and soon everyone wants to join in. Playdough and dog hair, paint and dog hair, bird seeds and dog hair – everything is better with dog hair! Hey, what if we add it to the dog’s water…
Here’s another ‘before’ view that includes the green house;
The green house is where we are supposed to put the things we plant but mostly it just collects ‘stuff’. In the above picture I’ve already started the ‘reno’ so the miscellaneous stuff is all over the room – just like the way the toddlers prefer it. The green house is actually pretty easy to assemble and disassemble so I’ve decided to put it away until we actually have plants to put in it and that way the empty shelves won’t be tempting me to fill them.
So now the sunroom looks like this;
There is still enough open floor space for a tarp and messy play but there is no dog bed – I love how the sunlight shines on the toddler’s art table here;
The dog bed is now on the other side of the filing cabinet by the back entrance – the back entrance area now has more space too – bonus!
So now we have a better space for art and messy play until the weather improves and we can move all our activities outdoors again – and I can paint that filing cabinet. The green doesn’t match anything else in the room but I can’t paint it inside and it is too cold to paint outside….