This is one of a few "imagination stations" we have set up around our house for our 23 month old daughter, Layla. My husband and I believe that simple and natural toys provide an aesthetically pleasing medium to explore, and they challenge the mind with open-ended play possibilities far more than most plastic, single use toys. In addition, we have issues with commercialized media marketing toward children, and we hope to instill a love and respect for the social justice and environmental impacts of conscious consumerism with Layla. We are not perfect! We still have a few plastic items and poly-stuffed toys from well-intentioned family and friends around the house.
In this play area, you will find some of our handmade items; blocks from our Amish friends back in PA, a sock bunny from a close family friend, as well as a handmade sock baby doll. Also stored in this area are some of our instruments (mommy is a Music Therapist), found items from our Lake Erie beach (rocks, stones, driftwood), yard-sale seashells, a wooden Noah's Ark yard-sale find (a steal!), a yard-sale European made toy train, pinecones, silk flowers, and play fabric (not actually silk). Layla loves this play area, especially her baby dolls and dancing with the play "silks" while mommy sings and plays guitar.
Some of our other "imagination stations" include an "art area" with lots of paper, crayons, watercolors, felt, and modeling doh and a "kitchen area" with more yard-sale finds! However, Layla's absolute favorite area is the great outdoors! We have only a small yard, but we are trying to incorporate natural elements for lots of creative and motor skill play! Some things we have incorporated are a second hand wooden swing-set, a sand area, gravel area (you wouldn't believe the popularity of this area), and of course some grass area for running, imagining, bubble blowing and ball playing.