What to do for Halloween in 2020 🎃

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love making costumes 👻👻👻 for the kids and walking the neighborhood to see all the decorations. People get so creative this time of year! It’s like a celebration of our creative spirits. Rarely do we take time away from our busy schedules to create mystery and story in our front yards. This year will be different. I’m not making costumes this year. The first time in 15 years. *Sigh*

This year we are having a two day Harry Potter “Destroy the Horcrux” 🗝 event. I’ll write more about that in another post.

In this post I’d like to focus on some ideas for you and your little one this Halloween. So here are a couple ideas for you to keep the spooking spirit alive this year.

  1. Great pumpkin hunt– 🎃 get a bunch of mini to full sized pumpkins and hide them in the back yard. Bring out the wagon and let the fun begin! Fill the wagon with all those pumpkin treasures. From the cute little ones to the heavy full-size ones, your child will love the hunt!
  2. Paint pumpkins – 🖌now that you have hunted the pumpkins, use acrylic paint and use the pumpkins as your canvas.
  3. Pumpkin puree – 🥧 make a pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread with your homemade pumpkin puree from. You will need a pie pumpkin for this one. Much like cooking squash the first step is to seed and roast the pumpkin. Here is a great recipe to follow.
  4. Mask wearing activity – 💀 ok, I know. We are all pros at mask wearing at this point. But I’m talking about costume masks. Put a collection of masks in a basket on your child shelf with a mirror and have fun trying them on. We have done the with animal noses (affiliate link) at the Studio.

There are many ways to have fun this season that also allow you to social distance and keep your family safe. Have a happy Halloween! Boo!

Want more ideas in your inbox? Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on instagram @familyfriendlyhome.com

Continue Reading

Creating an area for Painting

Are you thinking of adding a painting easel in your home? Or are you frustrated with the amount of space the easel takes up in your house? Many of the easels designed for children are bright, garish colors, plastic, and oversized. Who wants that as a centerpiece in you family space? Today we want to share an alternative to an art easel in your home. Children love to paint and draw, and giving them a large surface to do so allows for strength-building arm and hand movements as well as an open ended creative exercise.  Consider this new install we did at @thestudiojune for a possible art area in your home.

Here are the items we used. 

Towel bar  – Make sure that your towel bar can be easily unscrewed from the end so that paper replacement is easy.

18” paper roll

Clear contact paper

Vinyl floor mat 

Umbra Photo Wall Clips

Three by Three Magnetic wall pocket strip 

Perch by Urbio stumpy magnetic container

Paint cups

 

Continue Reading

A Home that Supports Family Bonding

In my Family Friendly Interiors work, I often encounter families who want to create a playroom just for the children.  When I hear this, I strongly urge them to reconsider.  A room designated just for toys often goes unused.  Children like to be where the action is.  They like to be around their parents, even if they are playing parallel to their parents, they like to be near.  Humans are social animals and we enjoy company.

Rather than a playroom, I recommend a library, a study, or a family room.  There are many ways to create a space for each member of the family within each of these scenarios.  A shelf or cabinet for children can be added in any of these rooms and creates a welcoming atmosphere for all members of your family.  Creating space for a child to play in the same room where you are reading supports feelings of togetherness and connectedness, strengthening the family bond.
Another room where it is important to work together as well as parallel is the kitchen.  The best way to encourage your children to participate in the kitchen is with a Learning Tower.  Once we added the Learning Tower, my child was instantly invited to take part in food preparation and cleaning.  I have made so many meals along side a dish-washing toddler.  As they grow taller, we were able to lower the platform, keeping them engaged in a meaningful and purposeful way.
Have you created a family friendly space in your home?  Tell us about your FFH for a chance to win a Learning Tower!
Together with Little Partners,we are giving away a Learning Tower to help you create a Family Friendly kitchen.  Follow the Rafflecopter link for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Continue Reading

Energy and Movement

My career as an educator started many years ago in a toddler classroom.  I had yet to get my Montessori training, but I was doing my best to understand what I was to do and why the children were doing what they were doing.  I remember the lead teacher explaining to me that I was to get each child to sit down by themselves and work with one activity at a time.
In a class where the children just seemed to run and jump around, I could not fathom, how this was possible.  When I think back to that image, I still get overwhelmed with the energy the had, so much energy and not sure how to direct it.  That is the key, what I learned after two Montessori trainings, three children of my own, and a number of years in the classroom…they need a purposeful place to direct their energy.
I can clearly state that I had no idea back then, and I apologize to those children who wasted their time jumping circles around me.
But now, I can see it, creating an inviting space lures them in.  Dr. Montessori wrote that we are to “engage the whole personality”.  this is done by creating interesting and purposeful opportunity.  A parent had her first visit to Studio June this week and as she explained her love for our Studio after just one visit, she said, “every thing is so beautiful, and it gets even more enticing each time I open a box, or look inside a door!”  Her child seemed to feel the same way, excited to return the next day and dive right back in.
We have discoveries for the children.  We allow opportunity to explore and discover.  We do not spell out all the details, we rely on the child’s natural attraction to tiny details to grab their attention and pull them deeper into concentration.  An environment that upon entering may seem a bit understated, but with the first reach for the shelf offers a world of exploration.
Interesting things to discover is not enough, though.  They need more!  And for most children that means movement.  The mind and body must work together in order for a child to gain meaningful knowledge.  One popular activity at Studio June allows the child to stand and work.  Sitting is not always an option for a young child who has just learned to walk, sitting is not usually their preference.  So we meet that child where he is.  At Studio June we have a magnetic board with beautiful magnets we change out weekly.  I like to put a photo copy of the magnets on the board to encourage matching.  While standing at the board the child discovers the different magnets, each week a new category (mammals, trucks, farm, fruits, veggies).  This can be a language activity where you introduce the names, a matching and visual discrimination activity, or a movement and memory activity.
I recently discovered a new set of magnets from Your Food Story.
They sell a set of fruits, vegetables, and grains.  Each magnet is a photograph of the food. The wood magnets are beautiful and fun!
I have teamed up with Your Food Story to offer a giveaway of a full set of their magnets: Fruits, Veggies, and Grains!Your food story

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Continue Reading

Choosing the Right Table and Chairs

One way to create the perfect space to inspire concentrated play for your child is to have the right table and chairs.  This is an important feature that can not be overlooked.  It is difficult to purchase and item knowing that your child is just going to outgrow it.  However, it is important to keep in mind that the correct size table and chair will support your child’s natural intellectual and movement development, just like the correct size of shoes will support his development of equilibrium.

What are you looking for in a table and chair?

  1. When seated in the chair, your child’s feet should be flat on the floor.
  2. When seated at the table, the table height should be between his chest and his belly button.
  3. The table surface should be easily cleaned; formica top or finished wood surface
  4. The chair should be sturdy enough that is doesn’t wobble, but lightweight enough so your child can move it in and out from under the table and pick it up and carry it.
  5. The first weaning table should be heavy so that it does not move easily, but tables for 1 years and up should be able to be  carried by one or two children.
  6. Choose a work surface large enough for your needs: 18” square is good for one child, but for two or more children consider 24” square or 20”w x 30”d or even larger.
Child age General Use Table Height Chair Seat Height
6 months to 1 year The introduction of solid foods 12” 5”
1 years – 2.5 years Eating, arts and crafts, eye-hand coordination activities, practical life activities 14”-16” 7”-9”
3 – 5.5 years Arts and crafts, puzzles, practical life activities, counting, writing work, board games 20”-24” 12”-15”
6 – 9 years Arts and crafts, science experiments, math, writing, board and card games 27”-30” 14”-18”

 

For more on the weaning:

http://www.feedingthesoil.com/2011/06/montessori-weaning-months-two-to-four.html

Continue Reading