31 Days: The Fun Shelf!

As I mentioned in the first post of this series, we currently live in our friend's basement and have for the last year. It's actually a super spacious place to live. There's even a little play area for the kiddos. The main attraction in this area is our five tier craft shelf. It's not all crafts. We have some toys on it, too. The idea is that we have a bunch of fun, easily accessible activities for Amelia to enjoy.

In my nesting stages right before Elsie was born, I organized the heck out of this shelf. I had no idea what to expect in the weeks after Elsie's arrival. I wasn't sure if Amelia was going to be clingy, bored, or both?! I just wanted something fun and new for her. Fast forward to now and nearly every day, Amelia says, "Mama! Can you hold me so we can look for something over there on my shelf?"

Here's what The Fun Shelf looks like, top to bottom:

The Fun Shelf!

1. Danny says that ball is called a "bucky ball". I'm not sure if that's right. But it opens up all big and Amelia loves to climb in it. There's also a shape sorter and an owl clock. She doesn't play with these often. Plus they're also like decor since they're all matchy-matchy in color. That wasn't planned either.

2. I found the cutest Dixie cups a while a back. There's owls all over them. We have a giant box of those cups, puzzles, some Popsicle sticks, dried beans, the majority of our coloring supplies like crayons and markers, and Dollar Tree sponges because why not? The beans have been fun for sorting, counting, and practicing scooping and pouring. I just give some to Amelia on the dining table and she has a blast. A few months ago, we made butterflies out of the Popsicle sticks and her hand prints! It was so easy and fun.

3. This shelf contains all of Amelia's coloring books, finger paints, glue sticks, beads, pipe cleaners, scissors, and old projects that we want to keep! She has to use a chair to reach this shelf. But typically, she will just ask for our help. We're fine with either. In the white three drawer container we have more beads and pipe cleaners, stickers galore, and some fun baby jar lid alphabet magnets that I made a while ago. Amelia LOVES to cut paper. She learned how to use scissors several months ago. In that time, we've only had one hair casualty. Otherwise, she has done great and is very safe. We also do threading of beads onto pipe cleaners. Sometimes she wants to make bracelets. Other times we will make shapes. The simplest of materials make for some awesome play!

4. From this shelf down is all stuff that Amelia can get on her own. She has more puzzles, play-doh, alphabet stamps with paper, and more puzzles. This kid loves puzzles. Can you tell?

5. Here we have the coolest plush barn toy from IKEA. It's seriously so fun! We've played farm so many times this year. There's also a pail of finger puppets and a Sesame Street felt story book.

6. Lastly, there's a hammer and peg toy, a bucket of letter blocks, a small container of random wooden instruments from Target's dollar section, and a Melissa & Doug latch board.

At any time, Amelia can play with these goodies. It was seriously a lifesaver in those early weeks after Elsie came. Let's be honest, it still is over five months later. I find it to be so much easier to keep Amelia busy with great activities. At the risk of sounding lazy, it has been such little work for me to have fun things for Amelia to do. I can't imagine not having this shelf. It does need some reorganizing every now and then. What doesn't in a home with children? But it has been so fun to see Amelia express her independence as she chooses what she will work on or play with. I'm sure it will need some tweaking once Elsie is mobile {which is way too soon... she's already trying to crawl. Hold me.} As Amelia's interests change, I can swap stuff out. For now, it is working perfectly!

Do you have a craft shelf or cupboard like this in your home? What do you have on/in it? If you don't have one, are you interested in setting something like this up? Why or why not?

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