Friday, November 11, 2011

Picking up and Playing

This last week Emma and I have cleaned her room. We moved her mattress from her loft bed back to the floor (she moves around way to much while she is sleeping and I kept envisioning her falling out of the loft) and turned the loft into a reading nook.

There are area rugs up there for her to sit on, if she could find a spot.

We donated, consigned or tossed a large portion of her toys and clothes. We also donated or consigned over half of her books. We donated most of her items to the Salvation Army before we discovered the Youth and Shelter Services. Now all of our items to be donated will go there. 

For anyone who may be concerned that Emma would be devastated by the loss of all that stuff, fear not. She was in on every aspect of the purge. I let her pick out what she kept and what was to find new homes. There was very little complaining as I explained the the toys, books and clothes that we donated would go to kids that may not have any of those things.

We went through about 8 (big) boxes of books and she got to keep 10 books from each box. We also kept all of the horse books. We have not counted, but I would guess that she still has over 100 books. I am thinking about making 12 boxes of books, and swapping out the book selection each month. We would probably keep out her absolute favorites all the time though.

We went through her closet and only kept clothes that she wears regularly. Anything that was uncomfortable, or just too small was donated or consigned.

We have more toys to purge, as I remember that we have a few containers in the basement, but we did go through a lot of the toys in her room. We have talked about a one-for-one swap from now on. For every new toy that comes into the house, one toy needs to find a new home.

It may sound pretty extreme, but even though we had 3 or 4 trunk loads of stuff to donate and consign, Emma still has plenty to do.
Floor- legos, lunch box with black and white beans, tinker toys (and Da's Calvin and Hobbes comics)
1st shelf- cd player, cd's and audio books, barbies (in the red case) dolls, and games
2nd shelf- horses and art/craft items
3rd shelf- bowl of rice, globe, balance scale with baskets of rocks, coloring books and paper, puzzles
Top shelves- the very top shelves are where we have decided to store all of our creative stuff that we do not use on a regular basis. 

We mostly play pony-opolly and the guess game. We also have more "adult" games in the other room like Blockus that we also play. Though not often enough.

Her bin of cards and other smaller games. We love scrabble slam and the color cubes. The pick-up words game is really interesting and we have played a few times. 

Since cleaning up her room (and the rest of the house for that matter) Emma has been doing a lot more playing and a lot less TV watching.
Landscape created for the herd

Snowy mountain with a horse climbing over the top.

A banana tree

And a girly standing in the background

As a family, we are trying to get better about playing together more often. One of Emma's favorite games to play right now is an old card game we got from Gramma called Shufflers.
"The spotted dog scampered in the barn..."

"The skinny boy with thick glasses disappeared by the lake and the babysitter..."

There are three categories of cards- Blue borders are subjects, green borders are verbs, and red borders are phrases. We also made our own coma, period, and 'and' cards. There are different ways to play, but Emma's favorite is to shuffle the cards and then pass out all the cards. Then we each take turns adding a card to create a sentence. There are 32 cards (not including our made up cards) and Emma likes to try to make a story using all of the cards. It really is pretty fun and Emma will actually try to sound them out occasionally. 

Another game we like to play is Scrabble Slam.

I realize that my almost 6yo's hand writing is not that far from mine. Either she has really good penmanship or mine is really bad.  

The last time we played, Emma wanted to keep track of the words we made. We made the word 'crow' (towards the bottom of the first row) and Emma wanted to know if we could make the word 'book.' Yes we can, and it only took us 4 turns. 

When I spelled barf, Da laughed (he was doing homework on the couch). So Emma started laughing then said, "Wait, what does barf mean?" Of course that lead to more laughing by everyone :)

Another fun game is:

Pick-up words is played the same way as pick up sticks, but there are words on each stick. You get points based on the color of the word (we don't really keep points yet). There is a bonus stick that one can use to push other sticks out of the way, if they are lucky enough to be the one to free it. We have fun playing the game, then I get a little caught up in making stories. Emma plays along for a few minutes then gets bored. 

They don't really make sense, but I still like it :)

We have really enjoyed the purging that we have been doing throughout the entire house. We are slowly realizing that less can indeed be more. 

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