In the midst of the toy messes created by three smallish children, I have created a play oasis. The labelled toy baskets I lovingly sort day after day inevitably end up crammed with random objects that have nothing to do with the labels: old kleenex, discarded socks, bread crusts...so I feel compelled to protect one area of my house from chaos.
On our living room coffee table (which is an old farm table with the legs sawed off), I have four containers. One is wire egg basket that holds our wood tree-blocks. The other three are fulled wool bowls made for me by a dear friend, containing: smooth river stones (purchased in a net bag at the local Dollar Store), rainbow blocks, and wooden farm animals.
. It is very clear what goes where, and the only rule is that what is on the table stays on the table.
Somehow, this order appeals to my very disorderly children. I like to think it gives them a sense of predictability and security, to know what goes where.
The natural textures of these play things draw the eyes and hands of children and adults alike. They invite us to touch, smell, build, stack, rub, tumble, imagine, play.
There's something kind of zen about it all. The moments when my children play here are always peaceful. And I'm grateful for those moments of peace.
One could even suggest that it gives us a sense of balance.