a summer afternoon

IMG_0556 about a month ago, one of my favorite shops reached out and asked if we would like to play with some of their toys. um, yes please! and when the little package arrived, not only did it contain a gorgeous memory game for miss elinor, they also sent a sweet little rattle and teether for ridley. so thoughtful. and officially the very first items for the new little man.

what i love about a summer afternoon is that they are all about creating beautifully hand-crafted wooden toys that are not only fun to play with, but lovely to look at. each piece is natural, safety-tested, and heirloom quality. i love when play pieces can also be display pieces. with babies and littles in the house, playtime paraphernalia is inevitable. and while i want our home to be a happy and safe space for play, i also want it to feel like our home. you know, where adults live too. we never wanted things to be totally overrun with stuff. especially hideous toys and contraptions. is that just me? i hope not...

we want a nice balance in our home, for it to reflect the ones who reside here. meaningful things for me and ben as individuals, for us as a married couple, for us a parents, and for each little personality that we are delighted to call our children. our home is for all of us. so, while it is important for elinor to have access to all her books and toys, it is also important for her mama and papa to feel like they are surrounded with some nice looking stuff too.

the beauty of a summer afternoon is that they create items that engage the minds and fingers of little ones while being visually pleasing to the parents. the toys just fit into life. practical but pretty. they feel special to play with but they are safe to suck on too. they are fun and effective but i don't mind if they are stacked and spread around the house because they are so lovely. they have the look of purposeful decor and the charm of a cherished keepsake...but they are playthings! and playthings that are truly loved around here.

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i know that the little rattle and teether will see much saliva and spit up and such in the coming years, but i feel good about wiping it off and displaying it for years after, and passing it down or saving it for later. what a sweet treasure to have. baby boy's first toys. i hope that he loves them. and until ridley's arrival, we have found a little spot for them in our family room for display. what a fun reminder of that little life in the making. whenever i look up from work or play and see them, it makes me smile and reminds me to pray for him.

and then there is that memory game. it is so darling. the memory game was one of my favorites when i was little and i hope that elinor and i enjoy hours and hours of play with those wooden pieces. i'm sure she will be outsmarting me in no time at all...

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elinor grabs her special bag of "blocks" and opens it carefully before dumping them onto the floor and jumping into play. at this point, we are working on identifying the shapes and numbers. i hold one in front of her and tell her what it is and she repeats it. then, we try to find matches. i will hold up "one" and she will search for the other "one". she is learning and remembering more each time we play. and when she finds the correct piece, she lets out the most exuberant, "i found it!" before placing the match next to its mate. smart cookie.

i love that this game is great for many stages of development. our play can adapt to her level. for now, we are learning shapes and words. we are identifying and repeating. and when she is ready, we can place them into a grid, picture side down, and take turns trying to create matches. and trust me, that game never gets old. and what a great exercise for those little gray cells! it is remarkable what she can remember from moment to moment - day to day - week to week, even now. and i want to encourage her to build her memory through play.

oh, the wonderful times we will have!

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and of course, after we are finished playing, these blocks serve as a much-needed teaching tool for the skill of picking up and putting away! it is never too early to learn how to keep your space tidy, or so ben keeps telling me...


if you are looking for some amazing wooden toys, head over to a summer afternoon. oh, and if you are looking for a super sweet shower gift or welcome home baby gift, check out this "perfect baby gift" set. adorable, right?

thank you, dear friends at a summer afternoon! we love everything you are doing.