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At Home with Stephanie from @mamas.little.village

  1. Tell us a little about yourself and @mamas.little.village

My name is Stephanie, and I am a first-time mother to my daughter Sofia. Sofia is 22 months old and a little firecracker. She is full of life, loves learning, and has the biggest imagination.
 
Have you ever heard the African Proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”? I live by this and having a village has truly been a blessing to our family. This is what encouraged me to start Mama’s Little Village. I wanted to create a space to share my journey through motherhood as well as for others to come and share theirs. It is a place where we can support, encourage, and learn from each other. Navigating motherhood can be a challenge, but by far the biggest blessing. We would love for you to follow along as we capture the quintessential everyday moments, daily routines, establishing memories, and growing our village. Let’s be the village for each other!

2. Who did you design the space for?

I created this space for my 22-month-old daughter Sofia. I wanted to create a cozy space that really fostered learning

3. Tell us about your vision for the space?

My vision for this space was an open, cozy, inviting, and Montessori Inspired, but also fit her specific learning needs. When I started thinking about the space, I asked myself what is going to benefit Sofia’s development and what do I need to include to optimize her growth.  I wanted to keep it simple with open shelving units, child-size table and chairs, and a reading corner.  When placing items I made sure she had ease of movement and freedom throughout the space.  This will allow her to have full access to toys, puzzles, books, blocks, or whichever she chooses.  I am so excited for this space; I can’t wait to continue hands-on-learning, self-directed activities, to nurture her interests and desires, to encourage exploration, and open-ended independent play.

4. Tell us about the ECR4Kids items that you have in your playroom.

  • Birch Compartment Storage Cabinet (30 inches): My absolute favorite shelf! I used two of these and placed them side by side.  I love that they are easy-to-reach height, easy to display toys, and the compartments help teach her where each toy belongs.
  • Shelf – 2 Shelf Storage Cabinet (26 inches): I also used two of these and placed them side by side.  I love the simplicity and love using these to create themed shelves.
  • Single-Sided Bookcase: We love reading books together and I wanted to create a reading corner.  This is the perfect book display where all the books are at her level and easily accessible.  It gives her the ability to choose which book she is interested in.
  • SoftZone Tree Stump Stool Set: One of my favorite things about our playroom is all the natural light.  I wanted to add a little woodland nature feel and I thought the Tree Stumps would be the perfect addition. They are fun to sit on, stack, pretend play, and use as stepping stones.
  • Softzone Brainy Soft Foam Blocks/ Soma Cube Puzzle: Sofia is the biggest fan of SoftZone.  They are great learning tools and are filled with endless play.  I love that this set introduces to her problem solving, helps develop her motor skills, and introduces her to colors and shapes.  These blocks are all different shapes and it is so fun to see what new configurations we can make. 
  • Wooden Hollow Block Building Set: These are our favorite set of blocks! They are huge, hollow, and are full of endless play.  We love building a home for our animals, creating a ramp for our cars, building tall towers, and even creating a fun balance beam.  These blocks give us hours of open-ended play and we will be playing with these for years to come.  

5. What does Sofia love best about them?

Sofia has a big imagination, loves exploring, and is learning something new each day.  She loves having independence, freedom to learn and play, and all the toys being at her level.  It created a learning environment where she really has focused on new challenges and flourished in areas she struggled in. 

Her favorite activity is playing with the wooden hollow blocks and seeing how tall she can stack them or create a racetrack for her cars.  She has also really been enjoying her new reading corner.

6. What do you love best about them?

I absolutely love how safe they are, durable, high-quality, affordable, and made especially for children of all ages.  Each of their pieces has something unique that I love. They really foster and encourage play, learning, exploring, growing, and having fun.  We can’t wait to add a few more. Ever since we created this new space for her, she has learned something new each day. With everything at her level, she can independently play, learn, and read.  I am excited to continue to watch her grow and flourish in this new space.

7. What’s your philosophy when it comes to your kid and play?

Play is all about learning communication, imagination skills, language, and exploration. Play helps to develop their self-esteem and build their confidence. Each child is unique, has different abilities, and learns in their own way.  Sofia excels in gross motor skills and we are working on strengthening her fine motor skills and language skills.  I want to provide her with a safe, engaging, fun, and nurturing environment to thrive at her own pace.

8. How do you keep the room organized? Tell us your storage secrets!

Sofia is just like any other child.  She loves to play with toys and doesn’t always remember to put them away. This is something we are working on daily.  We have created a “home” for everything, and this helps us keep things in its place.  When she is finished with one toy, she will put it back or I will remind her before she moves on to the next activity. The biggest help and game changer were the ECR4Kids storage units; they are at her level and she has learned exactly where each toy belongs.  The shelves at her level make it effortless for her to walk the toy back.  We also do toy rotation weekly or bi-weekly. This helps her to keep engaged with the toys and be more focused.  Don’t get me wrong, she is still little, and we are still those days where I am cleaning up during naptime or when she goes to bed.

9. What’s your favorite activity to do with Sofia in the playroom?

There are so many activities that I love to do with Sofia, and we try to change it up each day.  We love to read books, build with our hollow blocks, and do arts and crafts!  But our favorite must be building our hollow wooden blocks.  There are so many ways to play, and we are always coming up with new ideas. She loves to stack them as high as she can, lay them all flat and walk over them, or make a ramp for her cars and animal friends. A second favorite is play with our SoftZone sets.  She is the biggest fan of them. She loves to stack them, climb on them, and create new ways to use them.