A is for… Needing a Show and Share that starts with….
A is for “OMG how am I back in show and tell age again?” Well, ok, it doesn’t stand for that but it might as well have this morning. Sheer panic overcame me as the other preschoolers are walking in with stuffed alligators and toy airplanes as I realized my child’s only option was an apple in her lunchbox.
Luckily for me, it is football season, I am a Florida Gator fan and had several items I neglected to take out of my car from cheering on my favorite college team. Ahhhh, saved by the Alligator, which my headstrong three year old kept correcting me saying it was a crocodile. I decided the teacher could tackle that issue after the third try. I was just thrilled that I had an item in my car that she could share with her classmates.
Tell the truth now… how many of us have walked back to the car with kid in tow, searching frantically for an item to meet the current letter’s criteria? Where are those old fashioned car antennas when we need them? Not all of you are as lucky as I am to have such an assortment of options to choose from in your car (that’s next month’s challenge… a clean car). It worked out this time but I think part of my problem was that I am out of practice for the little one. With enough time and planing there are some great ideas for preschool show and tell such as vacation photos, collections your child has, souvenirs from a special place.
There is a gap in years between my youngest two but it really is not that bad. Yet still, there I stood, amazed at the fact that my youngest was entering her show and tell years at school. I remember how excited I was for my oldest and I asked her what she would say to her friends and what were other things she could bring in that started with that letter. Now that I am writing about it, I remember that there was even a show and tell bag. It was a white gift bag decorated and the rule was that the item had to fit in that bag if it was going to be shared in class. Note to self, have older children decorate a white bag specifically for her show and tell items from now on. That way I can be sure to put the item in it early and put it in my “stage.”
Hence, the subject of this article… my “stage.” It is also known as our staging area and the kids shortened it to “the stage.” For our house it consists of a cheap cubbie shelf system from Target, I got it on sale for $19. One could certainly be found one at almost any store or better yet, use what you already have in your house. An old bookshelf, dresser or bench with some hooks above it would work great. The whole point of “the stage” is for it to be as close to your everyday exit as possible.
If you walk out the front door in the morning, put it there. If that is the case, you may prefer a dresser or cabinet with doors so you can have it closed when necessary. If you walk out the garage door like we do, put it there. I didn’t think I had room for one in my house. The hallway is very short and only a little bit wider than the actual door opening. At that point in my life I was planning to build a new house and had already drawn a great one into my future plans. It was beautiful, really more of a mud room than just a “staging area.” It had the best of both worlds, a closet on one side of the small square-shaped room and a built-in shelf and cubby system on the opposite side with a separate cubby for each family member. (I swear there is a very organized person hidden deep, deep down in here somewhere.) I just couldn’t wait to hang the bookbags and place the school clothes in the matching baskets. Well, back to reality… here I am in the same house, with the same small hallway since things kinda sidetracked my new house plans. Life is gonna happen and since my kids still needed to get out on time each morning and have all their homework, after school sports and activity necessities, it was time to make that small hallway work for me. So I did and guess what? It works very well for all it’s intended purposes.
The idea is simple… everything we need to head out the door with in the morning goes into the “stage.” I hold things up all evening long and just say “stage it” and there is no confusion as to where that item belongs. I even fold school clothes and place them in cloth bins that fit in the cubbies. I place lunch boxes on the top with dry items in them just waiting for the items from the refrigerator to be packed on the way out the door. Any projects the kids are working on or have completed are placed there as well.
Whatever you do, add hooks or utilize some option to hang things. As my kids outgrew their nurseries I hung a quilt holder with baskets over the cubbie shelves. I cannot tell you how many times I have hung items up there. Our soccer bags filled with cleats, shin guards, balls and uniforms are there right now, waiting for the next round of games.
I love my stage! If you don’t already have one, take the time to designate an area now. Add some personal touches to it too. I have a bulletin board on top of mine with artwork from each one of my kids’ preschool days, which always makes me smile. I have included a picture to share with you… and that bunny bag with a “B” on it in the right side, middle cubby, well that’s for show and tell next week!