Make it: Activity-filled learning shelves for your tot

One mum shows you how to create a go-to shelf filled with fun learning activities for your sweetie!

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Imagine a display shelf in your home featuring monthly learning themes your kid can simply pick and choose from to engage in at his own time.

This is exactly what stay-at-home-mum Fynn Sor set up after stopping full-time work. “I started doing this out of sheer boredom!” she laughs. “I suddenly realised I had so much time at home with the children, I didn’t know what to do.”

Fynn, a Singaporean living in California, USA, with her husband Shu Hong and two kids, Qiao Hui, 18 months, and Shao Xue, 4, started trawling Pinterest for activity ideas. Starting with one or two activities a day, she discovered that her children were excited by them. “Young children are ever so keen to pick up new knowledge and skills, so I hope to create a home learning environment to preserve this enthusiasm,” she says.

“Young children are ever so keen to pick up new knowledge and skills, so I hope to create a home learning environment to preserve this enthusiasm.”

Inspired in part by the Montessori principles of learning, Fynn likes the idea of using dedicated space — a shelf — to display the learning activities and toys neatly. “It also instils a sense of organisation and respect for our belongings,” she adds. Since the children have access to the trays all day, they can choose when they want to do the activities, as well as what they would like to work on. They can even return to these projects any time during the day.

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She is constantly inspired by the things around her — for example, since it’s been raining so much in the Bay Area recently, she set up a weather shelf, so that her offspring will learn how the different types of weather affect their lives.

Fynn, a former Secondary school Science teacher and makeup artist, takes around a week to conceptualise, plan and make the activities, as well as set up a learning shelf. “I try to get my children involved in making the decorations, like for our Hungry Caterpillar shelf, my son cut and pasted the pictures of the food on the paper plates,” she explains.

She adds that children are naturally curious about everything, so it’s never too difficult to come up with different themes — “I just follow my children’s interest!” she says.

Fynn details her ideas and activities on her Instagram under the handle Happy Tot Shelf, where she has 16,000 followers.

She says, “The kids are engaged in the activities and I can see their attention span stretching.” She also notices that her son is more independent — he goes to the learning room to work on his activities on his own when Fynn is putting his little sister down for a nap.

“It all makes learning more intentional — we get to explore interesting topics and learn more about our world,” she enthuses.

Click through for ideas to create your own “happy tot shelves”!