Gates of wonder
"Mirror, mirror on the gate,
Who is the cheekiest monkey ...mate?!!"
(sorry, but it rhymed!)
I love the idea of 'play spaces' woven into the existing features of the home; and I see no reason why the gates blocking access to unsafe, 'out of bounds' areas (or in the eyes of little ones: the 'gates to forbidden, curious lands'), shouldn't be an opportunity for creating play space(s)! This mirror has been fantastic in this sense. Little B. has often been caught chatting to himself, playing 'peek a boo' or making himself laugh trying out a new facial expression - all the while, keeping a close eye on mummy.*
It needn't be a mirror though, it could be anything. Sometimes I surprise B. by poking or tying his favourite toys, soft toy animals or other 'obsessions of the moment' in or on the gate for him to find and play with, which generally buys me a few more valuable minutes in the kitchen.**
*Also, in our little unit, we don't have the luxury of a separate play room!
**It's a little embarrassing - I know, perhaps should've changed his top for the photo - I think he had just been playing with his drink bottle... thanks for your understanding ;-)