Saturday, 11 February 2012

My Thoughts On Waldorf - Part 1 - Toys

So, Waldorf. Well I will never be fully immersed as a Waldorf / Steiner, Montessori parent, but, I have found some of the ideas and teaching methods quite interesting.


Christmas was quite a plastic-fantastic time around here. Some of Oscars gifts included the Scooby Gang (plastic figures, bought used),

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Woody from toy story (plastic figure, bought new because the used ones were costing more than the ridiculously priced £25 from the Disney shop),

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and Noddy in his car (plastic car and plastic figure, bought new because I couldn't find it second hand).

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But his favorite gift by far is his wooden castle, bought used for £39 including 6 figures and postage as opposed to the new price of £98 for the castle and £12.99 per pack of 3 figures from the Early Learning Centre.

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I mostly asked for clothes for him from other people so the amount of toys was restricted, because I honestly know that a landslide of new things inevitably means hardly any things get played with.
Noddy/car has hardly been played with at all (he may go back to it, we will see). Woody has been played with, but I would say regularly as opposed to frequently. The Scooby Gang have been played with every single day, along with the castle and the figures (a dragon and 3 bad guys and 2 good guys), which came with it. Since making the little peg elves I have seen how much Oscar enjoys these smaller types of play objects (some place between 5cm and 10cm I think is the ideal). It does not seem to be related to dexterity because his fine motor skills are well developed so I can only assume it is down to preference? (jump in here, if you know about these things). But don't small children like to play with stones, and pine cones and shells? The Waldorf schools advocate small natural play objects, and on this subject I have to concur. I/we have had a nature table since last spring, but it was really the winter table past which has caught Oscars attention. I have decided though that since we have 'made' items on it too, I feel more comfortable calling it a 'season' table as opposed to a nature table. For more ideas on nature tables, I can highly recommend The Magic Onions. Anyway, the little things on the Season table are played with a lot just now, and I am quite happy to keep putting it back together again once or twice a day because I know there is nothing more enticing for Oscar than to see it all set back out again (ready for play).

It is Oscars birthday this week and as far as toys are concerned we have decided to go a little further down the Waldorf path with some of his gifts. We have bought a couple of wooden puzzles Example, a natural wooden construction set , and some play fabrics. Now, I understand play-silks are the Waldorf preference but I was finding pure silk very expensive to come by. Then I read a post someplace (sorry I forgot where) about not getting caught in the very expensive natural toy racket. Well maybe not a racket exactly, but sometimes they are VERY over priced. The post also suggested thin-ish cotton play fabrics as an alternative to the silk ones, and this struck me as a great idea, so we have a few shades of cotton lining fabric for Oscar instead of 1 or 2 silk ones. (Bought Here).
We have made one plastic purchase though and that is a swing set for the garden (the swing seat is plastic), but lets be honest its very good for outdoor use. We have also bought a small wooden and cloth circus set (bought used for a few pounds), because its something Oscar has an interest in.
I am curious to see how the play cloth and wooden set go over with him, I will be sure to keep you posted, (photo's to follow after his birthday). In the mean time I have a woollen snake to finish knitting (because both Oscar I am were quite surprised to find he didnt have a play snake), hope you are having a nice weekend.




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