Choosing toys to compliment Waldorf Early Childhood Practice

Updated: Oct 4, 2020

Today’s seasonal feast in the indoor kitchen.... Natural objects are highly favoured in the Steiner Kindergarten over pre-formed man made versions.

Fostering a connection between nature and the imagination is a critical role of these toys..after all we don’t know what wonder or miracle a child is thinking of when they hold and feel an acorn, a pine cone. Engaging as many of the senses as possible (and Steiner~Waldorf acknowledges 12 senses) is seen as a key to healthy development. In addition to this we need to consider that play is the work of the child and they work through imitation. So when a child imitates cooking dinner for example the toys the child use are his/her tools. A child size broom, plates, and cloths, teapots and cups, cribs and dolls enable children to fully immerse themselves in this imitation - a small area or kitchen therefore with a few familiar objects and natural items to be used as ‘food’ would be particularly beneficial.

In today’s consumer driven world I think it’s more important than ever to make a conscious choice with toys. Ask yourself ; Is it beautiful? Does it feel good? Does it allow space for the imagination to flourish? Can it inspire imitation?

If it meets all of the above I would consider that a pretty good toy to have. Remember to always buy second hand first where possible, and check any wooden toys which are new are from sustainable forests.

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