What makes a toy a Steiner or Waldorf toy?

DragonflyToys Waldorf Steiner Toys

At DragonflyToys we take care to curate a large selection of quality educational toys. We believe that toys are not disposable and should not be featured in landfill as evidence of over indulged consumerism. Our toys are more than just wooden, eco friendly and organic toys. From the time the first cave man picked up a stone and used it as an axe, we have been repurposing objects from our environment to meet the needs of the play at hand. I get it, in our modern times sometimes play feels more like survival!

 

It is important for us to remind ourselves that we are playing. Playing at work, playing at loading the dishwasher, playing with the dust as we brush it around the house and land it in the bin. This is the child’s world. Children can be most settled when immersed in this parallel play with adults, where adults are playing at their daily chores and the child is ‘helping’. We need a lot of patience, we need to see the fun in it and be forgiving of the child that enjoys sweeping so much that they cannot make neat piles. 

 

We have a large range of child sized toys that mirror adult toys. Your child may like our dustpan and brush, kids garden tool set, kettle, pots and pans or kitchen utensils. You will note that even tough these are play toys, they are built to last and will provide your child with the same satisfaction you have when you cook with your mothers pot, or that quality wedding pan, or lay out your special dining set on that special occasion.

 

Our toys are built in a way that support open ended play. For example, when we look at this Rainbow we may recall the rhyme Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain (red orange yellow, green blue indigo violet) or remember the promise after the great flood or even the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. This Rainbow could equally be bridges, fences, half pipe at a skate park, circles and a stacking tower. We hope that the beauty and simplicity of the form will encourage constant repurposing through play, and in that repurposing you can educate your child about the other mysteries of the Rainbow.

 

Talking of open ended play, have you seen our range of blocks, puzzles, building and stacking, musical instruments and baby toys. These toys are built of natural fibres such as wood, timber, wool, skins, silk and cotton and dyed with food grade non toxic dyes.

 

We take care to ensure our instruments are in tune (check out our xylophone) our bells ring true and solid and our drums resonate. Our wooden toys and timber blocks are sourced from sustainable timbers and finished with clean non toxic dyes. Have a look, and call us if you have any questions.  

 

So, when considering what makes a Steiner or Waldorf Toy unique, there are no hard and fast rules only guiding principles. The Waldorf education movement has grown from the teachings of Rudolph Steiner and we have many books from understanding childhood, Family Crafting and cooking to assist you orientate yourself in his teachings.

 

The following points may be useful to think about when making your Toy selection?

  • Is the toy nourishing to the child senses? What sense is your child developing and exploring?
  • Is the toy beautiful and will it contribute to a beautiful environment? Simplicity and the absence of disposable clutter reinforces belonging, care, purpose and place.
  • What does the toy teach our child about aesthetic appreciation? To have appreciation is to have care.
  • Does it inspire the imagination? Can it be used for multiple purposes in multiple contexts?
  • Does the toy offer softness, eloquence, and simplicity. The absence of detail can encourage imaginative play rather than prescribe purpose.
  • Will the toy provide a tactile experience? Is it weighted, nice to hold and to touch?
  • Does the toy encourage imitation? Play is the child’s work and toys are the child’s tools. (Our work is our play, let us not forget!)
  • Is the toy made of natural fibres? Will it encourage a greater connection and flow with indoor and outdoor worlds and appreciation of the natural environment?
  • Is the toy toxic? Does the toy contain petroleum based PVC or BPA plastics and paints, lead, other known carcinogens and hormone disrupters?

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