Since my first (ever!) blog post I have been thinking about my love affair with natural handmade toys and why I love them so much.
We home educate our eldest boy and have always done this in a waldorf inspired way.
I say inspired as we have never followed the Steiner education strictly….
I believe strongly in the magic of open ended play but my son also loves his Xbox, and it’s amazing what he has learnt from minecraft!
However we have always tried to maintain a healthy balance. When he was younger we didn’t have a lot of spare money to spend on toys, a lot of our spending was done scouring charity shops and car boot sales where we found lots of simple wooden play aids.
Simple wooden sorting toys, baskets and wooden blocks.
I have always had a little table set up where they would be a few baskets filled with natural objects, pine cones, sticks and anything else I could find….
It was only the second time around that I discovered the wonderful world, and deep deep rabbit hole that it beautiful handcrafted toys….mainly Grimm’s and Grapat.
From rainbows (the beautiful and elusive 12 piece) to wonderful building blocks and pieces that represent the elements, to little gnome houses!
Grapat make lovely little wooden people (Nins) and lots of sorting pieces to go with them, ideal for colour sorting and treasure baskets!
For me these toys are just beautiful.
They are made from natural materials with rich natural colours, they entice all the senses. The wood is soft and warming in little hands. The natural earthy smell, just delicious.
They are often very simple without too much detail, which makes them perfect for open ended play.
These toys can be so many things and this gives the child’s imagination free reign.
I love seeing what Arthur comes up with.
Just a few weeks ago he picked up the small chunky piece of the Grimm’s 12 piece rainbow and used it as a phone. It has also been a mouse, a house and a road hump!
I just love that these toys can be used in so many ways. There are totally unisex, and are not age specific.
Unlike when we go to the supermarket and are faced with high shelves of pinks and blues, and age specific toys!
The feel, the smell, the endless possibilities for play contribute greatly to the child’s development. These toys don’t ‘do’ anything which leaves the play 100% in the child’s hands, and this is amazing for their imagination!
Whilst I am clearly passionate about these beautiful toys, they are really not a necessity to play! Everything can be found in nature…
Blocks of wood, sticks, leaves, pine cones, chunks of bark, shells, pebbles.
I think this is a part of why I love Grimm’s so much, there are so closely connected to nature, you can still see the wood grain and feel the texture of the wood…..
Quiet often we will take our toys outside, I just love seeing the rainbow in the sunshine, and more often than not Arthur will move away from them and collect sticks!
He will make rabbit holes, pine cones will be mice, sticks will be wands……