Monday, January 14, 2008

Importance of toys


Children don’t require a lot of toys but the few they need have to be of good quality and well chosen. These toys need to be ‘open ended’ which means each toy presented has multiple uses. This lets the child use the toy as a tool in their imaginative play.
They need to be strong, made from natural materials and if any gets dirty or broken, remove from play and clean, fix or replace. Children need to see their toys being cared and looked after so they can model appropriate play behaviour. Providing cane or wooden baskets for storage helps the packing away process at the end of the day to be stress free and fun.
Many of these things can be obtained quite inexpensively, made at home or bought from online Steiner inspired websites. Opportunity shops are excellent for baskets, kitchen things, materials etc.


* Cane basket filled with wooden building blocks of all shapes and sizes. – Particularly ones that lend themselves to road building and castle construction
* Wooden / knitted/ felt animals – firstly farm animal, particularly family groups i.e. cow – calf. Then expand to zoo animals,
* Families made from simple wire, wooden beads and wool felt.
* Dolls – made from natural materials and accessories i.e. hammocks, cradles, slings.
* Cloths and silks – pastel colours. These are used for dress up, with dolls and for room decoration.
* Wooden puzzles – tray, nature based concepts
* Wooden or metal cars and trucks
* Home Corner – wooden or made from boxes – stove, sink, wooden table, felt food or glass beads (for older children), wooden bowls, small cane baskets, utensils.
* Wooden Instruments – simple claves, xylophones, bells, triangles, ribbon sticks
* Books on a wooden bookshelf – there should be a well chosen selection of book with topics ranging from fairy tales, animal stories, nature stories all with gentle calming illustrations. A couple of cushions in front of the bookshelf helps the area look inviting and relaxing. The location of the book area should be away from the more active areas to preserve the calming atmosphere.

Art and Craft cupboard – stocked with beeswax crayons, good quality pencils, clean white paper, wool felt, wooden beads, paints, glue, pipe cleaners, wool fleece, ribbons, natural cottons, hessian, child size needles, cotton thread, coloured paper, cardboard, paint brushes, dolly pegs, paddle pop sticks, knitting pure wool, tissue paper. A large box, which can be used for a ‘useful’ box, is always handy; this is where the recycling cereal boxes, paper towel cylinders, can be stored.

As the child ages older you can add wooden train sets, dolls houses, dress ups made from cotton or silk, wood working, knitting needles.

* Sandpit – with a small selection of cooking utensils, buckets, spades.
* Waterplay – large round buckets with a small selection of plastic containers and spoons – use butter containers, old plastic containers – particularly if the lid still fits
* Gardening tools – good quality ones as flower, vegetable and fruit growing as it is very important to feel part of the earth for all people.
* A selection of balls, cane hula-hoops, skipping ropes, cubby (can be made from cardboard boxes) or old tent, kites, flags, carts, bikes,

Most importantly of all, the environment for play is calm, creative and fun!

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