Engaging Toys and Activities for Children

Since we no longer have television in our home, friends often ask me how my kids stay “busy” and entertained.  I’ve decided to post about some of the activities, games and toys we have around the house that keep them engaged along with products I personally love.

Marble Runs: One of the toys and activities that have endless entertainment value for boys and girls of all ages are Marble Runs.  You don’t have to start with a big expensive set, add-on kits are always available and are a great suggestion when  friends and family are stuck for gift ideas.  If you are handy you can make your own or watch as your child creates all kinds of clever inventions using ordinary objects as inspiration – hours of entertainment. 

 

DIY Kits: Now that my children are more independent they love to sit down with an activity that they can accomplish on their own, and I love the Do it Yourself kits that come packaged with instructions. It’s also simple to create your own, package it, and write your own instructions. You can find tons of DIY ideas on Pinterest by searching DIY, and then clicking “through” the actual image to the originating website. I love this clever DIY gift that was made for fort enthusiasts, an assortment of fort building supplies in a canvas bag with a home printed label attached.

 

Felting Projects: Each Fall we usually pull out our big basket of felting supplies, the wooly puffs of rainbow colors are lovely on a gray day. My kids love to work on felting projects while they listen to stories. Felting has two benefits – like any craft the activity itself is soothing and fun, then the end product can be given as gifts to friends or grandparents.  Each year I try to add some more wool, needles, or felting books for our collection. For ‘new felters’ you can get special protected needles so that they don’t stick themselves and forms such as cookie cutters which can also keep fingers safe.  For the very young, a kit for wet-felting is a fun way to start.

Felting is great for the older kids!

Dress Up Box: So many parents I know have told me that their kids enjoy dressing up all throughout their childhood. The younger kids love the pretend play aspect of Knights and Fairies, while older children might like the challenge of putting on a play or performance with accessories of all kinds.  Think about adding to your collection of dress up to make it fresh and inspiring again by taking a browse inside a vintage store where you might pick up an inexpensive hat or a magnificent frock for the kids.  Challenge them by having them create a theatrical performance -complete with scripts, props, and scenery. Invite friends over to watch the performance!

Blocks, Blocks, Blocks and More Blocks: The play value of blocks is endless and our family has bins of various shapes, sizes, and brands.  Whenever I can add to the collection with a set that gives it some new dimension. I am particularly fond of blocks from Grimms Toys (Germany) .  I love the colors and shapes, and pairing blocks with wooden animals, dolls, or felted creatures can be great fun.  My kids also love to partner blocks with silks (also a must for the dress up box!) so that they create landscapes, or use them as a covering to make caves where little creatures can burrow.

Blocks make great roadways for cars, amazing structural support for marble runs, or just for plain good old-fashioned architectural design!

Share some ideas of your own at home success stories by using the comment box below! We’d love to hear from you and share your ideas with our growing Waldorf community! 

 

Sharing in the Age of Technology

As Screen Free Week 2012 approaches, Su Rubinoff shares some thoughts about some fundamental changes that electronic media have brought to our family lives.

These days, family members each have a cell phone, they do not need to share the family’s house phone.  Most homes have more than one television so teenagers do not need to share or negotiate who is going to watch what.  Often there is more than one car per household and older teens may have their own, they do not need to share or consider how their plans will fit with those of others. Continue reading →

What did Steiner say about television?

In this article Kristie Karima Burns, MH, ND of www.TheWaldorfChannel.com writes about the impact of television on students from the viewpoints of Waldorf pedagogy as well as recent neurological and behavioral research.

So what did Steiner have to say about television? Nothing. There were no televisions in his time. But, he said enough about early childhood education that we can surmise what his views on the tube would have been.

These reasons center on Steiner’s view of the astral body, imagination and the way a child learns.

Continue reading →