Waldorf In The Home

Monday, February 15, 2010

Corner of my Home - Playspace

So not exactly a corner but the center of our home. On our Waldorf half bench - more about the other half another time- you will find make-believe items that are made from nature and falls into the "wonder-full" category of anything can be anything. Silks, wood blocks, baskets. yarn balls, wool. ropes of all sizes, tie-braided yarns, cloths and magic. Presentation is all it takes to engage children in imaginary play and will hold them there well into dinner time, my witching hour. Inviting their make-believe to the kitchen table is a gurantee that they will eat more veggies if you are serving them in a "fairy garden." You only get to do this twice in your lifetime - once when you are between the ages of one and seven and you believe in fairies -the next time is when you have two fairies and are a cool and present fairy parent. 


Make-believe is different from imitating life's daily activities although equivocally important and every bit of a child's work. To me it is where cleverness comes to life - imagining to be a fairy when you've only heard stories of fairies or looked at pictures of them. This process is truly magical and individual. I love watching the little ones act out fairies so differently, expressing different emotions, unprompted, dancing around, singing opera yet not knowing a thing about opera, making rules, poofing each other into turtles, believing every bit of this magical world that they themselves created - I only offered an inviting space and meaningful plaything - and was the willing audience enjoying the show.   

Children are Nature's Crown Jewels - this topic is beautifully described in one of my favorite parenting books "Heaven On Earth." Surrounding children with few, yet precious playthings creates a rich environment that lets kids be nice kids. "Too many toys damage the magic, excess creates disregard." The girls have one crown each - and they treasure thier crowns - never to be thrown aside for another or fought over - they know which crown belongs to them and they proudly wear it. This golden rule of "few" has been such a blessing in our family - one that we had to learn and once we did - playtime became a much more harmonious and freeing outlet.

What are some of the rules you changed along the way of parenting? 


  1. I have read Heaven on Earth and many other publications that all point to the "less is better" when it comes to toys.
    I haven't been brave enough so far to get rid of all the junk laying around our house. I need a list of what I could make/find/buy to replace it.
    Do you have tips?

  2. You can start by bagging up some loud, plastic toys and having them disappear slowly. I did this and the little ones never asked for one thing that went missing. But to be sure, you never know what they love, hold onto it for a while. Offer a basket of books instead of an entire bookshelf, set out blocks, buy lots of baskets large and small and keep what you only have a place for. My girls played with a basket of walnuts for the longest time. Yarn balls are another one of my favorites - fun to make and throw and soon fun to find out what plans the little ones come up with using it.
    Thanks for asking such a great question Imene and good luck - you and your family will feel so good once you get started.


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