April 27th, 2010 | Childhood, Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0)

….Oh hours of childhood,
When each figure hid more than the past
And no future existed.
We were growing, of course, and we sometimes tried
To do it fast, half for the sake of those
Whose grownupness was all they had.
Yet when we were by ourselves,
Our play was in eternity.  We dwelt
In the interval between world and toy,
That place created from the beginning of time
For the purest of actions.


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April 23rd, 2010 | Childhood, Play | Permalink | Comments (2)

Lenore Skenazy, who inspired the “free range” parenting movement when she allowed her 9-year-old son to take the subway home by himself and then wrote about it, has proposed that May 22 be declared “Take Our Children to the Park … and Leave Them There Day.” She quotes some important statistics that our fear of crime is rising while, in fact, the crime rate has been steadily declining for the past 20 years. Are our children paying the price of our fear by losing the freedom of free, outdoor play?   Read Lenore’s recent post from her blog, “Free Range Kids” which was republished this week in the New York Times.

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Don’t bother me, I’m playing!

In another article published this week, librarian Barbara Fister challenges some of her colleagues who believe that children should be using Twitter, Facebook, and other Web 2.0 applications in order to become technologically literate.   Barbara points to the important neurophysiologic and developmental benefits of active free play for young children, and defends play as a “basic human right” of childhood. Read her article “Playing for Keeps” at libraryjournal.com.

Will you spend time outdoors with your children this weekend? What are their favorite places to play outdoors?

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April 21st, 2010 | Photographs | Permalink | Comments (3)

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In our backyard, every week is TV-Turnoff Week.

Son Will works on the treehouse he designed and is building for his 8th grade project.

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April 19th, 2010 | Giveaway, Waldorf Toys | Permalink | Comments (0)

In celebration of TV-Turnoff Week, Bella Luna Toys is partnering with one of my favorite blogs, Simple Organic to offer one lucky reader a $100.00 GIFT CERTIFICATE, good towards anything at Bella Luna Toys! Use the certificate for any of your favorite Waldorf toys, natural toys, wooden toys, Waldorf dolls, play silksdress ups from Sarah’s Silks, and more.

This is the biggest giveaway that Bella Luna Toys has ever sponsored!

Simply visit SimpleOrganic.net for instructions on how to enter. While you’re there, be sure to explore Katie’s ideas for “Make Week,” lots of  fun ideas for alternatives to TV to keep your family busy all week long.

This giveaway will end Sunday, April 25, at 11:59 p.m. CST. The winner will be announced Tuesday, April 27.

Lots of  luck!!

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April 5th, 2010 | Play, Toy Safety, Waldorf Toys, Wooden Toys | Permalink | Comments (14)

We love wooden toys because they are safe, natural, and durable, but also because they are nourishing to a young child’s senses. They feel good and, with their variety of natural colors and grains, are beautiful to behold! Not only will wooden toys provide many years of play for your children, but with proper care, they will also be enjoyed by your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Wooden Toy Cement Truck

But how should one care for wooden toys to make them last? Because they are made from a natural, living material, they need special care and loving attention.

Simple cleaning with a mild solution of soap and water (I like Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap) or a vinegar solution will keep your wooden toys safe and germ-free. Vinegar has mild disinfectant properties. Be sure to avoid bleach, detergents or abrasive cleansers, which will dry out the wood, leading to cracks and breakage, and will also lighten the surface. Use a damp cloth, soft brush or a sponge to wipe clean. It is best not to submerge wood in water (and never put it in the dishwasher).

Wooden Toy Dish Set

Wood needs to have its natural moisture replenished in order to prevent it from drying out, warping or cracking. The best way to keep your wooden toys hydrated and well-nourished is with a natural oil or wax, like plain mineral oil or beeswax polish, like Three Beautiful Bees. Beeswax polish is not only completely non-toxic and safe for children, but it also smells like honey, further adding to the sensory deliciousness of wooden toys!

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Like all wood, wooden toys can be affected by changes in temperature and humidity. Be careful not to leave them outside overnight or for extended periods of time. Heat, sun and humidity can all affect the appearance and shape of wooden toys, and worse, lead to cracking, swelling or breakage.

With proper care and feeding, the wooden toys you purchase for your child today will be enjoyed for generations, delighting other children and families decades after the plastic toys end up sitting in the bottom of a landfill for all time.

What are your favorite wooden toys? Leave a comment and let me know!

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