June 7th, 2010 | Waldorf Dolls, Waldorf Education, Waldorf Toys | Permalink | Comments (8)

A Waldorf doll may be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of “Waldorf toys.” I often receive inquiries about Waldorf dolls and how to choose one. Here, I share with you some of the common questions, and my responses.

Q: What exactly is a Waldorf doll?

A: A Waldorf doll is a type of doll used in Waldorf education. They are usually handmade of natural fibers, like wool and cotton, using traditional European dollmaking techniques. The facial features of a Waldorf doll are intentionally minimal (for example, two embroidered eyes, and a hint of a mouth) or they may have no facial features at all! This is to allow a child to develop his or her capacity for imagination and creativity. Without fixed facial features, a child can imagine the doll to have any expression. It is equally easy to imagine such a doll being happy or sad; crying or laughing—unlike a hard plastic doll, with a fixed, permanent expression.

Q: When is a good time to introduce a doll for the first time? Which dolls would you recommend for different ages?

A: One can introduce a doll to a baby during the first year! I always recommend a Blanket Doll as the perfect first doll for a baby, and up to the age of two. It’s a cross between a favorite “blankie” and a doll. Babies love to look at the human face, and this doll has a formed head covered with cotton knit skin and hand-sewn simple facial features. It has an unformed, soft flannel body, and simple hands and feet sewn into the four corners. The cotton flannel body is warm and soft, and nourishing to a baby’s developing senses. The hands and feet invite gumming and chewing, and the materials are safe and non-toxic.

A toddler at the age of two or three can more easily grasp the concept of “doll,” and at this age I recommend a Cuddle Doll. This type of Waldorf doll (which is also known as a “Bunting Doll”) is more huggable, and squeezable. The body is pillow-like and squishy, making it easy for a young child to hold and grasp. The knot at the end of this “baby’s” stocking cape invites gumming and mouthing, and like the Blanket Doll, is safe for doing so.

For a child age four or older, I recommend a beautiful and classic Waldorf Dress Up Doll. The “dress up” doll typically has skin made from cotton interlock knit fabric and wool stuffing. The trademark long hair  on the girl dolls is usually made of mohair or boucle, and can be braided. It has flexible arms and legs, allowing the doll to be dressed in different changes of clothing, and to assume natural postures.

It is between the ages of 4 and 6 when children really start to play imaginatively and out of imitation. This is the age when playing “house” usually begins, and children of this age love to dress and change clothes on these dolls, feeding them, having tea parties with them, and so forth. These dolls are ideal for a child who has developed the fine motor skills needed to button and change clothing. In doing so, children further develop these skills of manual dexterity.

Q: My daughter’s doll has some dirt stains on her face and body. Can you tell me how to safely wash a Waldorf doll?

A: Waldorf dolls are generally surface washable only. The best way to wash them is to gently spot clean with a mild soap (I like Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap, used very diluted in water) and a soft terrycloth rag. Allow the doll to air dry away from direct sunlight. Never, ever put a Waldorf doll in a washing machine or dryer!

I love hearing your questions! Have a question about Waldorf toys or Waldorf education? A perplexing parenting problem? Wondering about your child’s development? Leave your question here and I’ll do my best to answer in a future post.

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June 1st, 2010 | Giveaway, Waldorf Toys, Wooden Toys | Permalink | Comments (353)

After sponsoring several giveaways on various other blogs in recent months, Bella Luna Toys is excited to be offering its first giveaway right here at home on Moon Child. To celebrate the positive response received so far, I am delighted to offer Moon Child readers our most generous giveaway to date:

Win a $100.00 Gift Certificate to Bella Luna Toys!



Better yet, you can increase your odds of winning by submitting four or more entries!

For your first entry, visit Bella Luna Toys and take a look at our favorite classic toys, and our new products. Then leave a comment below telling us what you love most about Waldorf toys, wooden toys, or natural toys, and why you choose them for your children.

For a second entry, sign up for Bella Luna Toys email newsletter. Not only will you get an extra chance to win, but you will also receive advance notice of subscriber-only sales, discounts and new product announcements. Then return here and leave the comment “Subscribed to newsletter.”

For a third entry, subscribe to Moon Child to receive blog updates by email, and follow my musings on childhood, play and Waldorf education. Then leave the comment: “Subscribed to blog.”

For even more ways to enter, mention this giveaway on your own blog, tweet about it on Twitter, or become a new fan on Facebook. Get an extra entry for each of these activities. Leave a separate comment for each. Be sure to include a link to your blog post, your Twitter name, or a note saying “New Facebook Fan.”

The winner will be chosen randomly from all entries received on Monday, June 7 at 9:00 a.m. EST.

Comments are now closed.

A big thank you to everyone of you who left a comment for Moon Child’s first Giveaway! I read every single one of them, and your words of appreciation for Waldorf toys and natural playthings truly inspired me. Stay tuned for more giveaways from Bella Luna Toys here at Moon Child!

And the winner of the $100 Givewaway is Roxy Schow (comment #297, chosen by a random number generator) who wrote:

“We LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE the wooden vehicles – oh my, wouldn’t a little boy here love to have them all!!”

Congratulations, Roxy!

And don’t forget, you are ALL invited to enjoy 10% of all orders placed through June 15. Just enter the promotion code “MOONCHILD” at checkout.
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