CHILDHOOD

June 26th, 2010 | Childhood, Links, Natural Toys, Play, Storytelling, Toddlers, TV and Media | Permalink | Comments (3)

I have been hard at work this week on creating the new and improved site for Bella Luna Toys. Unfortunately, it’s left me with little time for writing. So while I plug away at the new site (and, oh, I can’t wait for you to see it!) here are a few links to posts from the blogosphere this week that I found of interest, and hope you will, too!

Toddler Storytelling from Code Name: Mama

The Other Toy Story from BeliefNet.com

TV on SCHOOL BUSES? Why Not Just Set Up A Deep-Fryer & Throw Kids’ Brains In? from Free-Range Kids

Let Your Kids Get Dirty from SimpleMom.net

child playing in dirt image

Photo Courtesy of SimpleMom.net

Have a great weekend!

xox
Sarah

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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.


IMG_1601.JPG
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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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March 31st, 2010 | Childhood, Play, Waldorf Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Early childhood educators understand the importance of sensory play for young children. As a Waldorf early childhood teacher, I came to an even deeper understanding of how profoundly important it is to provide a young child with materials and playthings that will nourish his senses.

Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, once described a baby as being “wholly sense organ,” That is, she learns about the world and takes it in through all her senses (furthermore, Steiner claims we have twelve senses, and not just five, but that’s the subject for another post!).

As Waldorf early childhood educators, we seek to provide sensory stimuli that is soothing and nourishing to touch–materials such as natural wood, the soft wool of a lambskin, silks, dolls made of cotton and wool, smooth river stones, and so forth. Outdoors, a child’s senses are stimulated and nourished by playing in sand, water, mud and soil.

Little Hands in Water
What current research shows us is that a child’s sensory experiences are aiding his brain development. Trillions of neural pathways are being formed and strengthened by his repeated sensorial experiences. This is one reason I am committed to carrying playthings and materials at Bella Luna Toys that will nourish and gratify a child’s senses.

For more information on the importance of sensory play, here’s a great blog post from Amanda Morgan, another (non-Waldorf) early childhood educator.

A Handful of Fun: Why Sensory Play is Important for Preschoolers

(This post is part of the Backyard Mama Wednesday link-up.  Visit www.backyardmama.com for more information and to participate)

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March 27th, 2010 | Childhood, Play | Permalink | Comments (2)

Yesterday’s New York Times featured a sad but important op-ed piece by David Elkind, author of the books The Hurried Child and The Power of Play, among others, about the newest threats to childhood and play being imposed on our already over-scheduled children.

New York Times: “Playtime is Over” by David Elkind

Whit on Tire Swing

He states that many schools are now employing “recess coaches” to oversee children’s play time. (Yes, you read that right. Recess coaches!) The traditional culture of childhood is quickly disappearing. I urge you to read this article, then visit The Alliance for Childhood’s website to learn what this organization is doing to protect childhood in the world, and to preserve a child’s freedom to play. Sign up for their free alerts to learn ways you can help.

“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.” ~Joseph Chilton Pearce

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