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Waldorf Toys

Parenting, Sunday With Sarah, Toddlers, Waldorf Education, Waldorf Toys

Sarah Answers Your Questions: Toddlers, Toys & Teaching

 

This week on “Sunday With Sarah” I take time to answer some of the questions that viewers have posted here:

  • How to Keep Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy
  • How to Handle Unwanted Toys / Gifts
  • On Becoming a Waldorf Teacher

For more information on becoming a Waldorf teacher and for a list of Waldorf teacher training programs in North America, please visit the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA).

Have any other tips to share? Please leave them here, and keep those questions coming! What topics would you like to hear me discuss in future weeks?

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Natural Toys, Play, Waldorf Toys, Wooden Toys

ImagiPlanks: Introducing the Infinite Playground

Dear Friends,

Meet ImagiPlanks!

Natural Wooden Outdoor Construction Play Set

I don’t think I’ve been as excited about introducing a new toy since I introduced our Waldorf Rocker Boards at Bella Luna Toys almost two years ago.

I have long been on the lookout for great Waldorf outdoor toys to add to our collection, but, like everything offered at Bella Luna Toys, they must be beautiful, all-natural, and encourage open-ended play and creativity. Further, outdoor toys should invite large-motor movement like jumping, climbing and building. The pickings have been slim.

So imagine my excitement when the inventor of a new wooden outdoor play set contacted me about partnering to offer his yet-unnamed construction set at Bella Luna Toys.

Once I saw this video of the newly-monikered ImagiPlanks in action, I knew this was a match made in heaven! 

As you can see, kids can use ImagiPlanks to build an infinite variety of fun and cool structures:

•  Bridges
•  Tunnels
•  Towers
•  Forts
•  Houses
•  See-Saws

ImagiPlanks - Natural Waldorf Outdoor Toys

Made in the USA of sustainably harvested Ponderosa Pine, the 20 pieces in this set are finished with an all-natural unique blend of pure Linseed Oil, Tung Oil, Pine Rosin, Orange Oil, and Beeswax.

Best of all, ImagiPlanks can also be used indoors—a boon for those of us parents in northern climes who are facing a long winter ahead.

Oh, had only ImagiPlanks been invented when my boys were still young! Guess I’ll have to wait for grandchildren.

 

Tell me what you think. Are you as excited about ImagiPlanks as I am? Share your thoughts here.

 

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Waldorf Toys

In Praise of Rocker Boards

If you were to ask me to recommend my one favorite Waldorf toy, I would have to tell you the Rocker Boards!

You might be surprised, because rocker boards may not yet be thought of as classic Waldorf toys. They are, in fact, a relatively new addition, but I’m confident that in very little time rocker boards will become synonymous with “Waldorf toys”—just like Waldorf playstands, Waldorf dolls, and play silks.

My Introduction to the Wonder of Rocker Boards

I’d been teaching early childhood classes in a Waldorf school for many years, but had never seen nor heard of this toy until one of my colleagues brought two of them back from the East Coast Waldorf Early Childhood Conference in 2006.

When I first saw this unusual plaything–a piece of high quality, thick plywood, about three feet long and one foot wide, curved into a perfect quarter-circle arc–I wondered how interested the children would be and what could be done with them.

I knew how beneficial rocking is for a child’s development: it stimulates the vestibular (balance) system and aids a child’s sense of proprioception (the awareness of being in one’s physical body). It seemed like a good toy for allowing rocking indoors.

I knew how important balance is for a child’s brain development, and it seemed like a good and possibly therapeutic toy for certain children.

Waldorf Wooden Balance Board | Rocker Board

What I didn’t yet know was how much children love this toy!

Rocker Boards in the Classroom

We introduced the rocker boards in our classroom in February of that year, and the children wasted no time in finding them and putting them to use.

I was amazed at all the ways they found to play with them. My limited adult thinking assumed that this was a toy for children to stand on, with one foot on either end, on which they could rock back-and-forth.

I didn’t yet realize it could be so much more!

Right away, these boards became the most popular toys in our classroom. They were the first toys the children would go to as soon as snack time was over and play time began.

Yes, children would stand on them and rock, but they found so many other uses for them:

  • The rocker board would become a slide, with one end propped up on a Waldorf playstand.
  • Tipped over, it became a bridge. The children would act out stories, like the “Three Billy Goats Gruff” and trip-trap over the bridge.
  • It became a sailboat, carrying fishermen off to sea as they cast their nets.
  • It was a pirate ship sailing through mighty storms.
  • It was a cradle for a mama (a 5-year-old) to rock her baby (a 3-year-old) to sleep in.

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