Browsing Tag

waldorf wooden toys

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.

Continue Reading

You Might Also Like

Archives

Waldorf Toys: Bringing New Consciousness to Choosing Children’s Toys

My second guest post as a contributor appears over at Simple Homeschool today.

In my piece, Waldorf Toys: Choosing the Best Educational Toys for Your Children, I describe games that, as a Waldorf teacher, I shared with the parents of children in my classes. These hands-on experiences would shed new light on how young children experience toys, and allowed parents to experience the very different ways that children play with typical Toys ‘R’ Us type toys versus the kinds of natural playthings typically found in a Waldorf classroom.

Waldorf Toys

I wish I could give every one of you the same direct experience, because there is nothing that beats experiential learning, but my hope is that you’ll head over to Simple Homeschool, read my description of the exercises and try them yourself. (Better yet, try them with a friend!)

This was one of my very favorite “parent evenings” to offer, and the insights gained were often profound. I owe credit to my dear friend Louise de Forest who first introduced me to similar exercises many years ago when she was my son Harper’s kindergarten teacher. Thank you, Louise!

Try picking up and handling different kinds of toys and objects from your child’s toy box with your eyes closed. No peeking! Experience them with all your senses. What did you discover? Share your thoughts here.

You Might Also Like

Childhood, Inspiration, Natural Toys, Photographs, Play, Waldorf Toys, Wooden Toys

a moment . . .

Right now I am spending every free moment working on the new Bella Luna Toys website, about which I’m all aflutter. I can’t wait for you to see it! As a result, I’ve had very little time to write blog posts.

So here today, inspired by SouleMama, I am sharing Amanda’s Friday ritual. A single photo, no words, capturing a moment. (And, in this case, a sneak peek into what I’ve been working on!)

Wooden Toy Train from Bella Luna Waldorf Toyscopyright Sarah Baldwin, all rights reserved

Wishing you a wonderful summer weekend full of play!

You Might Also Like