I’m Not Sure Who’s Having More Fun – Me or Joshi: Toys And Play For Todders Up to 3 Years Old

Posted on May 24 2013 - 9:26pm by megganmamma

Joshi under the clothes line

Since Joshi was a few months old we’ve been to a few Steiner playgroup sessions. Unfortunately we’ve missed so many of them because either he or both of us have been asleep or something else has made it impossible for us to leave on time. You can’t rush a six month old on the potty you know. They’re in the present moment and you can’t hurry poofection.

Anyway, the ones we’ve made it to have been great. It’s not just about the kids having fun; the parents get to do some craft and learn about some cool stuff too. At the end of last week’s Steiner session the teacher gave us a handout about toys and play. I found the ideas interesting and fun. It suggests that the most appropriate toys for kids in the early years are simple and open-ended, toys which stimulate your child’s imagination. For example, a beautiful curved piece of wood could be used by your child in play as a mobile phone or a bridge, etc. It also suggested choosing toys which are made from natural materials, such as wood, rubber, wool, cotton, silk and metal, ie. non-toxic toys which give your child a variety of sensory experiences.  I love it.  I immediately resonated with it all.

Of course there’s also the child’s age to consider. For Joshi’s age group (toddlerhood to 3 years), suggested toys include ‘home environments’ such as “little kitchen sets, dishes, tables and chairs that can be moved around to create houses, large cloths and dress-up clothes, large wooden puzzles that have beautiful pictures underneath single pieces, a few shaped animals and some simple musical instruments such as pentatonic chimes.”  The emphasis is really on providing toys which are identifiable yet beautiful during the years when your child is learning what Steiner refers to as ‘thingness’. The toys at our Steiner playgroup really are beautiful.  When you enter the room it feels as if you’re entering a sacred yet playful space.  You definitely won’t find any plastic toys there, nor anything that needs batteries or a power point.  I love it.  In fact that afternoon I got home and packed away all the plastic toys which I’ve allowed to creep into the house.  I’ll be dropping them into Vinnies soon.

Anyway, when I read about creating ‘home environments’ I was really keen to get stuck in. You see, this is one of the parts of mammahood I’ve been really looking forward to – making little ‘houses’ that we can hang out in. And now that it’s winter and raining and Joshi’s 13 months old … well, it’s the perfect thing to do.

So yesterday after I cleared all the dry clothes off our indoors clothes line, I spontaneously thought to throw a pink and blue sari over the top of it (as you can probably guess I’m really not interested in sparing pink for girls and blue for boys).  Joshi just loved it.  He was so excited.  There didn’t even need to be anything inside it. He ran inside, stood next to me, eyes wide and squealing with delight, ran out and then immediately ran back in again.  It was such a hit that I decided to build another bigger house in the living room. We spent much of the afternoon going in and out of it between doing housework, cooking and meditation.  After we had tea in there Joshi unpacked one of the kitchen drawers and put the utensils in his new house. Then he’d run into it and stand there very, very quietly until I found him. More very loud squeals and laughing.

Of course all of this means that our living room is in chaos, but the fun far outweighs that.  Having a child has turned our home from a very orderly and tidy environment into a colour-filled playground.  Thank you Joshi for all the colour you bring into our lives. And thank you Steiner for the very cool ideas.

Now I just need to find a little non-toxic, non-plastic tea set.  Anyone got any suggestions?

steiner toys

4 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. katesurfs May 26, 2013 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    Oh, sounds like fun! Tent city! You can buy some wooden tea sets online… But my favorite (and less expensive) thing to do is to get things from the asian shop.. stainless steel 🙂 We also scour the op-shops and the flee markets. I used to only want to buy wooden toys… as the plastic ones are never as nice, tend to break, less environmentally friendly, etc… but today, we got a plastic-type doll stroller and a doll potty (plastic) from this market second for $5.50! Recycled?
    Margo played all afternoon with these two things, deep in her imaginary play, taking the baby to the potty and then for a ride in the pram, etc. It took a while for me to let go about bringing plastic toys in the house.,, but, now I’ve even got Barbie’s! Deep breaths… Although… I still feel like I need to take a few bags to Vinneys 🙂

    • megganmamma June 3, 2013 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      I’ve also just heard that you can get really cute stainless steel pots and pans for kids from Ikea! They’ve got them at our Steiner playgroup … Joshi keeps going over to the kids stove, making us some ‘food’ and then bringing it back to the group to feed everyone.

  2. Kat May 27, 2013 at 10:27 am - Reply

    Hey Meggan, so lovely to see Joshi starting to play like a toddler! Izzy is doing that now too and I just love it! 🙂 Online is a good idea for buying stuff new http://www.productreview.com.au/p/plan-toys-childs-wooden-tea-set.html or else as Kate says you can get some awesome things second hand. There’s a cool place in Sydney called Reverse Garbage – I’m yet to check it out but I’m a fan on facebook because they have some really amazing things, stuff the could be considered rubbish but is actually of value to some. Maybe the big Salvos in Tempe would be a good option too? Having gone to a Steiner school myself and having a mum who is a Steiner teacher of some 30 years, I’m only too familiar with the beauty of the Steiner type toys and play ideas. I also shunned plastic stuff for a while, and I still limit it as much as possible, but I find it soooo hard to do. Especially given how much plastic stuff I use on a daily basis – I didn’t even realise! Do you read Soulemama’s blog? Some lovely handmade stuff/ideas there… 🙂

  3. megganmamma June 3, 2013 at 10:02 pm - Reply

    Ah thanks Kat. I’ve actually been to that Reverse Garbage place before, and yes, they do have some amazing stuff.

    Oh, lots of Steiner experience you must have! Today I saw the Steiner-type books for the first time. Aren’t they divine? The one I fell in love with had no writing in it, just the most beautiful pictures. You can make up your own story each time. I love it. I think it was called ‘A New Day.’ Do you know it?

    Off to check out Soulemama’s blog!

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