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Honour the Child

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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Every once in a while (usually when my mother asks what I am working on) I realize that things I make aren't exactly mainstream. That not everyone knows what a playstand, playsilk or playscape are, let alone how you would incorporate one into a child's play (little do they know that the kids can figure it out in 10 seconds flat!). I even had one person comment on one of my Waldorf style figures that is was 'creeeeepy'~ because it had no facial features (which is the Waldorf tradition, allowing the child to imagine the face, feelings and so on)!

These toys, arising out of the Waldorf educational philosophy, are intentionally open ended, simple and made with natural materials. They are created to nurture the wonder of the early years of childhood by allowing children to move smoothly into the world of play and imagination while determining, for themselves, the course and nature of that play.

Most mainstream toys limit a child by determining how the child shall play through their built in cause and effect types of features (push the button, it makes a sound). While cause and effect is an important skill, it doesn't leave much to the imagination! Not to mention that plastic (aside from environmental and health concerns) is cold and lifeless.

Natural toys warm in a child's hands. You can easily explain the flow from sheep to wool to toy and connect the child with the earth and the ideas of inter-connectedness and sustainability. They allow the child to lead the play and move freely through their imaginative ideas. They are wide open space instead of a cattle chute!

I wanted to take a moment for the playscape~ essentially a play mat, an environment for natural play. Most playscapes are felted and made of wool and other fibers. They provide a scene or setting for the child's play. They also provide lots of open space for that play to unfold. Popular themes are fairy, gnome and folk tale based. Natural environments being most common. Sizes vary, as does scale. They can be populated with many simple things~ acorns, stones, bendy dolls, natural found items, whatever you like!

We make playscapes (as pictured here), but I also want to share with you other artists I admire!
You'll that while themes may be similar, style and design are so unique to each artist!

And for wonderful playscape sized accessories, be sure to visit:
Hues of Nature
Princess Nimble Thimble


Anonymous said...

I so admire the playscapes that you and others come up with. They are just so neat looking!!

dandelion (Annette) said...

I love your playscapes !! Next year I`ll try a 3D-one myself, they are so much more lifely than the flat ones (witch I do).
Happy Christmas from Germany
(felting Waldorfmum...)

Kathleen said...

Thank you Lori for this post, I absolutely love your playscapes! I put a link from my blog to this page! Enjoy!

Laurinda Reddig said...

This post is really helpful. I am currently working on my first 2 playscapes as Christmas presents for my 3yo, to balance out the plastic farm animals & dragons I know my aunt is getting him. I'm mostly using leftover and freeform crochet scraps.

Also I think we have a couple "friends" in common. I've taken signing and felting classes from haddy2dogs & my former neighbor at sunshinesalad on etsy mentioned she did a trade with you.

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