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Thursday, 26 August 2010
OK, you caught me. I don't really have almost 7 000 reasons, or at least not that I have blogged about!
But close!

I just had a note from a mom who is new to open-ended and natural toys, and she was delighted to find out how much imagination was blooming in her children as they played with their playsilks together.  It is one of those things that you can't tell people, they just have to see it happen~ to experience it in a child they know and love.  'Cause playsilks are just something that most grownups don't 'get'.  But give one to a child... and magic happens.

Having spent the day cleaning out closets and toys and books, I was once again impressed with the value of our natural toys (some mama made, many purchased from other artisans).  As my daughter turns 5 and heads to school full time this fall, it seemed appropriate to clean up and out many of the beloved-but-outgrown toys and the board books (Snuggle Puppy gets to stay on the shelf, however, as she'll never be too big for that one!) no longer suited to a blossoming reader. 

It is amazing how many little things sneak into the toys (and how many little toys sneak out~ I found marbles every where!) that were ripe for passing on to the church rummage sale!  But as I have, year after year, I find myself simply tidying up and replacing in their places the wooden tree blocks, the stacking arches, the felted gnomes and bendy fairies.  The playsilks of every size and colour go back in their basket, where they have lived, some of them, for four years.  And from which they are drawn daily for imaginative play.
 Other toys pass in their season, but the natural and open ended ones are perennial. When artisans say 'heirloom quality' they really mean it!  But more than this, these toys span a wide age range.  An infant playing peekaboo is very different developmentally than a five year old walking a playsilk swinging bridge over a canyon on a unicorn ~ but both use their silkies for play, and in multi-age families, the same ones!  The blocks an infant mouths and bangs are the same one the four year old stacks and counts. 

These toys last. And when they have finished their time, many will be suitable to pack away for the next generation, and those that are not will gently return to the earth.

This is what I mean by value.  There is no doubt that quality toys are an investment (but play is a child's work and deserves great tools!).  But they last throughout a child's childhood, meeting them at every age and stage with the invitation to dream and imagine and become... they are faithful playmates that are warm and soft, beautiful and natural.

And if you don't believe me, ask a kid!


Kendra said...

Timely post b/c this morning I was doing some online shopping for my daughter's birthday and Christmas, and preparing for my very first round of "natural" made-to-last toys! They're MUCH more expensive, but I hope they'll grow with my daughter. I never intended to be drowning in plastic, but I didn't discover the world of waldorf-ish toys until 6 months ago. "Ahhh... THIS is what I should have been getting all along!" was my response :)

Our very first venture outside mainstream toys was playsilks, which we bought off dharma and dyed with kool aid. She LOVES, LOVES, LOVES these... and they're already gotten more play than all her other toys combined.

Now if I can only bring myself to let go of all the other...

Unknown said...

I know, it is hard! Even when we have pretty much kept it to natural stuff in the home, the other stuff creeps in... and goes back out as garbage :(
Good luck! there are so many lovely things to choose from!

Kristin said...

We thoroughly enjoy all of our wool and wooden toys because they feel wonderful and they're unique.

The other day it occurred to me: No (regular, non-corn) plastic manufactured in human history has biodegraded yet. When I think about the Pacific Ocean garbage drift, I often think about how many sippy cups, Barbie dolls, and other plastic toys are in the mix. :-( If more of us chose natural or recyclable toys, we could slow the growth of garbage drifts like that.

kat said...

well said!

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