Wednesday, November 25, 2009
We started a journey towards natural toys a while ago-- striving to find natural, touchable, beautiful things for our children to learn with. We have never been super strict or legalistic about it-- if there is a non-natural toy that they are bonded with, we allow them to keep it. If there is a special non-natural gift given, again, they can keep it. I have viewed it less as a journey away from something as a journey towards something--towards creativity and simplicity and beauty-- and I think that both my children and I have found it to be rewarding and fun.
We have slowly been moving noisy electronic toys into bags and boxes as we have discovered simple natural toys-- picked up at thrift stores, found in nature, found in our closets. I have been committed to making this transition inexpensive and doable-- there's simply no need to spend big money on expensive "natural" toys when the Creator has surrounded us with them already.
My sister and I laughed in amusement when Zosia spent near and hour playing with a bowl of buttons (which we only take out when Lily is sleeping or otherwise safely away)-- sorting them, putting them into muffin tins while naming to whom each tin would be allotted, pouring them from bowl to bowl. Previously, if I needed Zosia to be 100% occupied by something I would pop in a video-- now I know I can just pull out the buttons.
We have played with rice (just as fun, although a little more messy--which we don't mind), river stones, yarn, flower bulbs, acorns and pine cones. Pots and pans, scarves, jars. And, yes, wooden toys, too. Although, to be honest, these don't hold nearly as much wonder as the things we've scavenged from nature. I like that now when we go for a walk, Zosia's eyes are scanning the ground, looking closely at trees, trying to imagine ways to interact with her surroundings. We never pass a certain pine tree without Zosia trying to find a "mama" and "baby" pine cone to take as an accompaniment to her walk. Because she now knows that nature is a beautiful playground, filled with an assortment of magical toys. And I've started to remember that, too.