Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Toys from your garden! Part 1

Last year, a good friend of mine, through a special playground, introduced me to Waldorf style (education? parenting?). Although in all honesty, I never went back, and although our daughter very happily attends a Montessori school, many aspect of the Waldorf philosophy caught my eye! Nature, nature and nurture are really important to me! So it was not surprising that I fell in love with all the wooden toys, felted animals and organic material. (In a way, not so different than the tactile material used in a Montessori classroom which not only takes on household items, but also features many wooden activities, water, rocks....)

Needless to say, as a two and a half years old, my daughter LOVES playing timber! You should see her and grand-pa! It can get loud and wild! At home, I often let her built tower taller than herself in toilet paper roll! I call it, my quiet version of timber (although if you heard her laugh... you would say "doesn't sound quiet to me").

In the last 2 weeks, my husband and I have been working our garden (still working on becoming produce sustainable through permaculture). Last year, a strong wind storm took down big branches from near by trees, we also had to prune our plum trees, and therefor ended up with lots of branches! Some of which will be used in our fire pit, and some of which we decided to turn into toys! Wood toys! We already have a few Melissa and Doug toys (but I don't like the fact that they are made in China) and even fewer Hape toys (who can afford those???), so my husband decided to turn into Ghepetto and here are some of the project we are currently tackling!

- Timber pieces to play timber!
- Numbered disk
- Fine motors pieces for Phénix
-And old fashion buttons! 

In the next few days, I will be posting individually about these projects!

First up today is "Numbered disk" Now I am not going to lie... this is taken straight out of Pinterest! A branch cut into 1/2 inch thick disk with numbers from 1 to 10 painted on! They can be used as a counting tool, ordering tool, timber toys or even as a memory game.

To do mine, and because I have no artistic skills, I used a "pochoir", but if you have a nice handwriting, the sky is the limit. I also decided to not paint "10" on one disk. Instead I painted an extra "1" and an extra "0". This way, the set can be use to teach beyond the first 10 digits. Another variation possible would be to paint letters, or 2 each of a picture to use it as a memory game.

If you have older kids, this can be a fun rainy day project! Provided you have a branch and a saw and are reusing left over paint, this project is free! Eventually I plan on having the kids "pochoir" the letters to their name, so then we can use it as a spelling puzzle!

To finish it off, I sew a bag out of canvass on which I painted with the same pochoirs "number". Instead of using a drawstring (which could be potentially dangerous as it could strangulate a playing kid, I used a soft elastic, which leave the opening wide enough for a hand when unstretched and wide enough for a wood disk when fully stretched. 


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