This year I will once again avoid the malls and make my own Christmas gifts for my son and my nieces and nephew. Here is a list of toys that I’ll be working on, some incredibly easy and some a tad trickier. If you want more ideas, please check out my previous post on Easy Handmade Waldorf and RIE Toys.
1. Sensory Basket Treasures (6 months and up) This is actually a gift that even my 2 year old will still love. Fill this basket with pine cones, large bottle caps, fabric scraps or anything else interesting. They LOVE random odd things.
2. Sunray Sensory Toy (Newborn – 1 year) – This is great because you can fill it will different textures, like mylar sheets or tulle. This one looks tricky but you can sew up any shape of fabric really easily.
3. Soft fabric balls. (Newborn and up)
4. Felt Finger Puppets (1 1/2 and up)
5. Sleeping Sacks for Dolls and Stuffed Animals (1 and up)
6. Cardboard Box Appliances (2 and up)
7. Blocks from Apple Branches (1 and up)
8. Play Cape (2 and up)
9. Really Cool Crayons (2 and up). Easy to make and perfect for tiny fingers.
10. Yogurt Containers! (All ages) Seriously, these have always been such a huge hit, and will continue to be for some time. Open-ended toys are perfect for cultivating creativity in your little ones.
I LOVE AUTUMN! I find that this is one of the most active and vibrant times of the year, more so than the lazy, hot summer or quiet and gently blossoming spring. IN the fall we have the wind and rain and leaves flying all about; we have the fascinating decay of the plants we have nourished over the past year; and we have the dusk coming closer and closer to our days, slowly wrapping us in quiet security. I LOVE sharing this time with children! There are SO MANY great folk songs, cooking activities and projects that we can share with even the littlest of people!
We all know about the common festivals of Autumn, but there are more than you think. As the season goes on, I will be posting about these specific festivals, but first I want to mention Michealmas Time! Just after the Equinox (on the 22nd this year) Michealmas time comes to us on the 29th of September. Your local Waldorf School will most likely have Michealmas Festivals open to the public and I urge you to go. As shared on the Parenting Passageway: “Michaelmas is an autumn festival that to me really opens up the season for the awakening of our souls as the weather gets colder, the light recedes, and we look toward strengthening our own inner reserves, our own inner strength. Michaelmas, as you can probably guess, is named for Saint Michael. Michael was one of the four archangels, and is the angel who threw Lucifer out of Heaven. He is the Angel of Courage, the Angel of the Fight Against Evil. Take courage for the long, cold winter from Saint Michael!” To me, this is a time to focus deeply on my inner work and share in the strength building activities with our friends and family. This is a time for meditating, writing poetry, dancing and sharing the joy of Autumn with our children. These heart-warming activities will build our joy reserves for the harsh winter and Michealmas Day is a time to remember out work for this time.
There are so many great Autumn activities we can share with our children. Meditation and Inner work is not something we do WITH children, it is something we do for our children as a spiritually strong parent is essential. provides a good foundation for their own strength. On The Magic Onions Blog, I have found a treasure chest full of brilliant ways to share the joy of Autumn with your little ones. Here you will see great books to read, lovely nature table decor, finger games and songs and recipes to make with our children. Here’s a poem that she shares with us to share with our children, I find it lovely!
October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came –
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.
~George Cooper, “October’s Party”
Mother’s Day is just around the corner and I have been working on these felted flowers with some of the children I work with. This is a simple activity that even the littlest of children can do (though my 9 month old ‘helped’ mostly by chewing on them.) Not only is this a great gift idea, there are many benefits to young children engaging in sensory activities with natural materials.
Wool Roving – Can be purchsed at most yarn stores. If you live in Seattle, Weaving Works is the best place that I have found .
Natural Soap – You can use Dish Soap or a Castille Soap (like Dr. Bronners)
The felting process begins with a patting motion. Gently pat the soapy felt down into the pins until they feel fairly felted. You can do the whole process with this patting motion, flipping the flower a few times to get both sides. After this is done you can felt them in your palms a little bit to give them a more rounded look, they felt fast this way so check often.
(This is my son helping, he liked the sound the pan made on the cement when he hit it. He receives all of the benefits of playing with the wool and the pan, the product will come when he is older. Art with children is mostly about the process anyways.)
Now you have some lovely little flowers to use for pins, bracelets, additions to clothing or any other creative ideas you can think of.
Please comment if I have left out any information or if you have any fun additions to this activity. Enjoy!