Imagine being put in a room full of kids and brightly coloured plastic toys that beep, buzz, talk, and flash. It’d be loud, it’d be annoying and it’d get boring really quickly because the toys are the ones doing all the playing.
It’s different with Grimm’s Toys. Imagine yourself in a room with the same kids and just a few gorgeous, high quality wooden toys, wooden blocks, some pieces of silk, a play kitchen and tea set. There’s little noise, just the soft hum of movement, some happy chatting and the look of imaginations running wild. Rivers are made with the silk, tea is being served in the kitchen and a city is starting to form with the wooden blocks.
These two scenarios describe the difference between modern day popular toys and that of Montessori toys and Waldorf toys.
Montessori Toys: The Philosophy
The Montessori Philosophy is a simple approach to play; the use of natural materials that allow children to learn on their own through exploration and open-ended play.
There’s no plastic, no buzzing or beeping, just well-chosen wooden toys that don’t overload the senses but encourage imagination. Unlike the overwhelming feeling when a space is overtaken with loads of toys, Montessori is about creating a clear and calming environment with just a few beautiful toys to play with.
Waldorf Toys: The Philosophy
The Waldorf Philosophy, the brainchild of Rudolf Steiner, focuses on toys that nourish the child’s senses. Steiner Toys (also called Waldorf toys) are calming and soothing versus the hard, rigid and noisy modern toys of today. Waldorf toys are made with natural materials like wood, silk, wool and cotton.
Nourishing a child’s senses begins with exploring touch and how things feel. Just imagine the difference between a child hugging a rigid plastic doll compared to hugging a gorgeously soft doll made from cotton and wool.
How things look is important, too. The Waldorf philosophy believes that playthings should be beautiful because it contributes to a sense of wellbeing or ‘sense of life.’ It’s about developing children’s aesthetic awareness and appreciation.
Waldorf toys inspire imagination. Wooden blocks, pieces of silk or even shells can become anything in the mind of a child at play. Blocks can become food or buildings, silk can become a river or a wrap for a baby, shells can become money, and child-sized kitchens, pots and pans or tea sets can help children develop their all-important role-play.
Embrace the philosophies with Grimm’s Toys and more
Brands stocked at Hip Kids including Hape and Grimm’s Toys Australia certainly embrace both philosophies. Here are some wonderful examples in our range.
Grimm’s Rainbow Element Stacker – Embodying the Waldorf philosophy, this Rainbow Stacker has unlimited opportunities for a child’s imagination. The Rainbow can be turned into a whole myriad of things – a tunnel, a house, a maze, a marble run and more. A beautiful wooden piece, it also makes a perfect addition to a Montessori-inspired space.
Ever Earth Building Block Set – Both philosophies utilise building blocks. These wooden blocks are so simple yet inspire endless ways to play.
Bloomingville White Plush Bunny – Soft and cuddly, this bunny belongs in a Waldorf-inspired space where sense of touch is important.
Hape Little Copter – A perfect wooden toy for a Montessori-inspired space, there are no sounds or flashing lights, this little helicopter’s journey is all up to the child. Where to today, little one?