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When kids want non-waldorf toys, what do you do/say?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

How do you handle things when your kids really want toys that you just don't want in your home?  We have absolutely no one in our town (that we know of) that does waldorf so my kids are constantly exposed to toys we don't have that they thing are super fun whenever we go to people's homes.  Some of the things they are wanting are bioncles, a huge playmobile set, more lego (we have tons already), beyblades, etc.  My boys spend hours playing toys together and I know that any of these things would give them lots of fun but I desperately don't want to bring more toys into our home unless they are truly open ended.  I hate the clutter that all the toys bring and I want my kids to love waldorf toys!  We unfortunately don't have a lot of waldorf toys (too expensive) but we do have open ended toys (blocks, trains, playsilks, balls, farm animals, kitchen stuff, etc.).  My son was complaining to me that the problem with Christmas is that he never gets what we actually wants and I feel bad for not wanting to get him some of the things he wants.  He is obsessed with knights and wants some knight costume things  but apart from that, nothing he wants are things I want to get him.

post #2 of 11

I have to say, my experience with my kids and "Waldorf toys" has been that they really only work up to a certain age, and that age is probably around 6 or 7. My youngest, 5, still loves her playsilks and wooden vehicles. But I also think that as kids get older, they become ready for different toys. I actually think that most of the toys you listed are extremely open ended, but especially lego. I also think that a toy can be open ended enough and some limits can actually help play, the problem solving required can spark creativity,

 

I notice that the toys you list tend to be ones that I would see as encouraging a particular kind of play, storytelling and imagination, whereas the toys your kids want seem to be more engineering orientated. I have to say, Lego has been the best thing for my son, now 10. We still tend toward Waldorf in our choices but I also personally think its important to look at our children's needs. You say you'd like your kids to like Waldorf toys? Why? Do you feel it would be beneficial to them? 

post #3 of 11
I have trouble sometimes understanding how legos are not waldorf or open-ended, but trains and "kitchen stuff" are.

I've also observed that kids outgrow waldorf toys fairly young. Once they're 5 or 6, playsilks just don't hold their attention.

I totally understand the aversion to clutter, but you're planning to get the kids something for the holidays, right? So, really, it's a question of clutter they love and use or clutter they don't. I would try to make peace with some of the things they want. Maybe consider some storage solutions.
post #4 of 11

I agree w/ previous posters.

 

We have almost all open-ended toys, but many are more complex and also more child requested as my two are older.

 

I guess I see Lego, Playmobil, and 'action' toys can be great imagination tools and lead to hours of creative fun.

 

We dont purchase many 'commercial' based toys at all, but I am always open to anything that is geared toward exploration, creative play.

post #5 of 11
Be flexible without totally giving up your values. For example, with us, while we'd prefer all wooden toys we've loosened a bit to let some plastic in but battery operated toys are a firm no.
post #6 of 11

Playmobil and legos are wonderful for opened play and creative storytelling. I know that they are plastic but I don't think they are incompatible with Waldorf philosophy. Maybe just the dominant aesthetic. 

 

We don't allow licensed or annoying battery operated one hit wonders.

post #7 of 11
Maybe try some Montessori-type toys? They are similar to Waldorf. The website below may have some items that would please everyone.

http://www.forsmallhands.com/
post #8 of 11

We have a general rule of:

1. do they use their mind or imagination to play with it.
2. is it made from non-toxic pieces (for the most part)

if it blinks, talks, or entertains it generally doesn't come into our house. If its plastic, cheap and full of small pieces it doesn't come in our house.
 

My 5 yr old is in Waldorf and we have a healthy balance of toys in our house. He LOVES his hot wheel cars and will play with them for hours on end. He loves his perplexus ball maze and it will also entertain him for long periods of time. He will also have a great time with his wood cars and wood kitchen set....depends on his mood. We also have a large container of lego that the kids both play with and love. He also love, love, LOVES all his sporting equipment.

If its right for you - then its right:)

 

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post

I have trouble sometimes understanding how legos are not waldorf or open-ended, but trains and "kitchen stuff" are.

Such a good point. Kitchen ware don't seem that open ended at all. Although, my boys have propably never played "kitchen" (even thought their dad cooks) but the ware has been well used in science labs and other mixology play ;)  But anyways, I think legos are even more open ended!!

I understand your problem and I've been there too. It's also very natural for children to always WANT something they see other kids have, and you will always have to struggle with how often you let them have something. I used to have strong preference to waldorfy toys, but my kids liked everything else much more.

When I joined our waldorf community I was nervous to let people in my home and see how much crap toys we have, but actually I've been delighted to see that in most of the homes plastic barbie cars from grandmother and waldorf silks mingle happily.

I have come to the same basic rules as MBHenry. I make sure play comes from their own imagination by banning movies of the toys they own, and talking toys.

 

Just having open ended lego blocks is a good start, but there's a lot to learn from following the instructions too... sure there is no creativity involved, but concentration and engineering are great things to learn too. 

I think playmobile serves a different kind of play, my older hates them because  "the pieces only fit one way", but little brother uses them a lot alone for story telling kind of play.

 

I hate when they look at the catalogs for answers on what the characters are, and for more things to want. So toss the adds away if you don't want that. 

 

I come from such a liberal seventies family... kids running around being kids, no rules... we lived such beautiful kid friendly lives, not because our parents tried but because we had no money and there was nothing on tv... so it's hard for me to be so strict with my kids, I feel like they are going to have to go to therapy after all this, but I try to think positive, that they'll learn lessons of non-materialism, that you don't always get what you want. I believe so strongly that the commercial world is sabotaging kids' play and I have to protect them from it, I'm jealous that my mom and dad could give that life to us without thinking and bothering much. For me to recreate that is a lot of work and rules...

 

I would be curious to hear what people say to their kids. Everyone says, if it's say toxic or has batteries, it doesn't come to my house. But what DO you DO if a darling grandma comes in with a loud toxic smelling plastic thing and your kid is all into it? While i'm also trying to teach my kids to be thankful and appreciate things they own, I'm sending a whole different message by trowing it out as soon as grandma leaves.... My kids are older now, and friends and relatives know I'm a crazy lady already, so it's no longer a problem, but many are propably still there, trying to figure this out.

 

One more thing.. I also second Fillyjonk, that its also important to look at our childrens needs. To us, clutter has worked. out of the clutter comes insane mess of beautiful worlds of imagination, and sometimes before I loose it, sometimes after it, they have to clean. But before that, I enjoy hours and day's worth of concentrated play. So instead of obsessing what your idea of a good toy is, see what toys make your kids play creatively and concentrated.


Edited by tittipeitto - 1/31/14 at 11:36pm
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by tittipeitto View Post..

 

I would be curious to hear what people say to their kids. Everyone says, if it's say toxic or has batteries, it doesn't come to my house. But what DO you DO if a darling grandma comes in with a loud toxic smelling plastic thing and your kid is all into it? While i'm also trying to teach my kids to be thankful and appreciate things they own, I'm sending a whole different message by trowing it out as soon as grandma leaves.... My kids are older now, and friends and relatives know I'm a crazy lady already, so it's no longer a problem, but many are propably still there, trying to figure this out.

I've been aware of parents who have lost friends and had strained relationships with relatives forever because of these types of issues. One does wonder if it isn't better to graciously accept the gift and just make it off limits or only available once in a while. Next time the person asks what the child wants, try to guide the giver toward a more preferable toy or give them an exact link online, rather than making them feel bad about past gifts. 

 

Relationships are so much more important than getting the right toys!!

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by bright_eyes View Post
 

How do you handle things when your kids really want toys that you just don't want in your home?  We have absolutely no one in our town (that we know of) that does waldorf so my kids are constantly exposed to toys we don't have that they thing are super fun whenever we go to people's homes.  Some of the things they are wanting are bioncles, a huge playmobile set, more lego (we have tons already), beyblades, etc.  My boys spend hours playing toys together and I know that any of these things would give them lots of fun but I desperately don't want to bring more toys into our home unless they are truly open ended.  I hate the clutter that all the toys bring and I want my kids to love waldorf toys!  We unfortunately don't have a lot of waldorf toys (too expensive) but we do have open ended toys (blocks, trains, playsilks, balls, farm animals, kitchen stuff, etc.).  My son was complaining to me that the problem with Christmas is that he never gets what we actually wants and I feel bad for not wanting to get him some of the things he wants.  He is obsessed with knights and wants some knight costume things  but apart from that, nothing he wants are things I want to get him.

 

My son is 18 and he actually still feels sad that he never got quite the things he wanted even though he did have many of these types of things (we were constantly adapting things to try to make him happy but it was never quite the thing he wanted, either due to expense or because it was something we didn't agree with.) . We weren't Waldorf, we just tried to keep things noncommercial. As the kids got older, a more relaxed approach did fit for us because we saw that it was only kind of hurting his relationships and making him seem like the odd duck with his friends.. We knew he wasn't going to be in a social bubble and he was going to be playing with these things elsewhere.  It can be hard to take the 'long view' when you are a parent that wants the best for one's kids. I found the social costs to my wish to be 'purist' about it were too high, and so we relaxed our standards. (Though I never DID let my daughter get BRATZ dolls!! That was just going too far!)

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