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#1 of 12 Old 08-31-2005, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Since my daughter attends a Waldorf school we buy all- natural and waldorf toys. But on holidays and birthdays our grandmas and aunts and uncles get them barbies and bratz (ugh!) and legos and such. We end up either returning them or giving them to charity, but I feel bad when the families who gave it to them comes over and the toys they bought them aren't there. Does anyone else have this problem?
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#2 of 12 Old 08-31-2005, 02:07 PM
 
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...my son attended a Waldorf school for three years (we homeschool now) and I think the Waldorf "ideal lifestyle" can be very hard to combine with real life unless you live in an intentional Waldorf community like the one in Spring Valley, NY.

Although it is nice for us to have all-natural toys for our children and we like them to have unstructured, open-ended playthings, I think it sends the wrong message to our children when we discard or give away a toy that was given to them with love. I read an article somewhere written by a Waldorf teacher about the exact same issue ("inappropriate" toys given to children by family members - in this case it was a hard plastic doll with very formed features) and it was her opinion also, that it is more important to honor the recipient and their loving intention than to maintain a "pure" Waldorf toy environment and trivializing their gift.

I think that if you model a lifestyle that is Earth-friendly (recycle, re-use, consume less, make your own) and talk about your values, children will often return again and again to those unstructured Waldorf-type toys because of their intrinsic play value, while most of the plastic single-use toys will gather dust.

That said, I held out for a long time before I got Legos for my son (I was waiting for them to be made out of soybean or hemp oil :LOL ) but in the end I caved after reading an article about the company's values and work ethic - and boy, I am so glad I did. It is, in my opinion, one of the very best toys for children to encourage creativity and reasoning, spatial / mathematical ability.

I wanted to add that if family members ask what they should give for Christmas or birthdays you can always suggest a website or two, mail-order catalogs or enthusiastically tell them about a collection your child has or something she enjoys playing with a lot. Another idea (in case they don't ask) is to politely suggest that they give consumable toys or those that take up less space b/c you may already "have so much of everything with three children" (art supplies, books, zoo memberships, or even a gift of their time to take your child to a favorite place or teach her a life skill - crocheting, weaving, etc.)

Warmly,
Michelle in NY
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#3 of 12 Old 08-31-2005, 08:30 PM
 
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Excellent post, Michelle!

Quote:
Although it is nice for us to have all-natural toys for our children and we like them to have unstructured, open-ended playthings, I think it sends the wrong message to our children when we discard or give away a toy that was given to them with love.

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#4 of 12 Old 08-31-2005, 09:09 PM
 
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Very educational thread, thanks. It's got me thinking...
My ds will be three in Nov. I would love to send out a list like mentioned. I've always left that the expressions of love is way more important for my child but it always bugs me when my fam buys him stupid books or toys (you know the overly bright cartoony name brand ones). But I can't really articulate why. Im not educated in the Waldorf philosophy. Could you send me a good website?

Last year asked my mom to buy him wooden blocks or a nice wooden instrument set, but instead she bought him a lego tractor, which he adores. Besides this, he loves to play with homemade play dough, legos or just pretending with whatever is around (his favorite toy for awhile was a child proof cabinet lock) :LOL
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#5 of 12 Old 08-31-2005, 09:38 PM
 
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http://www.awsna.org/awsna-faq.html

and how it relates to early childhood education, specifically:

http://www.waldorfearlychildhood.com/articles.asp?id=3

Warmly,
Michelle in NY
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#6 of 12 Old 09-01-2005, 07:40 PM
 
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Thank you! I will definately do my homework.
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#7 of 12 Old 09-02-2005, 12:24 AM
 
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Yes, we have the same problem and I OWN a Waldorf toy store! You'd think grandparents would buy stuff from me when I sell it and make my living doing it, wouldn't ya?? :LOL

The girls always say "thank you" and they get to play with it while we are there, but sometimes when the toy comes home, I take it out of the play space, particularly if it isn't being played with anymore. (I do this with other natural toys too....just try to keep things interesting and rotate toys a bit). So far, the girls have only missed one thing...this little BooBaa (sp?) toy they got for Christmas. They ask about it occasionally. Sometimes we talk about it hiding and other times they say he went on vacation.

The OP definitely has a point about a toy given with love being important and I totally get that. Something to think about for sure. In our situation, sometimes I feel like the family member is giving the toy just to spite me though. Like they know what kinds of things the children have and the type of toys we'd like (like I said, I sell them, so they know where to get them!), but they do it just to prove a point that it's not going to ruin my kids, YKWIM?

Dana, mom to Avery & Natalie 7 , Cole 4 , and Baby #4 on the way!
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#8 of 12 Old 09-03-2005, 10:53 PM
 
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YES we have this problem too. ...I love the intelligence that natural toys have and for some reason they seem to find approperate places in my dds room and grow more beautiful as she uses them.

compaired with JUNK that I end up resenting because it has no real place and are very limited, that just = cleaning up over and over...things that seem to get uglier and uglier...
...Its funny because I'm battling inside myself often about this...do I let go of the control I thought I had? am I being too "snobby" or am I letting my dd down by not standing up for what I believe in...? Its not just natural toys. Or the Waldorf thing (i'm a waldorf graduate) its just values I think.

I value natural fibers...and cant stand polyester etc...Most people around here dont know the difference its just normal. we recieve what I think are hiddeous gifts, but the intention from these people is so well meaning! I hate pretending I love something I cant stand to people I do care about...but I cant stand saying I dont like their gift eitherbecause they got what they really liked...so i guess ill hang out here incase anyone's got some insight.

I do see why people gravitate toward community living where a lot of common values are shared...it would make things simple...gift = genuine excitement etc...

Michelle said it wonderfully! It is so hard though...
But like Dana said..i feel quite purposly insulted when its
a family member who you have told over and over not to waste their money on that stuff because you will just sell it on ebay...light-heartedly and then a little more seriously...and they still dont care.
That is really starting to make me mad...completly inapproperate TV programs etc...ill say to grandma..."please, no tv while dds at your house"...she comes back beaming (grandma, that is) saying... " we didnt watch any tv... only Videos" (!!) and poor dd is up all night trying to process these in-approperate vidios and crying because it was sad or someone died and she doesnt understand "why the truck crashed!!! and the man died and turned into a dog?"
so, im lurking here for some wisdom if thats ok.
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#9 of 12 Old 09-03-2005, 11:10 PM
 
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my own granfmother ask me for a wish list for ideas for the whole family a few months before christmas. and usally ask what to get for birthdays or holidays. the list she has done since i was a child she would just rather buy something wanted then a duplicate or something of no interest. my whole extented family will refer to it. i was even thinking of adding a wish list page to thw website i'm working out. as there are always certain wishful things and i like to do a lot of trading and others could see what i'm after at the moment.
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#10 of 12 Old 09-04-2005, 12:35 PM
 
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merrijayne...rub it in :LOL I have done a list or website/mailorder catalog refurels...but the main idea is always missed...
For example: Plain wooden blocks somehow equals primary colored one dimentional circus which is useless for any other play. "but its wood?"
or: handmade cloth doll with simple handmade clothes somehow is the same thing as "didnt I do good?...this (stiff plastic with hard inner parts?) one can pee and crawl and can even go in the bath..."

so what can you do when family completly ignores your values... for me its serious when its about junk food etc... is it too much to ask... no fast food for one day at grandmas..."well we only had mc'donalds and taco bell...which I thought were the healthier choices, and she didnt have diet coke till after breakfast"

sorry, ill be quite now, and stop hyjcking this thread...
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#11 of 12 Old 09-06-2005, 05:44 AM
 
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When receiving pre-wrapped gifts from the grandparents (purchased from WalMart) I used to feel sneaky opening them to inspect the innards. Finally, after many careful attempts of not tearing the paper, I said, "Screw this! I'm the mom! I'm the mom!" and started ripping off the paper. I am not going to feel ashamed or spoiled for putting my foot down. I am protecting my children's innocence. My boys will not be corrupted by some toy corporation whose only goal is to dump merchandise down every kids' throats! These toy manufacturers don't have the welfare of children in mind when they are marketing their products. I'm not going to blindly accept stuff just because it is possibly harmless.

I've sent catalogs to both sets of grandparents. I've sent wishlists and lists of things that we would not accept. All have been ignored. It's tough. We do things so differently than they did with us. That's bound to ruffle feathers. They don't have the desire to learn about Waldorf. I end up sounding like a Lorax in every breath around them. Just like kiwimutti pointed out, these people don't notice the difference between polyester and natural fibers, Jiff and all-natural peanut butter, commercialism and simple gifts.

So, I'm upfront with the visiting relatives. If they ask where something is, I'll tell them the truth. They haven't asked yet

I think gratitude can be learned through many, many other experiences.
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#12 of 12 Old 09-06-2005, 09:35 AM
 
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We don't Waldorf but I have always preferred natural toys to the plastic stuff. For my family I always have them pay for one session of swimming lessons or karate or some extra-curricular activity. If they really feel the need for my kids to open something then I have them buy clothes or I tell them it can not cost more than $10. My in-laws are a whole different mind set. They have the whole "I'm the grandparent and I can spoil them however I see fit" mentality. My FIL usually gets a gift card to Toys R Us. I can usually find something there or I use it to buy birthday presents for another child. My MIL-well. I will give her a wish list, tell her which website to go to, what catalog to look in-and in the end if she can't find it at Toys R Us she will pick out something "similar". The present usually disappears shortly after the holiday or birthday is over-if it hasn't broken first.

It used to make me angry. Now I just accept that they will not change. It is not worth the aggravation to me to make an issue out of it. My kids have fun playing with their cousins with their new toys. They take up space for a little while and then are gone.

Kathy-Mom to Blake & Mikaela
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