When little messyfish insisted repeatedly for over a year he draw with permanent black markers, And refused to use his stockmar beeswax block crayons, i knew something had to give. So for some time now he has had millions of different markers, and the compromise is that they are stored in a lovely thrifted wooden caddy.
Natural fibres and wool is fantastic, but polar fleece pants are cheap and warm and dry very quickly. Perfect for toilet learning, our climate and our budget. So again... Something had to go.
I visit lovely Steiner waldorf blogs and I wish it was all about watercolours, warm soups and nature tables here.... But well, I have a highly sensitive and strong willed child. By Highly sensitive, I mean has amazing colour perception, specific sound preferences, highly intune with scents, light and temperature changes, has very particular clothing ideas, etc... Not highly sensitive as in "cries all the time if you look at him in a funny way". No, that kind of sensitive is usually easily cured by removing small child from over stimulating environment (such as a shopping mall), dressing them warmly (so they can get back in there body), and feeding them some correctly prepared wholefoods, (see Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions).
Anyway, back to the the child with amazing senses. Who... Has a strong will. And lots of black textas, that now has progressed into the world of black ink and an art area covered with splash cloths. I have been slowly letting go of many things as circumstances change.
One is the plastic toys.
We went to the op shop.
We came home with heaps.
Big bags full for pennies!
Kids Meccano (complete set looks brand new, to make cars! What a bargain at $3).
So whilst they are not at all waldorfy, they still are open ended, involve creativity, learning and are even a little Montessori...ish.
Strangly or not, they frustrate little messyfish, who has not grown up on a diet of plastic. He has great fine motor skils with tiny little objects, but fitting big plastic pieces together shits him. He has hurled them across the room, messed them all up, had some big tantrums, and tried to break them.
He has never done this with his lovely wooden and other natural material toys.
I don't think plastic toys rob kids of creativity though. Today he filled up his plastic house with about 10 mandarins he peeled and segmented, and called it a mandarin house. He would wave a flag (that he made with found objects) and sing a song he created, to indicate that we could go get a piece of mandarin from the mandarin house. This went on for a while...(10 mandarins worth).
Oh, and then of course there is the plastic "gun". Spray bottles filled with food colour. What kid doesn't like to shoot things? I've just made it all arty and "nice" with lively colours for them.