Tuesday, January 25, 2011

'Anything can be anything'

I have been reading a little about play recently and came across this passage in Sharifa Oppenheimer's book Heaven on Earth:

'Children need play materials that are open-ended enough to meet new needs each day, to fill the demands of their imagination. A toy needs to be 'unformed' enough to be reasonably used as many things, in many circumstances.'

I think this is so true, I try to make sure that all toys that are in our house can be used in many ways, but really it is the children that do this job for me, preferring toys (and objects) that they can use in their own games, in their own way.

I think there is a lot to do with the senses here. I have not read anything about this but just from watching the kids I see that shape is important.
This is Benny's shower. He sees the shape of the water falling from from the faucet.
It is also to do with texture, a soft toilet paper bed for a stone baby.

Movement is also important, this box glides along the floor just like a sleigh and a scarf makes the perfect harness for this reindeer.

I love it, the kids open my eyes so much to layers of things hidden within an object. I just have to shake off my grown-up's simple way of looking at an object as it is and see it's colour, shape, smell, texture. See things for what they can be, their true potential and use (is there a lesson for life there?)
a dragon being cooked over a fire on a stove/ a doll in a pot on a cushion on a stool

space hero's about to blast off/ brother and sister in Joa's cot

a 'blaster' for monsters/ a piece of wood with scribble on it

apple juice and cookies/ old food colouring bottles and rubber car tyres

a hobo's bag with a little lost cat in it/ Mio in a blanket hooked up with a coat hanger (there is a lot of milage in a coat hanger and blanket)

This is the Queen of Ireland's treasure chest (look it's that b****y slipper again)

and her is the beautiful queen herself. Oh, how she brings light into my life. Thank you for teaching me so much Rebe x


  1. Beautiful post. The humble coathanger is a much under-rated play essential methinks. John came back from the wood yard with a huge box of off-cuts today - wonder what they will become. xxx

  2. wonderful post, Laura! I always love reading what your children are up to- they are so full of life and creativity!
    You are so right in all that you say here- children do not need toys that do everything for them- here in America people don't seem to get that- anything with lights and noises are so attractive. . . I remember telling someone my children did not need a toy cash register that makes noises because they make their own out of legos. That person was astounded and felt my poor children are deprived, since they're forced to make own out of legos! Now they have a simple wooden one, which they do not use as a cash register, but as a computer or anything BUT a cash register! HA!

  3. hi Jacqui, maybe we should start a campaign..'coathangers for christmas' lol?

    Melanie, love it! our we families share that active imagination. Before I came across waldorf etc rebe had a fair few of those closed battery operated toys, and never was she more bored, never did my house look so garish, and did my ears bleed from horrible metalic sounding bleeps and jingles! since our toy revolution and limiting screen time her play has just blossomed. x

  4. I love this- such creative souls. I also love seeing what my children will create from what we have around. Toys are underrated! They have not found the coathangers yet though, I'll have to leave some around to see what they turn into- I'll let you know!