Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Simple solution.

About a week ago I posted a blog about my daughters' playroom. More specifically what it was about it that was causing them to avoid it like the plague. I took it down not long after posting it 'cause I started to suspect what the problem might be. Some google-fu soon confirmed my suspicions.

My kids had way too many toys. In my attempts to keep them occupied at all times, I had overstimulated their senses and created a room that was too much for them. They couldn't play in there because they were too busy tearing the place apart. So, this past weekend I did what is absolutely the most counterintuitive thing for a mom who is desperate to have her kids happy and entertained. I cleaned out the playroom and I got rid of toys. I got rid of bags and bags of toys. I eliminated whole bookshelves of toys and activities. I left them with simply dolls and a doll bed, dress up clothes, a kitchen and food, and a dollhouse. That is all. And I added a new element. Play silks.

I read alot about Waldorf education and the theory that children need to use their imaginations more and rely on "entertaining" toys less. It made total sense. So, for Easter the girls got play silks. They're basically just 34" x"36" satin fabrics in various colors. So far they've become dresses for the girls. Blankets for the babies. The blue one has become a swimming pool. They have been super hero capes. They have been table cloths. They have built tents. They have been anything the girls can imagine.

I love to go in the room and see them sitting beside a blue piece of satin on the ground with sunglasses on and their baby dolls beside them with them telling me they are at the pool with the kids. I love seeing them put the babies on the fabric and teach them how to swim. I love seeing them absorbed in a make-believe world for hours. It is teaching them to use their imagination and see things that could be instead of things that are. I think that is what we all need to do from time to time.

Since the transformation of our playroom the girls have played in their room nonstop. Where before I couldn't even get them to go in there, now they ask me nicely to go read in another room so they can play alone in there. I feel transformed. And I am excited to continue to apply the theories of Waldorf education in our home and see the difference it makes to my girls.

It occurs to me, too, that perhaps I should apply this same theory to my own life. Simplicity is never a bad thing, is it? Maybe I should go through and throw out some of my own toys.

1 comment:

Uncle Jared said...

I totally Agree with you about the simple things! Maybe thats how my parents felt... o wait we just didnt have money to buy stuff haha. but I grew up with very few action figures. I never got the G.I. Joe fortress I always wanted.. Instead I would go out and build one out of sticks and dirt. I would take apart old radios and put them back together. and build countless things with my erector set that I had for many years. as I look back I dont regret not having every toy I wanted and saw, because I think its helped me with real life situations because I know I can just do whatever I need to, and not rely on being told what to do... if any of that makes sinse.