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Waldorf Or Waldorf Anthroposophical Toys: What Is It?

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Besides being just natural toys, what actually makes a toy a "Waldorf toy"?

As families have become more environmentally conscious in recent years, toy makers are producing far more environmentally friendly and natural toys to meet increasing demand.

But Waldorf schools, created in the XNUMXs, have always provided children with toys made from natural materials, such as wood, silk, wool and cotton.

Waldorf was developed by Rudolf Steiner and is also called anthroposophical education.

Why is Steiner's school called Waldorf?

Rudolf Steiner opened his first school in 1919 for the children of the Waldorf-Astoria company in Stuttgart. That is why his schools became known as Waldorf schools from then on.

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What exactly is the difference between Waldorf, Waldorf, and Montessori?

Waldorf is what we often call free school, so they are the same, but while Waldorf and Montessori both emphasize the importance of connecting with the environment, Montessori looks for real-world experiences where Waldorf puts the child's creativity and imagination first. .

Both movements therefore look at as many natural toys as possible, ie made of wood, but rubber and such materials could also be used.

Waldorf also often looks at toys that do not really represent anything by themselves, so that your child can give a meaning to.

Choosing wooden toys is already a good step towards more sustainable and responsible toys, and Waldorf toys are also a step towards toys that are closer to nature, with unfinished wood and sustainable materials.

De stacking blocks from Grimm's in Europe and the Branch Blocks from Guidecraft in America with the bark still on, I think the clearest example of this.

They are anthroposophic toys in which the child can decide for himself what to represent. This stimulates creativity.

Grimms wooden blocks with bark

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Guidekraft waldorf branch blocks

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These irregularly shaped pieces can be played on their own by building, sorting, counting and making shapes.

They are also an excellent source of loose building pieces that your child can use in any imaginary world they want to think of, such as on top of the images along with the rainbow blocks that Grimm's is perhaps best known for.

Make anything with blocks with bark

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Each block is unique in its shape and sizes and shapes can vary from set to set. The blocks are sanded individually by hand and are therefore free of sharp corners and edges.

Both brands have left the bark on, so they are a more natural kind of toy. That's called Waldorf that way, so play as naturally as possible.

They are all a bit of a different shape, so just a little bit slanted and so you can start building really nice things, so the intention of children is to put as much their own creativity into it.

And because it is nothing in itself, you can really do anything with it. Do you see how stimulating the child's imagination and creativity comes into play here?

I even found Grimm's anthroposophical blocks a bit bigger than I expected from the picture and Grimm's is known for fun wooden toys. These are sturdy and of quality and they come in a net.

Wooden building blocks with bark for endless fantasy play

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Definitely nice, something different from normal wooden stacking blocks and we can build a nice arch for the cars to drive under, or have a few cute animals use them as rocks.

So an important feature of a "Waldorf toy" is that it is nourishing to the senses of a young child.

Imagine the sensory experience of a toddler hugging a cold hard plastic doll with synthetic hair and then hugging a Waldorf doll stuffed with wool, covered in cotton with a cup of soft mohair.

Not only is the Waldorf doll more aesthetic, but its softness and warmth will have a calming and soothing effect on a young child.

This is also how it works with Waldorf wooden toys.

What makes something Waldorf a toy?

Beautiful to see

Waldorf toys also need to be beautiful to look at, because sight is just as important as touch. We want to educate children in a beautiful environment and their toys must also be beautiful.

By surrounding children with beauty, we not only contribute to their sense of well-being, but also develop their aesthetic awareness and appreciation.

Toys made from natural materials, with rich, natural colors and lovingly handcrafted, are inviting and contribute to a child's 'sense of life'.

A child is much more likely to feel reverence for a beautifully handmade toy and take good care of it than for a mass-produced plastic toy.

As Plato so eloquently acknowledged:

"The most effective type of education is for a child to play among beautiful things."

Inspire the imagination

Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf Education, suggested that children's toys should be largely undeformed to stimulate a child's imagination.

What does this mean?

Waldorf toys are often simple, without much detail. Waldorf teachers believe that toys should be simple and open.

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Baskets of tree branches, play floss, stones, pinecones and shells can all be transformed into a variety of objects.

On a typical morning in a Waldorf kindergarten, you'd likely see shells turn into money; wooden blocks become food; a small piece of tree branch becomes a telephone; silk becomes skirts and veils; and so on.

By giving children objects that are not very shaped and detailed, they can easily become more than one thing and let children's imaginations run wild.

If you are familiar with a Waldorf doll, you have no doubt noticed that such dolls have minimal facial features and sometimes no faces at all!

Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.