Posts tagged: Waldorf

The Tales of Tiptoes Lightly (Reg Down)

By , January 29, 2008 1:25 pm

My 7 year-old daughter is a picky reader. She is reluctant to read any book that looks like it might be scary, suspenseful, or have any kind of a plot twist at all. I am assuming that this high level of sensitivity is just a phase. But in the meantime, it can make chapter book choices somewhat limited.

While searching for books for her Christmas book gift bag, I stumbled upon this. A story about a fairy with the lovely name of Tiptoes Lightly, how threatening could that possibly be?

My instincts were correct and this book proved to be a sheer delight to read…for all of us! My daughter opened it and then couldn’t put it down. She began reading it to her 5 year-old brother who was equally as riveted, and the two of them began requesting that I read it to them at bedtime too. I came to really look forward to our evening reads and the latest Tiptoes adventure. In fact I was sad when we finished, and really find that I miss Tiptoes! (Time to buy the other books in the series!)

The Tales of Tiptoes Lightly is actually a collection of three stories about Tiptoes and her friends: The Bee Who Lost his Buzz, Pumpkin Crow, and Lucy Goose and the Half-Egg. Each tale is composed of many short chapters (most just two or three pages) which makes it nice for bedtime, even on nights where you are running late, or to read to young children with limited attention spans.

The stories are all very sweet and innocent, yet really funny too! The magic and wonder of nature and the seasons is a constant theme throughout the book. The characters are all very lovable and appealing, with names like Jeremy Mouse (an always-hungry mouse), Pine Cone and Pepper Pot (gnomes who sleep with their long beards wrapped around their heads for warmth), Pins and Needles (house fairies who sleep in a pin cushion), and Ompliant (an elephant).

I honestly have nothing but wonderful things to say about this book. These are stories that your children will want to hear over and over again. The adventures of Tiptoes will spark the imagination of your little ones, and you too!

An interesting note: As we read, I felt that these tales had a real “Waldorfy” feel about them. I was very interested to read in the author’s note at the end of the book (reprinted on his website here), that Tiptoes was indeed “born” at a Waldorf school. Reg Down was a eurythmy teacher in several Waldorf schools, which is where he began inventing the tales of Tiptoes and her friends.

I am so happy that Mr. Down decided to publish these magical stories so that we may all enjoy them. If you want to sample some of Reg Down’s work, visit his website: http://www.tiptoes-lightly.net where you can download some sample chapters from his books. Also be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the stories page where you’ll find quite a few other stories and plays to download (all free too!).

(Also: You can visit Mr. Down’s website for a list of local stores that carry his books, as well as some smaller online bookstores.)

Fairy Music

By , January 9, 2008 10:43 pm

This is just a quick post this evening.

The last few days have been filled with hair cut appointments for all, girl scout duties, organizing some work to be done on the house, and somewhere in all this business, I would like to find the time to experiment with a new and hopefully faster blog. It has simply been one of those non-stop running around kind of weeks, which accounts for my less than daily blog posts.

I have an interesting TV-related post to write, but that one requires more time than I have right now. Sorry! I’ll try to get to it soon. In the meantime, I’ll write about this wonderful CD!

Whenever I happen upon really nice children’s music I am so excited because much of it is quite annoying and unpleasant for adults to listen to. At least I find it so. Fairy Moon – Songs of the Ring is a CD that I bought quite a while ago and recently rediscovered.

All the songs are beautifully sung by Maria Sangiolo and the instruments are varied and interesting. Some songs are traditional, some are not, but most are about fairies or nature. A few are about love or friendship. The lyrics of one song, A Fairy Went-A-Marketing, are from the text of a charming book that we have of the same name (by Rose Fyleman). If you are interested, you can read my review of this lovely book here.

Most importantly though, I enjoy this CD as much as my children do, and that (for me at least) is a very rare find indeed.

Fairy Moon will definitely appeal to any Waldorf families out there. In fact Maria says in the CD insert that:

Fairy Moon was born out of my own daughter’s Waldorf pre-school experience and our mutual love and appreciation for the outdoors, especially our flower garden.

We began building houses for the fairies in an old pine grove she named “fairyland” when she was four. In the winter, a window sill decorated with pinecones, bark, moss and handmade dolls and animals became her indoor fairyland.”

This 2004 CD has won several well-deserved awards: Parents’ Choice Award November 2004, National Parenting Publications Award (NAPPA) Ages 4 and Up Gold Award 2005, and Children’s Music Web Award, 2005.

Maria has a new CD about the ocean called Under the Mystic Sea. This one was only released last July, yet it has also won quite a few awards: Parents’ Choice Recommended 2007, Children’s Music Web Award 2007, Best Recording for Young Children, NAPPA Honors Award 2007.

We’ll be buying that one next!

Read more at Maria Sangiolo’s website.

Gerda Muller Books

By , December 14, 2007 12:54 pm

I just bought the whole set of these for my almost two-year old. They were so lovely that I couldn’t wait for Christmas to bring them out!

These books are refreshingly simple. There are four in the series, one for each season. There are no words, only lovely drawings of children engaged in fun activities appropriate to the season of the book.

There is lots to see and talk about, from picking out objects and colors, to discussing seasons, weather, clothing, nature, activities and play! My daughter loves these and will sit and pore of the pages with great interest.

Another thing I really like about these books is the fact that they are sturdy board books. This is good for us, since I think ours will get a lot of love and use!

Thank you to Greenemother of The Owl and the PussyCat, where I first learned of the series. I urge you to read her thoughts on these lovely books. I am grateful for your recommendation!

Toy Shopping and the "Need to Have"

By , October 29, 2007 9:54 pm

One of the things that bothers me about shopping for toys is that “need to have” feeling. It seems that there are two ends of the “need to have” spectrum.

One end is the commercial, media and advertising-driven branding that occurs, where children “need to have” the latest Tickle Me Elmo, or Bratz doll. As an unplugged household, my children are not subjected to the same barrage of ads so this is not such a problem. They do pick up some information on the playground at school (even at their small Montessori school). They know who Sponge Bob and the Disney Princesses are, but they really don’t know much about all the character toys out there.

Even if we venture to the toy aisle of Walmart or Kmart (unfortunately our only two local “toy store” options), they are interested in looking, and sometimes express interest, but don’t “need to have” those popular toys. They love inspecting toy catalogs that come in the mail and often see something in there that they “need,” especially my son (age 5) and especially if it involves a weapon (I feel another post coming on about that subject!). But they are blissfully unaware of what is truly popular.

The other end of the spectrum of “toy need” is that of the “natural” toys, Waldorf-inspired toys, or Montessori-inspired toys. I believe that this “need” is driven more by parents than children. Many parents, myself included, want to supply their child with good quality, non-toxic (hopefully), long-lasting, educational toys. We “unplugged parents” don’t believe in the huge wave of new electronic toys marketed as being educational. We believe in simple, classic toys without noises or flashing lights. Toys such as blocks, playsilks, simple wooden vehicles or dolls for example, are what we choose to buy for our children.

As a member of this second group, I love all those “Unplugged Toy Stores” that I link to in my left sidebar. The truth is however, that these toys are expensive for what they are, and the toys are often imported from Europe (which of course leaves a larger carbon footprint). Amanda of The Rowdy Pea recently wrote a wonderful post with some suggestions for making many of these toys yourself.

- Fun! (“Unplugged Project” anyone?)
- Inexpensive, or even free in some cases.
- And quality you can trust because you made it yourself!

I guess I’ll still seek out those websites, and buy those toys, but if I can make it easily myself, then I should really try to do that and feel a lot better about the whole “unplugged toy” shopping process! Thanks Amanda!

A few interesting toymaking links:

MotheringDotCommune-Toys and Dolls Page (discussion forum of Mothering.com) – interesting posts and suggestions for making your own Waldorf dolls and toys.

PlaystandPlans.com
– plans for making your own playstands – $17.99 (but honestly, as Amanda points out, playstands seem pretty simple and a semi-decent handy-person should probably be able to figure it out.

(*Great blog!*) Echoes of a DreamBasic instructions for making a Waldorf doll, her hanging fairies are lovely too!

Waldorf Doll photo from Wikimedia Commons, photographer Sebastian Sprenger, click here for full license information.

Thank You Amanda!

By , October 21, 2007 10:31 am

Amanda from The Rowdy Pea drew my name out of a hat as the lucky recipient of her “crafty giveaway.” I was quite surprised, since I never win anything. But sure enough, Amanda’s package arrived a few days ago much to the excitement of us all!

I wish I had taken photos of how everything was wrapped, because even the wrapping was lovely, but I didn’t get to my camera in time. The children and I joyfully opened the package to find:

- A lovely handmade baby smock (here it is on the baby). Can you see the adorable pattern on the fabric? Kind of a retro kitten print:

- Some clever handmade note cards with sweet illustrations and the cutest little doll I have ever seen (the children have named her Loreena for some reason):

- There was also a very handy Burt’s Bees Lip Balm that my 7 year-old daughter was excited to appropriate.

Amanda’s handiwork is just gorgeous and I am deeply impressed. Not being a “crafty” kind of person, I simply can’t imagine the painstaking work involved in crafting little Loreena for example.

Amanda has just opened an Etsy shop called Dream Child Studio where you can buy your own Loreena and friends, as well as gnomes and adorable wool felt dress-up crowns. Her shop seems to have really taken off as I notice that she has sold most of her inventory already. Please keep checking it though, since I am sure she will be restocking it as soon as she can make some more treasures.

One last thought: Amanda’s acorn-capped dolls and gnomes would make perfect stocking stuffers and they are lovingly handcrafted in Minnesota by Amanda (no toxic ingredients!).

Thank you so much Amanda, for sending us your sweet gifts and brightening our day!

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