Every holiday season, I see posts on all the Waldorf Facebook groups stressing about non-Waldorf family members and gifts. The aunts and uncles are eager to spoil our little hippie kids and we dread anything with a battery or a speaker coming into our homes. We all know the best toys are open-ended items from nature, but you can’t exactly ask Grandma and Grandpa to send the kids rocks and acorns. I’ve put together this list of gift ideas to help avoid the LeapPad apocalypse. Some of these are favorites in my own home, and some are suggestions from community members. Originally, I planned on putting these into age groups, but many of these toys resist categorization. Instead, I’ve tried to place them in a loose continuum. Enjoy!
Our gnome has survived the constant gnawing of two babies now. Both my kids love him, and I love that the thing they are chewing on is organic cotton. [$4]
Perhaps the original Waldorf toy! Although I have fun painting faces on some of my pegs, I also make sure to keep a few plain ones around. Much like the classic neutral expression of a Waldorf doll, plain pegs encourage kids to explore a range of emotions and play scenarios. [varies]
You can’t have a Waldorf gift guide without something wool, right? These beautiful, natural teethers are great for that phase when baby keeps hitting himself in the face with his toys. [$10]
Once baby is over the hitting-himself-in-the-face-with-his-toys phase, this teether is a great option. Its beautiful wood surface and moving ball provide lots for baby to explore. [$17.95]
Aren’t these adorable? Kids will love to cuddle with (and chew on) these babies. Bonus, there’s a tag. If your baby is like mine, tag chewing takes up about 90% of his waking hurs. [$16.54]
There’s a lot of Holztiger in our house. Ben has played with them since he was very little, and they stand up to abuse. I also like using them in our seasonal displays. [most are $12-$20]
The wagon doesn’t come cheap, but it’s a quality piece. I especially like that I can adjust the front wheels so they roll more slowly. Also, it has never tipped as my new walkers pulled themselves up. And of course I am thrilled that it has never scuffed my walls. [170.99]
I think people worry about wood and water, but these have held up great. I just leave them on the counter to dry. During bath time, we have fun pretending our peg people are whale watching. [$22]
This one has become pretty popular in the Waldorf Facebook groups, and many of my friends are big fans. They are fun for imaginative play for children as young as three. I think Ben will be getting a set for Christmas, in fact! [$20]
The Moover is probably Ben’s favorite toy. He’s been able to use it as a ride-on since he was eighteen months, and now it factors heavily in his imaginative play. We don’t have a single non-blurry picture of him on this toy! [$104.99]
Andrea Hill has beautiful sets especially for children. Ben feels so proud of his little cup, bowl, and plate. I can’t wait for Peter to be old enough for his own. As a bonus, they are all dishwasher- and microwave-safe. [$28]
We use crummy paper in our house, and all our paintings pill (That’s right–my paintings look bad because of the paper! It’s the paper!). Heavy paper would be greatly appreciated. [$12.95]
It’s so hard to keep up with seasonal clothes. Those darn kids keep growing! Ask Grandma and Grandpa for a Muddy Buddy or an Oakiwear snow suit. Add wool base layers from Little Spruce Organics and you’re all set. [varies–keep your eye out for sales.]
I have our seasonal and holiday books organized in canvas bags. I get so excited when changes in the weather or a new celebration mean it’s time to switch out our books. Happy Hedgehog Post always has wonderful choices for your home library. [varies]
These Amish-made trucks are beautiful and affordable. I think it’s so neat to buy toys I know will become heirlooms. These are also good sibling gifts, since there are a few different trucks to choose from. [$34.99]
I really like the Wishbone. It starts as a trike and then has two bike heights to grow with your child. Ben got his for Christmas when he was 18 months, and was able to scoot around in trike mode right away. At two, he got really good at lifting his feet and “zooming.” He’s ready to move on to two wheels, but sadly, we are expecting our first snow tonight, so we’ll have to wait. If you live somewhere that isn’t an arctic tundra five months of the year, your kiddos should get three solid years out of their Wishbone bikes. [$229]
We have a million playsilks, but I prefer to use silks from Kitchen Dyeworks for our nature table and story scenes. My favorite is our dirt playsilk. Its variegated color makes a realistic home for our root children. Prices are reasonable and shipping is very fast! The owner, Renee, is very easy to work with. [$9-$68]
If you have silks, play clips are a great companion toy. There’s nothing more conducive to imaginative play than a fort, right? As an added bonus, my kid likes to pretend that his are ducks. Imagination at work, people! [$15.95/pair]
The rainbow stacker is the gateway Waldorf toy! The neat thing about it, though, is that it is so open-ended. Ben stacks the pieces in cool sculptures, makes houses for his peg people, and turns them on their sides to make tracks for his cars. I also frequently steal them for my nature table scenes (cover them in a playsilk and they make great hills)! [$82.50]
Of course, the greatest gift for a child is a predictable home. Start with Hearth Magic’s downloadable and printable cards, and add Toadstool Forest’s weather gnomes. We begin each day by going over our plans and checking the weather. [$10; $26]
Isn’t this kit cool? Not only is it beautifully packaged, but it’s a great gift for older children in that difficult post-toys age bracket. I kind of covet it myself, to be honest. [$22]
Waldorf schools are great about fostering independence in their students, and you can continue to support this growth at home with real, kid-sized tools. [$55.95]
Research shows that children should take risks in their play, and that such risks foster “creativity, social skills, and resilience.” Stilts help with balance and strength, and they are just fun! Waldorf Moms has a wonderful tutorial. Nothing says love like handmade!
Whether it’s for knitting or needle felting, craft lessons are great gifts. They are especially helpful if you want your kids to learn how to knit or sew but aren’t so skilled yourself [looks in mirror]. Many yarn shops offer classes, and if you have a local Waldorf school, that might be a good resource for putting you in touch with someone who can teach other handwork skills.
This is obviously the best idea on this list! There are so many benefits to the HHP envelope. First, kids love receiving mail. Next, they can practice handwork skills with each craft. If your child is too young to complete the crafts independently, you get a great opportunity to work together to make something special. Next, we help you observe the changes in the seasons and special celebrations. We hope our crafts, stories, and recipes become parts of your family traditions. Finally, once the crafts are complete, kids have new toys that they made themselves. They will feel proud as they show their toys off to friends or place them on your nature table. (Subscriptions start at $34.95, with discounts for multi month options)
This gift could go either way: you could make this horse for someone special, or you could assemble a kit with the pattern, some nice felt, and a skein of wool yarn. I am a very novice seamstress, and I managed without too much trouble. My guess is that any Waldorf kid in the grades could do a better job than I did! [$5]
Izzi is a simple-yet-challenging game, and was a suggestion from another Waldorf mom. I think it’s so cool! Kids must use the 64 pieces to make a square. It sounds easy, but the one rule makes things tricky: the edges of each piece must match. Their are “zillions” of solutions to this clever game. [$6.20]
Keva Planks will grow with your child. Little ones will enjoy making stacks and roads, while older kids can make some pretty elaborate structures. If you ever want to waste a day on the internet, google “Cool Keva buildings.” [varies, depending on set]
So there you go! I hope I was able to suggest a few gifts that will work for your family. What’s your favorite Waldorf-friendly gift suggestion?
Don’t forget that the December envelope is now available.
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