A great post on the extinction of imaginative play by Confessions of an Earthy Young Mom
While this is not a new concept, given the exhaustive list of new toys on the market every year, it is one worth constantly visiting. I think sometimes we get lost in the moment, our child wants toy A, or sees another kid with toy B, or you (as the parent) want to get them that cute little toy C. But the fact of the matter is, that all of these toys that light up, make noise, move, talk, etc. just create a world of chaos- not only for you, but for your children.
In lieu of all the distractions, create a calm, nurturing, and enriching place for your child(ren) to play. As Earthy Young Mom mentions, toys made of cloth, wood, etc. are all great choices. Forcing kids to use their own imaginations is not only a great learning experience for them, but far less distracting than all the noise/lights/instruction of the mass produced, chemical filled toys that line todays' store shelves.
Some great resources for natural toys include;
Hip Mountain Mama
Natural Family Supplies
and, of course, NurtureMe
(also at www.diapers.com you can click on 'green baby' and they have some options as well)
Another fabulous recent discovery for me is the constant down to earth wisdom of Job Description: Mommy. Her recent post on Positive Parenting was great for me, because of it's quick-view way of looking at the seemingly daunting task of 'positive parenting'.
Let's be real, if you're me- you want to be a great parent, and have it all together, be a positive role model and do everything you can not to kill your kids spirit... right? But, if you're like me- you also have a toddler. THIS is where things get interesting. How do you stay positive ALL day when you have an infant screaming for attention, a toddler throwing a tantrum, the house is a disaster, the dog just barfed on the floor, and.... well, you get the picture.
Well, this is why I loved this post so much! You don't have to be perfect all the time- aim for 8 positive for every 1 negative. That's fair enough.
Something I have always strived for, is ignoring behaviors that do not threaten basic quality of life, limb, or property- aka. pick your battles. Some things are worth addressing, others just aren't.
Nurturing Touch, and maintaining a strong marriage/foundation are things I have previously discussed on the blog, which I clearly also find important :)
Health & Family
Are you part of a CSA in your community? Not far from my family's home is Brookford Farm, which runs a seasonal CSA.
(you can check out where to find their products here, or get information on their CSA options here)
But why bring all this up now, you ask? Because of one of their latest blog posts on their Farmers-In-Schools program. How great is it, that they are teaching children not only responsibility, work ethic, and cooking- but also the underlying lessons of eating a balanced diet, consisting of healthy, nourishing, organic, and home grown food! The school even uses their 'harvests' for soup every week!
My own son has been in a preschool program where they grow a garden, and then their snacks (provided by the school) are typically vegetables grown from the garden (when available, since we live in Maine). But even his program (not a Waldorf program), provides water and fruits and vegetables- and then the lunches (provided by the parents) are not to contain nuts, processed foods like Lunchables or fruit snacks, white bread, etc. Should they contain those items, the school will provide a healthier option for your child, encouraging students, and parents- to consider healthier options, even for on-the-go families.
The theme this week clearly is about being 'natural'. Natural play, with natural products. Simplicity. Natural communication, and hence natural parenting. Go with the flow. Natural food, natural resources, and a natural healthier lifestyle.
* note: I strive to be as natural as possible. Truth be told, it is sometimes cost prohibitive. I am not claiming to be 'all natural'- we are not. I shop at WalMart, and Target... my kids have toys that light up and make noise... my children watch television, and I can't always buy organic produce. What I DO, is try to get as much simplicity in my life as possible. While sometimes strictly driven by finances, we get as many second hand items as possible (recycling), we recycle, we compost (not in the winter- again, we live in Maine), we buy as much organic when we can, we avoid processed foods whenever possible, we use cloth diapers, and we avoid filling our home with unnecessary items and clutter.
How do you stay natural/simple on a budget?