Friday, January 16, 2009

Winter Playscape and Nature Table

Normally there are more natural elements on the nature table, but living in Minnesota limits what is available outside. I suppose I could go out and get some branches, but in just a couple of months the snow will be melted and there will be easier access to a wide range of natural elements.

So, instead this month I simply put out a playscape that I made last year (one of the first ones I made, so it is incredibly basic without much detail), some blue cloth, a King Winter doll, candles, gnomes, elves, wool snowman, and some toy sleds.

It's been interesting watching Olivia (who will be six on Sunday), play with these different elements. By providing just the basics, her imagination is allowed to create whatever scene and scenarios she wants. Each time it is different...but with these same characters.

A key element of Waldorf toys, and playscapes such as this one, is that they are simple in form, and that each one has significant "free" space to give a child physical room to move their characters as they wish. The idea is to provide a “jumping off point”...or a roughly "sketched canvas" only.

A playscape (or playmat) is a toy that will spark their interest and allow them to create their own world as they see fit, their own imagined details, and their own stories.


Ann said...


Do your have playscapes for each season? We're just starting into Waldorf and I'm trying to set up a nature table (I'm in the Twin Cities so I know what you mean about there being little to put on at this time of year) and wondering how to go about it. When did your daughter take an interest? My son is only 2 1/2 so I'm thinking it's early yet.
Thanks! Ann

Harvest Moon by Hand said...

Yes, I do have playscapes up for each season.

I put some of the early, simple playscapes (the ones with less detail) on a low table that my daughters could reach when they were younger. As early as about 2 years old, they were playing with the different elements on the nature table and playscape.