Finding Beautiful Toys
Exposure to beauty is essential to the nurture and development of young children and to the maturation of their souls. John O’Donohue wrote that beauty unites one’s feelings, thoughts and dreams. One role of parents and teachers is to invite discovery learning, wonder, and cultivation of the finer senses. Nature is a wonderful teacher and the child’s toys and books need to be beautiful as well.
When I visit the toy section of most stores my heart feels sad. Too many of the toys are plastic, have artificial colors and make harsh sounds that are not inviting to play with. They don’t inspire either the child’s dignity or sense of humor. Generally, I prefer European toys that are made with natural woods and organic materials.
As a parent, it is important to choose your baby’s toys wisely. What emotions does they toy elicit in you? Is it developmentally appropriate? Babies love to watch mobiles and shining lights. Generally, they love to hear lullabies, classical music and pretty tunes, tinkling chimes and music boxes. As they spend endless hours gazing at faces, they like dolls with sweet faces and blocks with symmetrical designs. They love balls and rattles. It is very hard to find a rattle that is tiny enough for their hands that is not too heavy to lift. Two toy sellers whose products I like are Willow Tree Toys and Goblin Toys.
What toys have you found that delight both you and your baby?
Update: A good source for information on quality toys is the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio awards for the best toys of the year. The 2009 awards are posted.