Tag Archives: dispositions

Wooden Toys

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sustainability

Since the beginning of October, I have been slowly adding photos to a Wooden Toys album. Yes, it is still a work in progress. Just to be a bit confusing, the point of this album is not to sell these items. It is just a way for you to see some of the wooden toys that we own & ask questions if you are interested in the product. Fortunately most people that know us are aware that we prefer wooden toys, and many of these have been given to Zaedyn as prezzies. If you have them as well, we would love for you to comment and leave any feedback to support other who may be interested. I know that there are plenty more wooden toys available, but I hope that what you see will be of interest or provide you with links where you can find other sustainable toys.

We believe that nature is the best playground and that there are lots of natural resources and environments that can provide open ended play experiences. However, wooden toys can also provide learning and interactive play experiences. Although I have provided some information and ways that each can promote learning, they are not limited to this. Each child is unique, and many dispositions can be learned depending on each child. The way they use them to learn will also vary through time depending on their current interests and development. Click on the photos below to find more details about each toy.

Why do we love wooden toys vs. plastic?

Most companies that sell wooden toys are green companies that play a part in environmental impact and awareness. If you are looking for toys that are more natural and sustainable, look for wooden toys. Yes, they can be expensive, but they are worth it. Wooden toys are also very durable making them last and not ending up quickly broken in landfill. We also do not have to worry as much about safety from broken parts or toxicity. We are not against all plastic toys, but with the huge rise of cheap, plastic toys, we like to make a conscious effort to support eco-friendly companies. There are some companies using recyclable materials/packaging, one of which we think is pretty awesome. Make sure you follow us to hear about it in a future post.

So, how many toys do you need? I do not believe in buying all of the newest toys that come out, and I can definitely say that we still have more than our fair share of toys. We have some amazing toys that simply do not get used because we are always outside, or there are just too many to choose from. This can seem a bit overwhelming for you and your child as all of the toys are pulled out and not used for any purpose. Recently we have moved some toys and books into Zaedyn’s room as everything was out in the lounge. We have a pretty big lounge so I made a few areas in the room where there were certain types of toys. He is now aware of what is in his room and will walk down the hall and bring out toys or books that he wants to read. This has made it a bit easier for him to find toys and spend time playing, but this will always be a work in progress as we shift toys around to create an exciting environment.

Some people might think that wooden toys are too plain and simple, though I would argue the opposite. Yes, plastic toys can be very colourful and there is a huge variety, but this does not make them more interactive. Zaedyn is always far more interested in the packaging and boxes anyways! Wooden toys provide open ended experiences. Some might think they are boring, but I think that they allow for more creativity. There is also a growing number of companies providing wooden toys, and there is a range of different types and availability.

Natural Learning

The other option is to make your own. We found this awesome abacus idea from Natural Learning. Zaedyn even helped us look for the resources to use. Check out their site for some amazing creative and natural resources you can purchase. These educational resources will definitely support your children to learn about nature and Papatuanuku.

If you are a company that stocks these products, please leave a link to your website or details on how to order.

Many people debate this topic, but in our opinion we prefer wooden toys in our home. What do you want your baby chewing/playing with?

ClatterWork Bench 'N' BoxShape SorterPlaying MantisWollemi Wilderness Cash RegisterTea Set
tree toys

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The Value of Baking for Children

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Baking

I am curious

Taking an Interest

Baking

Excitement of Mixing

Coconut

Being Involved – Pouring the Coconut

Baking

Stirring ~ Yum!

Senses

Exploring

Cookies

Observing

Vegan

Ready to try our vegan bikkies. Yum!

vegan

Vegan Bikkies using Linseed, Sunflower, & Almond (LSA)

The smell of banana fills the air and my puku is feeling full thanks to Zaedyn’s curiosity and exploration with baking vegan bikkies. What a wonderful experience and enjoyment through the process of baking.

Baking is a foundation for learning through taking an interest, exploration, creativity, independence, curiosity, observation, playfulness, sensory experience, language development, mathematics, health, nutrition, science, fine motor skills, and so much more.

Horoi o ringaringa. The first thing we did was wash our hands and talk about the importance of washing our hands before baking. Back in the kitchen, I loved watching Zaedyn become curious and take an interest in the bowls, measuring cups, spoon, and ingredients in front of him. He was very happy and excited. I observed as he was beginning to understand this process and be involved in pouring and mixing. He must have figured out through his senses that this was going to be some yummy food as he observed and licked his lips.

I do not believe in putting anything past tamariki. They continue to amaze me in how clever and knowledgable they are, and I do not think that it is ever too early to introduce concepts. Learning is constant and their minds work in miraculous ways. Therefore, I still talk about mathematic concepts such as volume and measurement, health and nutrition through washing our hands and eating healthy food (minus the chocolate!), science concepts such as adding the wet to dry ingredients and cooking/temperature, using appropriate language to support literacy development, and supporting dispositions through providing opportunities.

Yum! Although I helped, I was very impressed with Zaedyn’s baking skills through his own learning as well as the yummy outcome of vegan bikkies to enjoy. I look forward to building upon these concepts and learning by providing more opportunities for Zaedyn to explore.

Do your children or children you look after enjoy baking? Any other valuable skills to share?

If you are interested in the recipe, see my post Vegan ABC Banana Cookies. We did not have any nut butter made up or nuts to make some so we adjusted the recipe using Linseed, Sunflower, and Almond (LSA) with a bit more oil.

A Different Kind of Water Wall

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With the excitement of summer coming and a bit of sunshine amidst all of the rain and wind today, a quick look around in the shed ended in this makeshift attempt of a water wall, if you can call it that. Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun. Warm water, funnels, cups, PVC pipes, and the curiosity of infants. I cannot wait to see what resources we can collect and new ways we can put them together to create an inviting and challenging space for tamariki to learn.

Most tamariki love playing with water. There is something magical about the natural element of water through the variety of opportunities, endless resources and open ended play, and the smiles it puts on children’s faces.

“It is not about the blocks or the dough. It is about the activity being the vehicle for the acquisition of the disposition to learn” ~Margaret Carr (2008)

This quote provides great reflection when thinking about the importance of dispositions toward children’s ongoing learning and the activities we set up or resources that we provide. Water helps to develop multiple dispositions such as curiosity, playfulness, resourcefulness, and collaboration. Not all children enjoy water. For some, water play might be about the confidence that develops. Although the water space might remain the same throughout the day, each child’s play will result in learning that is different to those that they are playing alongside. Isn’t that fascinating? As a teacher, it challenges us to be thinking on so many levels and supporting each child’s needs to further develop their individual learning. I am excited for summer and all of the wonderful activities and learning to come.

Check out Let the Children Play for other ideas on creating a water wall and other inspiring play ideas.

Washing the house and cars on a rainy day? Here is a quick look at some of the water play Zaedyn enjoyed over the weekend…

Hose

Mud

“The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.” ~E.E. Cummings

Carr, M. (2008) Presentation to Hui Topu – Professional Development for Early Childhood Education. May 28th, Wellington.