My girl is really into building fairy houses these days.
But then there’s fairy tipis. It’s America, after all. Except there’s no animal skins.
Creating with natural objects is really great for their imagination, and imagination is great for everything else. Once you start looking, you start to see that these organic in the truest sense of the word constructions materials – pieces of bark, rocks, and plants – are everywhere.
Isn’t this so clearly an expression of the inner creative spirit we are all born with? This, in my mind, is what “being made in God’s image” really means.
As parents, it is important that we allow our kids to nourish this drive rather than stifle it. Cutting down on ready-made toys and screen time and giving them the access to a natural environment should be one of our primary objectives. Much like feeding them real fruit instead of jelly beans helps build a healthy body, letting them create with Nature’s own supplies helps build a healthy mind – and soul.
Let us not make the mistake of thinking that being able to afford nice things for our children equals providing them with a happy environment in which to grow. Even in the Waldorf world, I see time and again people being caught up in the perceived need to purchase exclusively extraordinarily-expensive “natural,” handcrafted toys for their kids. This doesn’t surprise me, as we live in a consumer-centric society where there’s a buck to be made, and where people are conditioned to believe that their worth is directly tied to their purchasing capacity.
In reality, you don’t have to have hand-dyed silks and hand-felted dolls (unless you dye and felt them yourself).
You don’t need all-wooden toy dump trucks with natural finish.
You don’t need a ginormous, multi-hundred-dollar, wooden toy kitchen (or a plastic one, for that matter) to feel a great parent – because, guess what, you’ve got a real one.
What you do need, however, is a backyard or a park.
For my part, I feel like I constantly put a conscious effort in not creating the need-to-have, shopping-dependent aesthetic with my children, otherwise so deeply ingrained our culture.
Although, for what it’s worth, I believe that one or two affordable, durable plastic trucks from the local agri-center are perfectly a OK on a fairy-house construction site.
They just shouldn’t be the only thing they get to play with.