Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mamas Make It Happen!!

    This past weekend, I was lucky enough to be a presenter at a Mom's Mini "Retreat" called Mamas Make It Happen. This day of inspiration was so lovingly put together by two friends of mine, and the outcome was fantastic. Over 50 mamas gathered together to connect, find balance, and become inspired. Throughout the day, we held hour long workshops on topics such as knitting, publishing a book, becoming a 'Mamapreneur', healing herbs, decluttering the home, and yoga, just to name a few. The energy was very real and contagious.

Goodie Bags!

Happenin' Mama milling around..
   Throughout the day, I chatted with old and new friends, all the while realizing how lucky I am to be a part of such a fantastic natural parenting community. I participated in a meditation session where we embarked on a guided visualization process to help manifest our dreams into a reality. It was pretty awesome. Me? I visualized myself completing the week long Waldorf early childhood introductory course I am planning on taking this July. There are still details to how in the world I am going to drive back and forth from New York every day for a week, in rush hour traffic, and remain sane for my 8am-5pm class. (Staying overnight is not an option. I'm not taking W out of his home environment and leaving him with a family caretaker. It's just too disrespectful of his needs as a 21 month old. And quite honestly, I couldn't handle it, either.)
Presentation Materials
  I presented a workshop on Crafting Natural Toys to a small group of fun to be able to talk for an hour about what I'm so passionate about to people who actually want to listen! We wet felted, created simple wool roving fairies, and had very inspiring conversation about parenting choices and crafting on a budget. Here are some brief notes from the presentation:

"Play is defined by noted psychologist Bruno Bettelheim as any activity characterized by freedom from all but personally imposed rules (which are changed at will), by freewheeling fantasy involvement, and by the absence of any goals outside of the activity itself.1 Such imaginative play, which is an expression of the child's inner nature, has long been recognized as being important for healthy development. In fact, it can result in a wellspring of creativity that continues into adulthood and is found in artists, inventors, musicians, and adults who still know how to play. Creative free play is an expression of the magical world of early childhood; it is not the same as the experience provided by "educational toys" designed to teach concepts like "triangle" or "heavier and lighter."
(source: Waldorf in the Home)

*Open ended toys are multi-purpose and versatile.
 Many open ended toys will grow with the child. Consider blocks as an example. Babies play with the blocks by banging them together and exploring them with their senses. Young toddlers delight in stacking the blocks in a tower and knocking them over. Older preschoolers use their imagination to create buildings or design patterns from the shapes. These toys offer a longevity of use and duality of play.

*The importance of a "home" (or permanent spot) for each and every toy.
-Personally, I feel this is very important. A child feels a sense of security when they know that playthings will always "live" in a certain spot. It also makes clean up a much easier task! Baskets and knitted bowls work well.
The dollies are always tucked in bed after playtime..
*An overabundance creates disregard. Carefully select your playthings, and store everything else. Rotate your toys seasonally.

*Crafting on a budget
-inexpensive peg dolls
-knitting animals/dolls
-create your own tree blocks
-dye your own playsilks, muslin, or cotton cloth (I've used birdseye cloth diapers in the past!)
-use natural materials (pinecones, twigs, acorns, willow tree branches, smooth river rocks...)

I hope this was useful for some of you! It really was a fantastic day...
Don't forget to enter my giveaway...entries close this Friday.
Happy May!!

Spring Breeze at Kimberton Waldorf School


  1. That sounds wonderful, Rebecca. I'm envious of the real life community that you are able to cultivate there. I loved your notes on toys too.

  2. sounds like a great day! I'm really missing my natural/attachment parenting community since we moved. Those relationships are so so important!

    I'd love to chat with you sometime about your teacher training plans. I'm looking into teacher training programs myself right now and going back and forth between whether I have a stronger calling towards early childhood ed or the grades.


  3. Your sweet photos remind me of Shepherd's Bush cross-stitch kits I used to work on. Very soft and your blog. :)

  4. I love the idea of rotating toys seasonally. My girls don't have tons of toys but I still feel they don't play as well when their is too much on offer.

  5. How lucky you are to have such a supportive community of like minded mamas. Your presentation topic is something I am also very passionate about. I read recently.....children don't need (commercial) toys, the toy shops need the children! and couldn't agree more.

  6. Sounds like a great time! And I agree with all your words in this post, especially the overabundance creates disregard. Well said.

  7. Sounds like a beautiful experience- I would love to attend something like that! I'm sure your class was especially wonderful, you bring such a beautiful light to things!

  8. I absolutely love this idea. Wish I could go to a weekend like this. Maybe I will look into having a weekend like this here where I live in Florida. You ar.e very inspiring

  9. What a wonderful retreat! I know you will do well. Overabundance creates disregard", true words. I am working on getting each toy a home. I hadn't thought about it in terms of security but that is so true.

  10. Thanks for posting about our day, Rebecca. We are so lucky to know you. Having your beauty and Waldorf love at our event created the perfect vibe.

    Much Love.

  11. This is all relatively new to me. Currently, my daughters have grown up with overabundance. Most of what we own is plastic and commercial. How would someone transition from mainstream commercial stuff to more natural selective things? Especially now that they are older? (8,7,5 and 20 months)Just get rid of it all?

    I can definitely say that when there is a lot of stuff, they care less about it.

    In fact, I am wondering how you would make a lifestyle change- going from what everyone else is doing (which I've never done completely) to a more Waldorf-y way?

    Just curious...


  12. wow, this sounds fantastic! What a joy to be in the company of all those women who share your passion for natural parenting

  13. Thank you for the great inspiration! Our four-year-old just visited the kindergarten at the Waldorf school in our community today. We are hoping we will start this fall. It just feels so incredibly right for a child. The environment, the nature, the calm. I'm relatively new to Waldorf and this post was so perfect as I was leaving the school today wondering about how I can better incorporate Waldorf at home. Thank you so much for your wonderful insight and sharing!

  14. You should read Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. He talks a lot about simplification for children. I actually just went to one of his lectures and it was super informative.

  15. Sounds awesome! I would have loved to have been there!


  16. Congrats on your presentation! The retreat sounds like a wonderful experience -- I've been daydreaming about planning a retreat for blogging I am sorry I missed this one!


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