Family Magazine

The Joys of Free Play

By Suvenchow
The Joys of Free Play#13/52 - 12 January 2014Location: HomeAttire: Bubble Dress by GingersnapsActivity: Free Play with water on the counter top
Recently, with the heat wave hitting Perth, I find myself staying indoors more often than I should. Although I really wanted to go out for some much needed outdoor time for Little Miss NAPB, I couldn't bring myself to walk out into the 43 degrees heat. 
For the longest time, I've always wondered what other Stay-At-Home-Moms (SAHMs) do with their toddlers at home during the day. I have absolute respect for mothers who homeschool, because since becoming a SAHM, I've been cracking my head everyday as to what to teach or entertain my baby with. 
Then I found out about the alternative schooling method of Montessori and Waldorf. Little Miss NAPB had been attending Montessori Playgroup since middle of last year, but I noticed she didn't seem to be thriving as much as I hope she'd be. So I've enrolled her into Waldorf's waiting list for this year, fingers crossed I'll get a placement soon. 
Anyway, back to the topic of Free Play. I actually stumbled across this brilliant and simple idea of Free Play through Montessori and Waldorf education methods, actually this practice is more prominent in Waldorf. It's where you give a toddler a set of things (within a particular theme) and then just let your child explore and create with his imagination. It's such a great tool for children to learn and be creative, sadly more often than not, modernisation has taken away this gift of playing with the usage of technology. I've read so much about indoor Free Play but never really set down a time to really try it out, because for me it's just easier to bring her out to the nearby park for sand and outdoor Free Play play. 
So today, with the outside temperature going up to 43 degrees, I've decided to curled up at home. But toddlers need to have some activities to burn their energy, physically and mentally. Since we can't really fulfill the physical part today, I thought, why not give Free Play a go? 
We began setting up our "play" area, which happens to be my kitchen counter top. Because I wanted to do a water theme today, I covered the counter top with a large bath towel for "damage control". LOL. So we had a few silicon cupcake holders, a couple of plastic containers, some glass teapot, ice cream scoop, etc. (Note: True Waldorf practice uses only natural materials such as wood and glass) And the fun began!
Litte Miss NAPB was so eager to try pouring the water here and there, from the pot to the cupcake holders, from cupcake holders to paper cupcake holders, and so on. It was surprisingly enjoyable to watch her being so curious and enthusiastic about the whole thing. *Note to self, I should really do this more often with other varieties.*
Overall, baby girl lasted more than an hour with this simple Free Play activity. And because it was on the kitchen top, I managed to prepare dinner and spend quality time with her at the same time. I participated by naming each object that she was holding, and saying out loud the exact action she was performing. It really really was enjoyable, and it was such a perfect way to spend the afternoon (#82/365).
More examples of Free Play from other Waldorf parents/ schools can be found below: 
Alina's AdventuresPinterestKeeper of the HomeHello Bee

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