We've got a new brand at My Doll  Best Friend, called Ciao Bimba, and the doll type is: Waldorf dolls. Waldorf dolls are compatible with a Waldorf education for nursery and early school children. They are are sensory toys that enliven a child's imagination through discovery and play. They are toys made of natural materials, in simple designs.

Children delight in sensory play: we've all seen their faces light up when they open the curtains to the sight of the first snow. We've heard the giggles as they splash in puddles! We've seen calmness come over them as they settle to the sound of music, and we've watched them cuddle a favourite toy and comforted; fall asleep. But, do we really appreciate how profoundly important it is for a young child to hold and play with materials that nourish their senses?

Rudolf Steiner, who founded Waldorf education, believed and taught that a baby learns about the world through its senses. A child’s sensory experiences aids early brain development, forming neural pathways, then strengthening them through repeated sensory experience. It's a natural way to learn about something - to reach out and touch it.

How often have you seen a child dive in hands first, exploring something new? Adults still do it - we reach with our fingers to feel and understand something better - be it the fabric of clothing, or the textile of a coat. We like to smell the leather of a handbag, and we enjoy the aroma of foods from different cultures. Senses are our most familiar and basic way to learn. With added sensory learning children become more perceptive about the world around them. Senses are how people collect data and answer internal questions. It's really scientific play!

It's a Waldorf philosophy that a child's imagination is enhanced through play with natural materials. An imagination can turn pebbles, mud, water and sticks into something else. I can remember testing pebbles for their chalkiness for drawing on a flagstone; mud was "food" and sticks were "money". What kind of sensory play do you remember, and how much pleasure did you derive from it?

How does a Waldorf doll fit into the Waldorf philosophy?

A Waldorf doll, is made from natural fibres so that it's a lovely warm, soft armful for a child to hug. A woollen doll becomes a warm doll enlivened in the arms of a child.

Sight is just as important as touch, so Waldorf dolls are beautiful. Often they're made with rich colours. The faces of Waldorf dolls are minimal so that a child can use their imagination and inner picturing ability to bring life to their doll. Waldorf dolls are toys that allow children to live richly in their imaginative life.


 See previous Waldorf dolls posts on the blog and learn more about Ciao Bimba or shop for natural dolls.