“Children often express emotions and thoughts while playing with dolls that they might not be able to convey using words,” says Allan Gonsher, a play therapist in Overland Park, Kansas.
I always do my best to source alternative things children can play with compared to the ones available in market. My aim is to reach out parents who are conscious about what they want to give their child, be it food, toys, books, education, gadgets and so on. In my journey of running My Little Bookshop, I have succeeded to meet so many like minded parents and I have learnt a lot from them too. One such person is Sudha Chakravarty, who is homeschooling her two lovely children in Mumbai. Sudha is a strong individual and follows her heart. I personally felt she was the right person to share her experience of giving cloth dolls to her children and she happily shared her views with My Little Bookshop on request. This is what she has to say
I am a mother of 2 kids aged 8 yr and 4 yrs .I have consciously given gender neutral toys to them and never excess, I constantly declutter. The thing that struck me someday was there was way too much plastic in their toys,when most things in the house are either recycled, upcyled.. why am I creating junk through these??? while these thoughts were in my mind I was gradually meandering towards homeschooling my kids… what should I teach ..how..were the questions clouding my mind. In one such search I came across Waldorf or Steiner philosophy. It blew my mind off I started meeting online such families throughout the globe and bingo came my answer NATURAL toys.They believe kids from a very young age should be given natural toys preferably unfinished ones and it can be anything….Both the kids have been introduced to dolls very early and some were plastic ones (my daughter never hankered for a Barbie). I saw in one such experimental session the kids took away each part of the doll and didn’t really feel bad that the doll is destroyed… their demand was they wanted 1 more!! But I noticed one thing they never did any such thing with their cloth dolls.. my question was why such discrimination and after a chat with my son I discovered the following…
- The cloth dolls are soft to touch just like human body
- When they sleep with them they don’t feel the hardness of plastic
- Our cloth dolls are big they wear their their infant size clothes ,they love dressing them up with convenience…(it’s ok the hand gets twisted or neck gets twisted..atleast they will not break)
- They have named them and no one treats a friend like that ..specially a friend who sits near their head at night when the room is dark.
- They can be easily carried here and there in bags.
- We have quite a few dressed in woolens …they feel its warmth in the cold seasons.
- The couple of plastic dolls they have all scribbling on their face… when I asked why you don’t scribble on the cloth dolls … the answer was simple people don’t scribble on their friends face …The feeling of love and most importantly feeling of ownership and respect is what develops through this warmies ..another name for cloth dolls in our home. Parents here play a very important role after they choose the cloth doll they have chosen they should too respect it, we never put them in the drawer it’s always on their bed ..the dolls are refered always by their name, never thrown always gently handed over and they are very few in number, hence always get carried on vacations!!! they are clothes so easily maintained hand or machine washable !!! we now do not own a single plastic doll now but just 4 cloth dolls…they are treated in great respect and love. I would tell every parent to give a slight thought on all natural toys they go a long way teaching valuable lessons.