First, let me say Happy Holidays!
Second, if your shopping for a 5-7 year old boy or girl I think your very wise to be looking for natural toys and gifts. While big box stores have lots of plastic that blinks and beeps, by now I am guessing you have had any of it that you know those items do not tend to last a season never mind years. Many of the items I love in the natural toy world however do! Better for the environment, better for economy to shop small businesses, safer for our children.
The ages before and after the change of teeth are very special ones. Children go from being in a world of make believe where the world revolves around them to making a jump into another world where they see things differently. Early childhood is 0-7 years and Middle childhood is 7-14. At the end of early child hood children should have mastered their bodies and be ready for the world of academics. In this list you will find items I think will help with movement so you can make sure the child is ready in body, and items that they are getting ready for that will help with their minds. You know the child best though and of course feel free to leave a comment with your ideas and thoughts!
Art On the Go — An art kit that you can take on trips, to the Drs office, to dinner, to visit Grandma. This age loves to create things and helps with creativity and small motor skills. You could find and buy a set like this or put your own together!
Knitting Mushroom — This tool toy is great for a boy or girl, while knitting is often seen as a girl hobby in the waldorf world it is practical fun used to help children see the reality of clothing and warmth, and it helps with fine motor skills. Did I mention it is fun? The one above comes with everything you need but yarn.
Music Maker — A lap harm is a great addition to a young childs musical world Many children in Kinder start with recorders but some might like this better. It is easy to play for anyone, even those with no experience with music. You slide one of the song cards into it and simply follow the notes. It has a beautiful sound. This toy is not very costly and could well last long enough to be handed down to siblings or if well cared for even to grandchildren.
Balance Board Labyrinth — Gross motor skills are still a focus for this age group and this toy adds a great element for balancing fun. This one is for ages 5+ and can hold an adult up to 270lbs! Both young and old will love this and again, chances are you can pass it down!
Wooden Stilts! Moving is still a priority for this age group, and they need more of a challenge now so this could be perfect! If your like me you see the potential danger, a fall. When I look past the fear though I see that like a bike this could be worth the risk. Not to mention there is a quick learning curve with these. This very set can be found: www.blueberryforest.com
Costumes! — Pretend play is very important for this age group, children specially seem to enjoy fairy tale pretend with knights and princesses, dragons and faries! Play silks are still loved in these areas for many children for many reasons so wouldn’t over look them!
Geometric Shape Tack Set – This set is interesting and I will say what should not have to be said anyway, it is a toy that needs supervision! It is fun, lets children hammer and they love doing this. I believe it meets a primal need in them. They can make very interesting things with the shapes and after putting all the other pieces away they can display their art on a mantel place or book shelf!
Doll Houses! Well in this case a wooden tree house made from sustainable wood. Children at this age like to play house and small scale toys let them do it. Gather some cute gnomes or little wooden family members or felt animals and let them take it from there!
Candle Craft Kit — As this age group loves to create and does not yet have a lot of patience for sitting still this kit is wonderful. It is easy for them to roll candles and decorate as well and then they have a candle that can be burned at dinner that night even. Don’t just make them, use them!
Co-operative board games! — This game is a game that lets all players win together, not a game against one another. There are a lot of these kinds of games if you know how to hunt for them, however chances are you will not find any in a big box store so look online. I think as a society we over look co-operation in our childhoods and instead jump right into competing with one another. In a work force that is looking more and more for people who can work in groups and in a world where taking care of one another in community is a rare gift, I think these games are vital, specially for this age range.
Play with your children! If you find that you gifted a toy and it is not being enjoyed, play with it yourself, enjoy it, and when I do this inevitably I have children around me suddenly wanting to play too and sometimes even asking me if they can have a turn alone. There are many ways to bring life into new toys or back into old toys! Be creative. Play is important for grown ups too!
Lastly, most of the above photos came from my favorite online shop, atoygarden.com and another lovely shop www.hazelnutkids.com and a few from blueberryforest.com. Please know that I have no connection to these shops other than as a customer who loves natural toys!