I’ve been reading a lot about Montessori/Waldorf education and activities in the last few months. The common ground between the two philosophies is simple: The work of a child is to play. (The hands on approach works best.)
Children who engage in creative play in early childhood tend to do better in all spheres of life as they grow older. They excel not only academically but also socially, emotionally, and physically. They tend to be more harmonious and less agressive, and they show a better understanding of other people.
Open-ended toys, like playsilks, inspire creativity. They are perfect for: playing peek-a-boo, a doll blanket, sling, wings, a cape, a river, a turban, pirate’s headscarf, skirt, toga, belt, fort, or anything else a child dreams up…
They can be bought online, however, the DIY version is much cheaper (and fun to make). I purchased the plain silk through the Dharma Trading Co. and picked up some kool-aide from the grocery store (the vinegar was in the cupboard). Below is a picture of the final result (Cherry, Pink Lemonade, Orange Lemonade and Grape).
I’m still on the hunt for Lime and anything blue. I felt kind of weird buying that much kool-aide at the grocery store (we don’t drink the stuff). The women checking my out was like, “I hope you have a lot of sugar!” I felt the need to explain that it was to dye scarves not to feed to the young lad I was pushing in the stroller.
How To: First soak all undyed silks in hot water with a dash of vinegar (I used distilled white vinegar) for half an hour. For each silk, mix 2 cups water, 1/2 cup vinegar, and 3 packets of Kool-Aid in a glass bowl–the kids helped with this part. Add playsilk, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for three minutes. Let it sit for three minutes, stir (repeat three times).
Hang the silks to dry, then washed in cold water. For the second drying, I put them in the dryer with a couple of towels for a very short, cool cycle.
They turned out great! One more thing to add to the Make-Believe Box. These playsilks are 22×22. I plan on making more that are 36×36 size. I think the larger size will be more versatile.