With the explosion of toy recalls lately and information regarding the dangers of plastic toys, families are searching out safe, green toy alternatives. Previously, I wrote about Plan Toys rubber wood toys, which provide children with sustainably harvested toys; however, children need soft, cuddly play items, too. Silk scarves and dress-up clothes provide children with safe, natural toys that expand their imagination.
Preschool teachers and parents often complain that dress-up clothes are disorganized and difficult for children wear; however, all these dress-up clothes are not necessary. At a performing arts conference for teachers I attended, Play Silks were recommended as the only costume prop needed in the classroom or home. Children can make any costume using their imagination with Play Silks. Like blocks, they are truly open-ended, versatile, and limitless for play. In addition, silk is durable, soft, and aesthetically pleasing.
Play Silks are expensive, but you and your child get a lot for the money. At about $11 piece (you do get a discount for buying a set), their cost kept me from buying them for many years. I wanted to make my own set, but time slipped away, and I realized I never would get around to actually doing it (I still haven’t finished knitting the sweater I started for my daughter five years ago!). You can select plain silk scarves from Dharma Trading Company for anywhere between $1.00 and $4.00 and naturally dye them yourself to save money. Since purchasing a set of Play Silks, I am very pleased with how they have contributed to my daughter’s dramatic play. Our Play Silks are over a year old, and they show no signs of wear and tear.
Halloween is around the corner, and there are many great costumes made from natural silk. Magic Cabin offers many silk costumes for children, and these costumes are breathable and comfortable, unlike the vinyl costumes of my youth. Natural fabrics inspire children to explore life through their play, and a silk costume will long out live the Halloween holiday and be incorporated in your child’s ongoing dramatic play.
Toys made from natural fibers, such as silk, encourage meaningful play. Not only are these toys safe, but also they inspire children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. Silk toys may be more expensive than their plastic, vinyl, or polyester counterparts, but parents can feel good about providing their children with natural toys that leave less of an impact on our environment and are safer for our children.
Gavin Hudson says
My nephew and niece love having long pieces of silk cloth to play with. They’ve had the same pieces of silk for… I don’t know… maybe six or more years. They play all sort of games with them and dress as pirates, prince and princess, magicians, etc. Great recommendation!
http://www.atoygarden.com/ is my favorite source for toys, and for the budget minded they have Play Silk grab bags (found under Creative Play, Play Silks – on the third page). They are not only less expensive (about $5 a piece?), but since they are all seconds, and therefor not perfect, it is much easier not to get stressed out when the kids drag them through the mud while playing dinosaurs being chased by superheros. My kids never noticed they were seconds, and are one of their favorite toys.