We have a variety of playmats. Each playmat depicts a different landscape. Some are double-sided to depict the same terrain during different seasons. The playmat depicted in the Hands-On Nature post was made by EvesLittleEarthlings. (The various figures are from NatureTableTreasures and Rjabinnik). Basically, whenever we have a particularly interesting story, I look through our collection of wooden and other creatures to see if I have a suitable number of characters on hand to illustrate the story. If I do, I pull out the characters to put on the story. That makes it all the more entertaining and helps my son internalize it more so than a simple oral telling. We also tell the same story over and over. It’s not uncommon for the same story to appear every day for a week, as was the case with Jack & the Bean Stalk, The Three Little Pigs, and Little Red Riding Hood.

Enacting Master Hare

Enacting Master Hare

Above, my son is getting ready to act out the tale of Master Hare. I don’t recall ever hearing that tale before. It came to us in a collection of Spring themed stories in his Live Education curriculum. Waldorf curricula stress the importance of marking the seasons with seasonally aware stories, songs, food, and activities, so our Spring was filled with tales of bunnies, ducks, temperamental weather, and budding flowers. We weren’t quite officially homeschooling yet, but we were trying to get the rhythm down. The little play mat in the above picture was created by MuddyFeet. It’s very simple, but it’s interesting, because it can be flipped over. One side is green and one side is gray. This is good for illustrating tales with a change of seasons or the classic kind of fairy tale were in the “morally upright” character comes upon a green landscape filled with “milk and honey” and the dubious character finds the same landscape dark and dreary and filled with foreboding things. The puppets and playthings here were created by MamaMadeThem, NatureTableTreasures, and HeartFeltFolks.

Troll & Gnome Story

Troll & Gnome Story

Finally, anybody who knows anything about Waldorf knows that gnomes are ubiquitous in Waldorf culture! I’ll say more about that later. For now, the above picture depicts one of our deluxe playmat experiences. I wanted to get my son into gnomes, so I had him watching the David the Gnome series. I’m not a big fan of TV. We don’t have cable or network TV in the home, but I decided to let him watch the DVDs. I quickly tired of David the Gnome and decided to buy the Gnomes book. (The animation is dated, and David is sexist sounding! The storyline is also sanitized compared to some of the Grimm-like stories in the Gnomes book.) The book is a little old for a four year old, but it does have some great stories in the back that lend themselves to being acted out. There is an epic tale of trolls abducting a gnome child. That is the tale being enacted here. We used an additional mat from EarthBoundPixie, a Shadow Gnome from Grackled Gnomes, and a little wolf from irishenciya.

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