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INSIDE: The Best Book you can Buy on How to Make Waldorf Toys (Steiner Toys). 

We stuffed three plastic drawers full of toys for the three year old inside an already jam-packed kombi van bound for Sydney and the rest of Australia on a year long “Big Lap of Australia” trip. 

A month later, when she’d played with NONE of them, bar her retro Magnadoodle, we sent the three boxes of toys home with my dad who was working in town, and freed up a whole bunch of space in the process.

That was the moment I knew that ‘toys’ were overrated, and that kids can be just as happy with a stick, a few shells, seedpods and a pile of leaves, or variations thereof, to make their own fun.
A few years later, and I found myself working in a Steiner Waldorf kindergarten on the Gold Coast of Australia, in a room FILLED to the brim with:

  • seedpods
  • sticks
  • hand-sanded natural blocks
  • colourful silk cloths
  • the odd handmade toy.

(This is just the start of a list of natural materials for children in play) 

I’ve NEVER seen kids play so imaginatively with so little in the way of ‘toys’.

But from time to time, the kids would ask me for a specific something to bring to their game, their play, or their celebration. 

So I learned to MAKE toys, and helped the children to make handmade toys too.

You can make Waldorf Toys too. Take a look to see how. 

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making the children's year book of waldorf toys

Best DIY Waldorf Toys & Craft to make (Alt: Steiner Toys & Crafts) 

Correct at time of publication on Roam the Gnome. We apologise in advance if there have been any changes we are unaware of. All prices in US dollars, unless otherwise stated

This book was the first ever Waldorf craft book I discovered.

Just a few weeks ago, I got the news that this book has been lovingly reprinted as a fully revised edition of the original “The Children’s Year” by Christine Fynes-Clinton, Stephanie Cooper, and Marije Rowling.

It has now been reimagined and reissued and renamed as “Making the Children’s Year – Seasonal Waldorf Crafts with Children“, thanks to an update by one of the original writers, Marije Rowling, 20 odd years after it’s release.

The original book, and the updated book about Waldorf Steiner Toys called ‘The Children’s Year’ is a compendium of children’s crafts and activities to celebrate the ever-changing seasons of the year.

RELATED : Visit the Tokyo Toy Museum – it’s a natural wonder!

two waldorf toys horses by storebukkebruse

Image credit: Storebukkebruse via Flickr CC BY-2.0

FAQ: What are Waldorf toys? 

Firstly, what are Waldorf toys? It’s a question lots of people ask.

There is no such thing as ‘Waldorf toys’ but you will see lots of the same types of things in Waldorf kindergartens and Steiner schools early years programs – handmade animals sewn from wool felt, or knitted, big wool pom poms, Ostheimer figures, rainbow silks, handmade dolls, shelves full of seedpods and blocks. 

Sometimes, things are bough,t but making toys is much more inline with the spirit of ‘work’ as play that the kindy embodies. 

The book describes the merit of making toys for children and the importance of toys for imaginative play, but describes toys that are very different to the plastic ones we see in most Department stores and toy shops. 

Simple Waldorf Toys to Make

The book includes super simple early childhood education toys such as:

  • 100% wool felt balls
  • felt ducks & other stuffed animals
  • pom pom rabbits
  • simple wooden toys
  • picture books
  • ideas for birthday rings
  • the cutest flower fairy dolls, and
  • knitted chickens that even a beginner could make.

There are also more complicated crafts, such as doll’s clothes and knitting patterns for children’s mittens and jumpers.

There are things you can make for the Nature Table – a seasonal display of prompts that is displayed to provide prompts and a subtle wink for children to help them notice the beginnings of the seasonal transitions. 

The book has:

  • props for games
  • treasure boxes
  • Christmas crafts,
  • and Easter crafts.

There are Waldorf autumn crafts, Spring Waldorf crafts, and Winter Waldorf crafts ones, and crafty things to do in summer with kids too.

In fact, there are:

  • Waldorf toys for 1 year old children to make
  • Waldorf toys for 4 year old

Steiner toys fairies

Handmade Steiner Waldorf Toys

One of my favourite parts of that teaching job was MAKING SIMPLE STEINER TOYS for the children to play with.

As a lifelong creative, the chance to felt, sew, paint, sing, dance, move, cook, and garden, while ‘working’ (not too hard) with children all around me, was a pretty happy way to spend my days.

I made beautiful, purposeful, handmade toys (and more) with the children, EVERY SINGLE DAY for 10 years.
You name it, we made it.

Real life toys and crafts like these below. 

  • Crafts for all the seasons
  • festival invitations
  • decorations for the room
  • rainbow garlands
  • themed dress up costumes
  • happy birthday gifts
  • drawing books and arts projects
  • birthday posters
  • birthday books for kids
  • hand dyed silks
  • musical instruments
  • story props and props for circle time
  • gifts for Mothers Day and Fathers Day
  • Waldorf dollhouse for our babies and standing dolls
  • gifts for new babies, and
  • things to embellish the nature table.

Each thing was loving crafted and cared for, filled with purpose and meaning.

But the toys were the best.

  • Waldorf educational toys like moving pictures
  • Simple pulleys and levers for the matchbox dolls to fly across the room
  • New baby dolls to care for
  • Knitted clothing to keep the baby dolls warm
  • Natural wooden toys to ride on and carry things 
  • Learning toys eg for counting, classifying
  • Standing dolls & toys to tell stories with, and
  • Steiner toys to boost their imaginative capacities.

WALDORF doll by storebukkebruse

Image credit: Storebukkebruse via Flickr CC BY-2.0

Making Waldorf Dolls (Steiner Dolls) for Travel

One of the first crafts I attempted was to make a simple Steiner doll.

Even now, she’s somewhere in one of my memory boxes, a handmade gift of love I can’t quite let go of.

There’s something special and enchanting about making your own doll using a Waldorf doll pattern.

These Steiner dolls have a magical quality, as somehow they become an extension of who you are, a mini-me with your eye colouring, hair colouring, and a few quirks of your personality.

I started making my first doll using the instructions on page 143 for my daughter, but this first doll never made it to my daughter.

I kept it because she looked like me. 

I then made her a different one, a little doll with similar features to her own. 

These Waldorf dolls never date, and if there were one thing I would still make for a child who loves to travel with their family, it would be one of these.  

A doll is a child’s security blanket, friend, and companion, and there’s nothing better than having a ‘child’ sized confidant to tell stories of your new worldly adventures to.

Steiner toys beanbag frog

Good Guide to Natural Toys for World Schooling Travel with Kids, & Forest Schooling 

Many of the Steiner toys and crafts in the original book were accompanied by simple black-and-white drawings.

Lots of the crafts were, and still are, perfect for homeschooling or more recently, for “worldschooling” curriculums.

Many of them incorporated something of nature and animals, in the years before “Forest Schooling” or “Bush School” was ever a thing.

Most of them were things you could make on the road, or by the road, or when camping, or when stopping for a while.

The original book remains in my pared back, minimalist library even today.

The Children’s Year is one of few books that has survived multiple moves, but more importantly, it stays despite my need to minimalise my possessions dramatically.

I just can’t get rid of this book, not even to pass it on to a good friend.

That’s the sign of a good investment, and a magnificent book.

Steiner toys - waldorf dolls

Best Waldorf Toys for babies, toddlers & preschoolers

Making the Children’s Year’- Seasonal Waldorf Crafts with Children is simply beautiful, a book for all families, a book for travelling families, and not just Steiner Waldorf -inspired ones.

Simple Hand Work ideas

For those families who love travel, and especially slow travel, this book should be a mandatory item on the family travel packing list, along with a few basic craft supplies such as:

  • a few pieces of wool felt in natural colors & pastels
  • needles and thread
  • a good sharp pair of scissors for cutting fabric & cloth
  • colourful ribbon lengths, and
  • balls of 100% pure wool knitting wool.

Add a few of nature’s treasures such as seedpods, rocks, leaves and sticks to the mix, along with some found objects such as empty matchboxes, cardboard, and scraps of paper, and you’re set.

RELATED: The easiest toy to make from nature – Mr Stick Man 


How to make Waldorf Toys for Kids and Families

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been saved from the chaos of raising children by giving them the chance to dive into a handmade project.

For anyone on the road with kids, whether that’s for a short 10 day holiday, an extended month or two in a foreign country, or a no-end-date world trip, taking time out from sightseeing and busy adventures is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
But staving off the fighting and sibling rivalry that comes with the territory is made easier with a purposeful activity. You’ll find plenty of inspiration in this book.
The new coloured illustrations add to the magic and bring the book to life.
I loved it then, but I love the new version even more now.

Toadstool Rating: Making the Children’s Year Book Review 

You won’t regret your purchase and it’s likely to end up in your book treasure pile. 

childrens year waldorf BOOKS REVIEW

Where to buy Waldorf Toys

Try any of these Waldorf toy shops to buy:

  • Ostheimer toys
  • Stockmar beeswax crayons and Stockmar paint
  • Stockmar crayons
  • rainbow chalk
  • Lyra pencils 
  • marble runs
  • spinning tops
  • blocks
  • loose parts play
  • Fagus cars and trucks
  • wobble boards
  • stacking and sorting toys
  • rainbows and natural puzzles
  • Grimm’s people and Waldorf peg dolls 
  • Grapat toys including Grapat Nins 
  • indoor tents
  • silk play cloths
  • Montessori toys
  • Froebels gifts 
  • Waldorf dolls
  • Waldorf toys for babies
  • music CD’s
  • dress ups, and more. 

Where to Buy Waldorf Toy in America

Where to Buy Waldorf Steiner Toys Australia

Where to buy Waldorf toys in Canada

Lots of these Waldorf stores have free shipping if you order a certain dollar amount of goods, so stock up or buy a gift card for a friend. 

Where to buy Steiner Toys UK


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