the waldorf inspired curvy board is one of those ‘jackpot’ toys that does many things ‘right’ in the world of play and development. it’s because it ticks so many boxes, that it often becomes the favourite toy not just of the child but of the household. often dubbed more a piece of furniture than a toy, the waldorf curvy board quickly becomes part of the home, played with in many ways over many years.
here are some of the reasons that the design of the curvy board works so well with children to stimulate play…
just think for a minute about what makes kids curious? what intrigues them?
it’s usually something that’s slightly unexpected, that defies some rules, that is unusual in some way.
this fascination for the unusual actually has its roots in evolutionary biology. it is what makes children such eager learners, constantly adding to their storehouse of knowledge, contributing to the rapid growth that the brain sees between the ages of 0 and 6.
the traditional waldorf balance board piques this sense of curiosity – it fascinates children by its unique shape. it’s like a piece of furniture, but it balances strangely, and wait! i’ve never seen wood bent quite like that before. although not articulated in so many words, the curvy board presents an invitation to children to explore and play.
children always find ways to play that challenge themselves. this is why you see children jumping onto the edge of the pavement, or walking on the divider. they self select these challenges as it boosts their development naturally. (think – if children never challenged themselves, they’d never learn to walk, run, jump, let alone climb… challenge-seeking is hardwired as a part of development.)
the curvy board represents different challenges at different developmental stages. for a toddler perhaps sitting on it is a challenge, crawling over its back is a challenge. for a children aged 2 and 3, standing on it and holding on to ones’ balance is a challenge, climbing over it is a (mountain climbing!) challenge, and for slightly older children standing with ones’ feet further and further apart is a challenge.
with physical challenges at every level, the curvy board is hugely beneficial for ones physical development, sense of balance and making children more aware of their bodies and limbs in space, building posture, poise and gracefulness.
perhaps the most important benefit of the curvy board especially in the 21st century when knowledge is outsourced to the machines leaving imagination and creativity to human beings – is that the curvy board is a huge invitation to the imagination!
it’s true that the simplest things make the most room for imagination, and nothing proves this more right than the curvy board. from riding on a dinosaur’s back, the curvy board transforms into a rainbow, a bridge, a tunnel, a slide, a boat, a race car, all in the space of one play session.
so when you take the curvy board home, don’t name it, don’t tell the children what it is – just say its for them to play with, and see the millions of ways in which they do.