We try to surrounding our daughter with nature-inspired toys and crafts - be it actual twigs, acorns and bark to inspire the imagination, or Waldorf-inspired toys made of natural materials like wool, hemp, cotton, wood, beeswax, and non-toxic paints. Each year we also offer several "natural crafting" workshops here at Little City Farm. In the past, these have included topics like knitting, recycled wool soakers for babies, wet-felting, spinning, natural dyes, Waldorf doll making, and woolen woodland animals, among others. Since day one, our daughter has always sat in with us during these workshops, observing, or playing on the side, but now that she's getting old enough to participate in a more hands-on way, it's been fun to dream up new workshop ideas for this season and into next year. We have started a nature table in our kitchen, actually a reserved shelf of the bookcase there which she can fill with her special finds from our daily ramblings in the yard and around town - so far, loads of pinecones, a twirl of birchbark, a few black walnut halves from our trees (that look like owls), a bowl full of acorn caps, and then amidst all these, her favourite wool bunnies and wool squirrel.
Eve, of Eve's Little Earthlings in Guelph, taught a workshop here two years ago where we learned to make these bunnies our of reclaimed wool sweaters. Here are several patterns for making similar felted wool animals - wonderful (and safe) for young children to grasp in their hands, or use in imaginative play. Today our two bunnies went out on a garden adventure for the first time...(luckily they were remembered just before the rain came, and safely brought back inside for night).