It can seem that as soon as something gets given the Waldorf or Steiner label it automatically becomes more expensive. But why are Waldorf dolls more expensive and are they worth the extra money?
What is Waldorf?
Waldorf education which is also known as Steiner education is based on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner. He founded the first Waldorf School over 100 years ago in 1919 and since then his system of education has grown in popularity around the world.
The basic principles are centred around developing a child’s imagination, creativity, kindness, ability to think for themselves, intellectual and practical skills in a holistic way that is aligned to their natural rhythm of development. When it comes to toys and dolls the focus is on natural open-ended items that expand the imagination rather than limit it with predefined features and attributes.
Why are Waldorf Toys More Expensive?
While wooden blocks, pebbles and pine cones could all be considered Waldorf toys, when you find them in toy stores they seem expensive in comparison to their plastic counterparts and this could be for a number of reasons.
One reason is that Waldorf toys including Waldorf dolls tend to be natural and are often hand made. The fact that they are not mass-produced and are instead individually crafted naturally makes them more expensive. And yet the principle of employing master craftsmen and keeping these artisan industries alive very much fits with Waldorf principles.
Wooden toys that are made by hand may be more expensive but they have a magical quality about them that cannot be compared to mass-produced toys, even those that are made of wood. Not to mention the fact that they are better for the environment. Fabric dolls are made of natural fibres that are soft as well as safe for little hands and mouths which also gives peace of mind to parents when their children are playing.
Are Waldorf Toys Worth the Money?
For a start it is worth noting that toys do not need to be labelled as Waldorf toys in order to fit the principles of Waldorf education and support a child’s learning and development in a holistic way. The basic principle is that toys should be open-ended and encourage children to use their imaginations, they are the active element and the toy is passive, as opposed to active toys that are all singing and dancing and entertain children without requiring much input from them.
Because of this you may find that individual toys are more expensive or appear expensive for what they are, but they will generally last longer and you will probably find you end up buying fewer. A beautiful handcrafted Waldorf inspired doll for example will be loved and played with for years and can be passed onto future generations. So while they may be more expensive initially they are certainly worth the money. Most Waldorf toys also have an excellent resale value.
Next Up: How Do You Wash a Waldorf Doll