Cradling a doll that has been crafted in the traditional style of a Waldorf doll for the first time is an unforgettable experience. It’s an experience that makes one want to just linger in that moment for quite some time, just taking in the striking simplicity and natural beauty. It’s no surprise that children are so drawn to these beautiful dolls.
So just what is it that make these dolls so special?
The facial expression is simple. Most Waldorf dolls have faintly hand-painted or embroidered facial features that are typically very basic, and some faces are even left intentionally without facial features at all. The idea behind such simplicity, which is a stark contrast from the artificial facial expressions present in most mass-produced dolls available today, is that the emotions and expressions of the doll is left open to the child’s interpretation. When this much room is left for imagination, the child plays to create, and the play is free and without boundaries of pre-conceived ideas of which emotions a doll should have at any given moment during play.
The dress is simple, and the colors are natural, often earth tones. You won’t find any sparkles or glamorous jewelry adorning a Waldorf doll. Instead, you will find a doll dressed in a simple pair of overalls, dress, or baby gown. Colors are soothing to the senses and are usually earth tones that children are drawn to without being over-stimulated.
The shape is flexible and the texture soft. The shape of a Waldorf doll is simple, mostly unformed, and does not contain too much detail. Just as the facial expression is left without too much detail, the shape of the doll’s body itself is very basic, while still having a soft, nurturing texture with a flexible form that is easy for children to grasp and cuddle.
The doll is made from natural materials. Waldorf dolls are typically crafted entirely from natural materials, from the stuffing to the threads to the yarn used for the hair. Exquisitely and lovingly put together, often handmade, each doll encourages creativity and nourishes a child’s senses. These beautiful dolls are often made from organic cotton and filled with organic wool or cotton. Their clothing is usually made from cotton or wool in rich, natural colors. The doll’s hair is often made from wool, cotton or mohair yarn. A doll made from natural fibers embodies everything that is nature and allows a child to feel even closer to nature as they play with their toy. Just a child learns best while in nature, a child’s connection with nature is stronger as they play with a toy made from natural materials.
All of these characteristics are deeply connected. The Waldorf doll is created to inspire children in play rather to place boundaries on their play. Each toy awaits uninhibited, complete expression of the young mind and encourages imaginative play.