When using a Waldorf approach to education, toys aimed at open-ended play are used, peg dolls are a great example. Waldorf peg dolls have featureless faces that let children imagine the emotion of the peg doll. Maybe they’re happy, crying, asleep, alert. They provide much more scope for the imagination.
Peg dolls are fairly cheap to buy, are made of wood, a natural material, and it’s fun to make clothes, hair and accessories for them. The photos above show some we made clothes for with scraps of fabric with a bit of roving for the hair. My four-year-old daughter plays with them for hours, she adores them.
It’s a good idea to get peg dolls of different sizes so you can create a family, with this little set we made a mummy, daddy and a few children with a little baby in a sling on the mummy. My daughter especially likes the baby in the sling! You can make clothes that can be taken on and off, these require a little more effort because ties, buttons, ribbons, velcro etc will need to be added to them. The easier alternative is to permanently attach them to the peg dolls, for this set I used hot glue.
If you’re feeling particularly crafty you could even knit them some clothes with cocktail sticks, or perhaps crochet some clothes with the tiniest crochet hook you can find. By far the simplest way to decorate your peg dolls is to paint them. You can use watercolour paints which are absorbed by the wood creating such a lovely colour, you can seal the paint by using a natural, non-toxic oil such as linseed. It is also possible to paint them with acrylic paints but these can be toxic and the paint chips off so I wouldn’t recommend using those for this project.