WTF is a Play Silk?
You've probably ended up here because you've seen some kids playing with big coloured pieces of fabric and the adults are calling them Play Silks and you're wondering what the hell they actually are?
Or maybe you were checking out the EarthSylk collection of cruelty-free Play Sylks and didn't quite get it...
Isn't it just a piece of material?
Well friend, the short answer is yes - Play Silks are just pieces of material (usually made from silk or a cruelty-free alternative like soy-sylk - more on that later).
But while we've got you here, we are going to give you the long answer too. As well as give you 30 ideas on how to use Play Silks so stay tuned.
Play Silks have been a staple in Waldorf & Steiner focussed classrooms since their initiation some 100 years ago. It is probably also likely that kids having been playing with scraps of fabric from the sewing room floor since the beginning of fabric's time way before we coined the term Play Silk.
We are writing this in 2019, Play Silks are starting to gain mainstream popularity along with the open ended toy revival. Parents and educators are turning away from closed, limiting toys and resources and consciously choosing toys and materials that help stimulate little minds and give them best opportunity for brain development. Scientists are backing this stuff up. You can read more about "Why Wooden Toys Are Better" here.
We'd argue that Play Silks are one of the most open-ended 'toys' on the block
Yes they are 'just a piece of material' but you probably won't believe it until you see it with your own kids - just how versatile they are!
It's quite interesting how children are just drawn to them. Is it the colours? Is it the soft sensory feel of the silk? Is it just that they don't present like a normal 'toy' therefore more interesting by default? Who knows, but we are told time and time again how they are the first reached for 'toy' in the play room.
You don't need to show your kids how to use a Play Silk - they will show you! But here are 30 ways that we have seen them be used...
30 ways to use a Play Silk
1. Tied on as a cape
2. Worn as butterfly wings
3. Blue used to represent water in small world play
4. Green forests for animals
5. A blanket for dolly
6. Wrap someone up like a burrito
7. A picnic blanket
8. Used as an island when the floor is lava!
9. Pirate scarf
10. Practice tying knots
11. Tied to a stick as a cubby flag
12. Have a bath with a few - wet silk feels interesting!
13. Wrap a present
14. Magic carpet ride
15. Genie pants
16. Colour matching
17. Stuffed in a tissue box for baby to pull out
18. Brown for the earth
19. Dance like a ballerina
20. Jumping off things and trying to fly
21. Draped over a Pikler Triangle or frame as a cubby
22. Toga parties
23. A belt to hold a sword
24. Hiding treasures
26. Hung on a play bar for baby
27. A sling for playing doctors
28. Play hide and seek
29. Practice pegging them to a clothes line
30. A blindfold for games
This list is just the beginning. Safe to say love Play Silks.
WE LOVE PLAY SILKS BUT WE DON'T LOVE SILK!
When we found out what happens to silk worms when harvesting traditional silk we knew there had to be a better way. Over 6000 silk worms are boiled alive inside their cocoons to make approx 1kg of silk. They never get to become butterflies! Boo. We don't want to be a part of that if we don't have to.
EarthSylk is Australia's first (perhaps even a world-first!) natural and cruelty free Play Silk company. There are some polyster/chiffon vegan options on the market but in the interest of avoiding plastic and synthetic materials, EarthSylk uses 100% natural soy-based sylk for its Play Sylk range. Dyed using 100% plant based non toxic dyes, it's a cruelty-free alternative to other play silks on the market.
Soy sylk is pretty similar in look and feel to traditional sylk. It's not exactly the same of course, a tad heavier and a tiny bit less shiny - but in the interest of those butterflies, we think it's perfect!
NO! You don't have to buy a purpose made Play Silk...
Your babes can do all those 30 things and more with a piece of material you may have lying around! Try it! Look for a light weight, strong, natural material and cut and hem to around 85 x 85cm. You want something really light so it can be tied easily by little hands and so it drapes and floats in that oh-so-satisfying silky way.
If hemming ain't your jam check out the EarthSylk range of Play Sylks and let us know how your babes play!