A toddler hides under a sheer scarf and likes to believe that no one can see her – the parent plays along, and the world becomes a magical place.  Preschoolers use scarves as wings to fly like birds, and can be tied around the shoulders or hips to create a spontaneous princess.   Scarves create magic and sets the stage for imaginative play.

Scarves are incredibly versatile, and can be used in so many ways, from silly peek-a-boo games with babies and toddlers, to serving the flights of imagination or spontaneous costumes through the preschool years, and even dress up fashion accents or fort building for older children.  In our Village class this week, we used “humongous scarfs” to make a colorful Maypole to dance in and around.  In Our Time, we used the scarves to move bumpy or smooth as we heard changes in the structure of the music.  In Imagine That, we sometimes use the different colors to help us identify different patterns in the music.  In the Young Child program, we use scarves for storytelling props and costumes to highlight musical stories, or to dance expressively matching the various styles of music we listen to.

Expressive dancing to music with scarves is fun, and beneficial, for ALL ages, even adults.  It is a great way to feel the beat of the music, and develop a musical flow in the body that can be very effective in helping musicians play instruments more expressively.

Simply said, scarves just have a way of bringing out the creative and expressive nature of children throughout their growing ages.

So, after a few weeks of scarf play in Kindermusik class, most parents are asking, “Where can I get some?”   I’m sure there are many places to get scarves, but these are three of my favorites, from very inexpensive to high quality silks.

At kindermusik.com ,  it is easy to purchase ONE sheer scarf or check out this set of scarves with two humongous scarves (30″x60″) and 3 small scarves (30″x30″).  If you order through this site, please tell them I sent you by typing in my educator code:  15788.  There’s a space for that on one of the ordering screens.   Kindermusik International appreciates knowing which educators are sending folks their way, and there are some perks for me when you add my number !

Of course, I love the Kindermusik scarves, but… if you want to take your scarf experience to another level, I recommend play scarves that are 100% silk, and large enough (35″x35″) to really be very versatile.  My little 8 year old Spitfire adores them and has consistently uses them since babyhood for everything from dancing, to dress up, to fort building with her brother, to baby blankets, to capes, etc.  The way these silks feel and flow is like no other scarf.  It is truly an enjoyable textural and visual experience.  We originally purchased them from the Magic Cabin and were kind of expensive,   (That’s why they were gifts.)  I was surprised that they no longer sell them, but found an excellent deal on a basketful through Amazon.  If that set is no longer available, just Google “play silks”, and explore the many options you can find.

Of course, the least expensive option can be the best opportunity to get a wide variety of colors and textures.   Make the rounds of the local thrift shops and search for scarves.  You only get the ones you like at the price you like, and you don’t have to pay shipping.   This is how I got started with scarves with my first child.   Many of these scarves were quite durable, and the different shapes offered many more options.  He loved to tie them onto things to drag them, or tie them all up to make his room look like a colorful spider web.  Since these were so cheap, I was OK with them being used outdoors, getting muddy, or even ripped.  I wasn’t so lenient with the play silks.

I highly recommend a whole basketful.  It is also fun to add different scents to each one by misting them with perfume, or dusting them with a little cinnamon or clove spice powder.  Or place a peppermint tea bag in the basket with the whole batch.  This sensory experience is great for babies, but also a lot of fun for everyone.   Scarves are great for multi-sensory play.

What is your favorite way to play with scarves with your child?  Please share some of the ways your child uses scarves  creatively.  Or, please share a good source for good scarves that I haven’t mentioned.