The lovely idea for a Family Wish Bowl from Olde Common Candles.
This article at Magic Onions about a childhood of elemental simplicity. I love what Rick Tan has to say about keeping our children's environments simple. I haven't been a purist in keeping my children's environment completely natural. However, I have avoided electronic and "one-use" toys. We've always had lots of Legos, Playmobil, blocks, train set, cars and play figures like dinosaurs etc.
Just as an aside, I remember talking to the mother of an infant during a playgroup when my kids were about four and six. In passing I mentioned that we did not have any battery operated toys. She was amazed and couldn't imagine what in the world they played with. I knew that our discussion had had an effect on her when, at the next playgroup, she mentioned that she had gone home and purged all the battery operated toys and was asking relatives to give more open-ended things for the upcoming holiday. The best part was that she had seen an immediate difference in her baby's engagement with her environment and had realized that without the talking, flashing, beeping prop between them they were actually interacting on a more elemental level. It was really cool! I'll admit that I actually didn't avoid battery operated because I thought they weren't all that great for my kids. I avoided them because I couldn't tolerate the noise! Knowing what I know now I'm glad I have a low tolerance for electronic noise!
This cool Rubber Band Pinball toy found at Journey Into Unschooling
Last, but not least, this post from Life is Not a Cereal outlining a 36-week art appreciation curriculum. We don't homeschool, but I do try to expose my children to things they don't get as in depth in school (like art and music) through our nightly reading. This curriculum is absolutely perfect!