There has been such great interest in my previous post about wooden toys for toddlers that I thought I’d provide an update with some new picks, new sites, and some handmade toys that we love too. Here it is, just in time for Cyber Monday. I don’t vouch for any of these companies, as I’ve just discovered them myself, or been directed to them by my crunchy parent friends in NY, The Not Quite Crunchy Parent, or Mothering Magazine’s shopping guide. Many offer Waldorf and Waldorf-inspired toys, which are great!
Fun places to browse or shop for toys:
Back to Basics Toys: http://www.backtobasicstoys.com/category/Classic_Toys
Blueberry Forest Toys: http://www.blueberryforest.com/
The Construction Site: http://www.constructiontoys.com/
Constructive Playthings: http://www.constplay.com/family/default.htm
Discovery Toys: http://www.discoverytoysinc.com/ (DC shoppers can email Carmelazega@aol.com to order if they don’t already have a consultant relationship.)
Fat Brain Toys: http://www.fatbraintoys.com/toys/toy_categories/baby_toddler/activity_toys/index.cfm
Little Wonderland: http://www.uniquewoodentoys.com/
Oompa Toys: http://www.oompa.com/
RabbitnDuck: http://www.rabbitnduck.com/ which carries Haba Toys (http://www.haba.de/Toys.245.0.html) and several other European brands
Rosie Hippo: http://www.rosiehippo.com/categorydept.asp?deptid=3
The Sensory Edge: http://www.sensoryedge.com/woodenblocks.html?gclid=CIf7_sKe4IgCFRVSVAodnm9NqA
Usborne Books: www.ubah.com/HOS75107
Willow Tree Toys: http://www.willowtreetoys.com/
What we’re considering: Take Apart Townhouse from IP Preschool, like this one at Growing Tree Toys; cardboard building blocks, from Melissa and Doug or Discount School Supply; Eric Carle wood block puzzle, like this one at Rightstart.com; a wood or wood and foam geometric sorter; and wood trucks or a playset, like the ones made by Haba or Woody Click. I particularly like the Scoop, Bobcat, and Dump Truck shown at http://www.oompa.com/cgi-bin/category/Wooden_Toys_SET. These guys are cool. They’re a puzzle that you put together first and then play construction trucks with. We also like the wooden scale at Oompa for its design, but I think it’s overpriced.
What we’d love to find: a construction set or block set that requires tools. Widget loves loves loves to hammer, and we make up plenty of games, but it would be neat to have blocks that need hammering or drilling or something too. There’s a toolbox from Melissa and Doug, but it’s not as stimulating as something that “needs fixing.”
What we’re looking forward to: I found this little construction set for ages 4+, but the munchkin is only 2, so that’s something for another year. We’re also looking at marble runs from Quadrilla, Hearthsong, or even Discount School Supply (plastic, but inexpensive) once Widget and his brother are over 3 or at least beyond the marble swallowing stage. Tinkertoys and unit blocks will be big for us next year, with a standard kindergarten set or mini sets available from Guidecraft USA. Oh, and if this building interest continues? There’s always more fun to be made from PVC pipe or Tobeez.
What I was most pleased to find: I was thrilled to run across this old-fashioned step rocking boat featured at A Toy Garden. This was one of my all-time favorite toys in preschool and later, when we cared for toddlers and preschoolers at the church. It’s amazing what a group of kids can find to do with it! That’s my definition of a classic toy: something that stimulates the imagination, can be used three different ways, and doesn’t dictate the game or story that is being played. Childhood is a magic time, and toys are just the tools to help make it so. They can help make it easier to pretend, or to build, or to create, but we have to remember to set up an encouraging environment, meet the child’s needs, and step back and let the child enjoy in his own way, and in his own time. Whether the child plays with sticks and leaves in the garden, or the fanciest of toys from Willow Tree, it’s the imagination that is in the end the most valuable of all.
We found this toy:
at a holiday craft fair a few weeks ago, and though it’s not a construction set, it does have the tools and the nails, screws, and bolts that little ones need to “fix” the truck. I haven’t found the exact toy at an online store based in the US, but I thought I’d share this as another option!
Wow, I like that! Thanks for the link! It’s so much fun to look at all the cool toys that everyone comes up with, isn’t it?
A friend sent me this link as an option too. I really like it, although it’s for slightly older kids, as there are real trucks and such to take apart and put back together with the tools. When he’s the right age, Widget is going to love it!
I actually found some construction toys at Michael’s…before the holidays. They are little packs to make an airplane, car etc – just the pre-cut wood – you can then paint them and glue or nail them together…but, they seem to have been bumped for the holidays.
I’ve also been trying to get a construction set together for my DS. A few months ago I took him and a friend to the hardware store ( a real old fashioned one) and bought them each a tool kit. The friendly owner was more than happy to find a small box and fill it up for me with small hammer, screwdriver, etc. About $30.00 later we had tools, nails, screws, washers and a few small pieces of wood for them to hammer. Viola – construction set 😉
BTW – I hit send too quick..thanks for the mention!
We just found a great construction set for Cool Mom Picks that we’re publishing tomorrow morning (Thursday). Check it out – maybe it’s what you’re looking for?
Great links by the way! I’m all about the wooden toys.
For those of you with little princesses… I found a great site for the cutest dress-up tutu and dance type clothes and accessories for little girls, called MiaBellaTutu.com! They are very reasonably priced, surprisingly durable, and have provided hours of fairy play in our house!
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