Amazing Wooden Toys from Eastern Europe

Plywood Tricycle

It’s been a while since I shared any new wooden playthings, definitely a favorite topic of mine. So today we’re traveling to Eastern Europe for a little snapshot of contemporary wooden toy design. After years of online searching, I’ve found that most kids’ stores all look very similar, following the same trends and stocking the same brands and designs. I like to go off the beaten path, and I’m always inspired by young creatives in countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Baltic States.

Here’s a small selection of cutting-edge toy designs from Eastern Europe—enjoy!

Colorful 3D Wooden Blocks

Colorful 3D Wooden Blocks
available from Minitremu

I discovered some outstanding objects at the Wool & Wood Exhibition showcasing the work of 23 Romanian creatives in Stockholm recently. Noteworthy toys include Eliza Yokina’s stackable wooden house game and the bright, clever designs of Monotremu. As part of its Minitremu project, this artistic duo has developed a series of 3-dimensional blocks inspired by Brancusi’s sculptures with the aim of “bringing art and understanding of art to a very tangible and accessible dimension for kids.” I love all their work so far.

Interchangeable Magnetic Wooden Animal Kingdom

Interchangeable Magnetic Wooden Animal Kingdom
available from ESNAF for $83

The Bulgarian architecture studio Archabits has just launched a new range of handcrafted wooden toys, all made from beech or oak, called ESNAF. Modern and natural (no varnish or paint), their wooden animal figures are assembled using embedded colored magnets. The parts are interchangeable, allowing kids to imagine weird and wonderful creatures or simply construct the traditional animal figure.

Wooden Interchangeable Puppets

Interchangeable Wooden Puppets
Available from Hravo

Hravo is a new ambitious project to re-activate traditional Slovak toy design. It aims to develop and prototype unique educational toys for pre-schoolers, and it presented its first collection of 3 designs in December 2013. Wood is Hravo’s material of choice.

Star of Time Wooden Puzzle

“Star of Time” Wooden Puzzle
Available from Hravo

Hravo does not intend to be another toy brand. It aspires to be a platform for Slovak architects, artists, and designers. All three toys in the debut collection stimulate children’s imagination and creativity. They are open-ended, offering multiple possibilities for play.

"The Flags" Wooden Puzzle

“The Flags” Wooden Puzzle
Available from Hravo

If you are interested in finding out more about the Hravo project, you can follow the company on Facebook and read this excellent post by DesignEast.

Pictured at the top of this post: Made entirely from plywood and timber, this wooden tricycle designed by Mihai Stamati was recently shown in Stockholm at the Wool & Wood exhibition organized by Romanian Design Week. Good looking and sturdy, the tricycle comes with a detachable basket that can fit on both the back and front. It is for sale in Bucharest. For more information, contact the designer here.