Natural Play, The Wooden Way

Natural Wood Toy Boats

Once upon a time children had simple toys. They made up their own games, playing outside in all weather, and amused themselves with very little. Inventing, imagining, exploring… having fun.

I know it sounds idyllic and probably far-fetched but I have good memories of growing up in the UK during the 60’s and 70’s. Our playthings were pretty basic but they were made to last and I think that we appreciated what we had.

I’ve written about “slow play” before, and it’s no secret that I’m a fan of handmade wooden toys. Even if my own three children are growing up fast, I still enjoy scouring the web for new toymakers and designers – there’s so much wonderful creativity out there! I’d like to share some recent finds, all made from wood and all perfectly simple. Enjoy!

Family of Play Wooden ChickensWooden Chicken Family Toy
Approx $13 from Three Trees

Well, I know Easter is behind us but what a fun, original little play set this is! Made by Three Trees – rising star in the Czech toy world – these brightly illustrated fowl (hen, rooster, and three little chicks) come in a colorful bag and are ideal for traveling, inventing stories, and kids’ role play.

Wooden Toy Fishing Kit

Toy Fishing Kit 
from Eperfa

Wooden Bird Egg Bowling Set
Bird Egg Bowling Set
from Eperfa

Wooden Magnetic Fish Puzzles

Magnetic Fish Puzzles
from Eperfa

If your family appreciates responsibly-made wooden eco-toys, I am pretty certain that you will love the spring/summer catalogue of Hungarian brand Dombon-a-Tanya. Inspired by the hills around Budapest and the country’s largest lake, Lake Balaton, Anna Nóra Nagy & Emese Berán have designed one of the nicest wooden toy collections I have ever seen. Take your time to discover the magnetic fish puzzles, egg pétanque, and fishing set (all shown above). But also make sure to see the beautiful woodland animal and bird set, mountain door stopper, and spinning tops on their e-shop, Eperfa. For prices and more information contact Nóra via Facebook.

Wooden Sheep Knitting Kit Woody Knitting Toy
Approx $26 from Les Jouets Libres

Last but by no means least, French company Les Jouets Libres have just released a new wooden sheep toy for children to decorate with wool. Little ones can choose from three colors of wool, originating from one of the very last wool mills in France. With a bit of patience and dexterity, they can then “knit” their sheep a new thick fleece. A nice crafty gift, perfect for play and display!

At top: Toy Wooden Boats via Sarmiento 

Sarmiento is one of my favorite finds this year! I came across this Argentinian brand in January and love every single item in their catalogue. Sarmiento’s toys are all made from recycled surplus offcuts and have a deliberately simple aesthetic. In addition to these beautiful wooden boats, the fledgling company makes wooden block sets, cars, building kits and tangrams. Check out their Facebook page and e-shop now!