Those who have followed my blog for awhile know that I have an affinity for classic, wooden toys-- almost as much as my love for beautiful, well-made children's clothing. I also love to fill my home with lovely, timeless things that remind me of a bygone era. A few months ago, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts and the hostesses were discussing how, in earlier decades, people took so much pride in the items they fashioned and created. You couldn't just roll up to your local Walmart... I mean Target... and load up on groceries, cleaning supplies, clothes, home goods and windshield washer fluid. You bought your bread from a local baker who took great pride in their products, crafting them from the finest local ingredients. More than likely, you made a lot of the clothing for yourself and your children. Picking out special patterns while paying attention to the special details like pleats, darts and collars. People took pride in their homes, their flowerbeds and their appearance. Quality mattered more than quantity. Things were made to last, to endure.
As I was listening, it dawned on me that this mentality has a lot to do with my love of boutique children's clothing. I gravitate towards it because it reminds me of my grandparents and that bygone era. Thoughtfully created items made with quality materials, attention to detail and designed to endure. Even more, I love clothes and toys that just allow kids to look and play like kids. As parents, we all know that the years pass by far too quickly. I know I long to preserve that sweetness and innocence as long as possible and surround my children with things which inspire truth, beauty and goodness.
"The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things." -Plato
"Choosing toys is not about 'good toys' versus 'bad toys.' Rather, it's about bringing a new consciousness to selecting children's playthings. Is it beautiful? Does it feel good? Does it leave room for the imagination? Will it inspire imitative play?" -Sarah Baldwin M.S.Ed. and owner of Bella Luna Toys
Without further ado, I endeavored to make this year's list reflect timeless, quality toys which have the ability to endure for generations. I wanted each item to be one that a child from decades past would be able to pick up and immediately know how to play with it. I hope you find a treasure or two to add under your Christmas tree this year.
There are tons of of different sets and themes to choose from at Uncle Goose Blocks. These blocks are like nothing I have ever seen before. The craftsmanship and small details (you can only see when holding in person) are absolutely extraordinary. We have the United States of America set featured below. I was absolutely blown away when we unboxed this set
One side of the block has the # in order of when that state entered the Union (signed the Declaration of Independence.) Another side has the sates abbreviation and is surrounded with embossed elements that tell the state tree, bird, animal and more. Another side shows the state's capital and a final side acts as a puzzle as seen below.
I recently discovered this Etsy shop owner who focuses on quality crafted woodworks for home, school, and play
Bow and Arrow Sets come in two sizes. Arrows have felt ball tips. Bow string is bungee to send arrows the distance!
I was SO thrilled to find this sewing board for Holiday. She has been asking for sewing lessons or a kit to do knitting or crochet and this Mama is clueless! Since plastic canvas isn't really a thing anymore, I thought this was amazing to learn basic stitches and loops! I'm fairly certain this will be one of her most exciting Christmas gifts under the tree this year!
How fun is this little slingshot? I ordered a bunch of these to use as little gifts throughout the holiday season
This might be a new concept for many of you, this is a Waldorf Birthday Ring which is a wonderful tradition for birthdays and other special occasions and holidays. You can find many "birthday ring ornaments" online to decorate for special occasions, seasons and holidays. Holiday is seven and STILL is obsessed with blowing out candles! We also plan to use our birthday ring this year to celebrate the Advent season. You can read more about the Waldorf Birthday Ring Tradition HERE.
This constellations discs are amazing! See the pic below to use sort of like a "shadow puppet" for your budding astronomers. You can see when making selections that $7 is for the basic 6 coins or you can choose the larger set and add on the drawstring bag (which in my opinion is SO awesome and worth it!)
GRIMM's WOODEN TOYS
Grimm is well known as a leader in the toy industry for the natural and sustainable, beautifully toys hand-crafted in Germany. It is worth the time to read about their products on their website. I wholeheartedly believe that you are buying a superior quality toy. Furthermore, they make toys that babies, toddlers and children are so drawn to and delighted to play with. The colors, shapes and textures are irresistible and offer a very open-ended type of creative play.
I think these rainbow nesting blocks are THE quintessential toy from Grimm's. Don't fool yourself into thinking this is simply a toy for the baby/toddler/preschooler age. Even older children are highly engaged with the simple toy and the creative building these curved pieces afford.
Sarah's Silks have been a long-time favorite in our house. Holiday has had the set of play scarves for the past 5 years and uses them for endless types of play. They are often turned into leashes for her stuffed animals or a blue one is used to create a water feature while the green scarf provides a lovely pasture for her toy horses to graze. The silky texture and vibrant colors are super inviting for play
Hearth and hand for target
I immediately fell in love with these two items when I saw the preview of Magnolia's collection for Target, Hearth and Hand. I'm sure these are mass produced and don't have the same wood qualities of other toys listed on this blog, but they are beautiful, wooden and classic.
This Radio Flyer Walker Wagon has been a favorite of our family for years. Holiday learned to walk behind it. I liked this particular toy so much better than the other walker toys because it actually has a little weight to it and doesn't easily tip over. Once little ones are toddling around, it makes a favorite wagon to load blocks and stuffed animals into!
Nova Natural Toys AND CRAFTs
Little house on the prairie
We're kind of obsessed with Little House on the Prairie at our house. When you think of classic, it doesn't get more classic than Little House. In previous years, I listed the whole paperback set of the My First Little House Books which you can find HERE
Recently, I discovered this GORGEOUS treasury of the My First Little House Picture Books. It is just as charming, if not more so, than the individual books. It contains size of the stories with all of the illustrations. It is really a beautiful, well done treasury book. I love the My First Little House series because it is VERY true to the original Little House books by Laura Ingallas Wilder. It pulls out the best of the stories contained in those novels and re-tells them in a simplified, engaging way.
Many of you know, we are American Girl Doll OBSESSED at our house. With Holiday being equally obsessed with Little House, she will be receiving an American Girl custom doll made to look like Laura. If you're into American Girl, you've likely heard of The Queen's Treasures which is a company that makes doll accessories and furniture to fit 18in dolls. A few years back, they came out with an entire Little House on the Prairie Collection. There are a lot of amazing pieces and they've been consistently adding to it. NOTE- THIS IS SOOOO IMPORTANT, if you want to order from The Queen's Treasures, order directly from their site AND REGISTER AN ACCOUNT. WHEN YOU REGISTER, ALL OF THE PRICES WILL DROP SIGNIFICANTLY. When you go to their site, click on the "Log In/ Create an Account" in the top right corner. This covered wagon below ALSO CONVERTS TO A SLEIGH and easily sits two 18 in dolls!
SOOOO... if you're ever read the Little House series, you'll know the story of their Christmas in the Little House in the Big Woods. It was a super special Christmas for Laura because she received her rag doll, Charlotte in addition to her red mittens and peppermint stick the other children received. The Ingalls girls also received Christmas pennies so I LOVED that The Queen's Treasures came out with this doll sized collection of Laura's Christmas gifts!
At age 7, the original Little House series is an easy read for Holiday. This is also a fantastic series to listen to on Audiobook! Audiobook narrators can make all the difference, so I HIGHLY recommend if you listen on audiobook that you get the ones narrated by CHERRY JONES!
There are several different boxed sets of these books, this one is BY FAR my favorite. Well done, beautiful books with wonderful illustrations.
The Little House Christmas Treasury includes stories from all of the Christmases in Wilder's novels-- it really is a wonderful compilation!
Ostheimer Wooden Toys are collectible hand carved figures made in Germany and finished with non-toxic stains and finished with natural oils. Collections include: Family Figures, Fairy Tale Characters, Farm Animals, Woodland Animals, Zoo Animals, and landscape pieces, such as Trees, Fences, Ponds, Grass and much more! There are so many options, check them all out HERE Note, these pieces are quite large!
Maileg is a personal favorite of mine. They make the most delightful tiny mice and bunnies with adorable accessories. We have quite of the few mice in boxes and adore them! Check out some of my favorites from Maileg below:
Teagan White is my FAVORITE children's book illustrator-- you will absolutely fall in love with her characters. I just don't think any child is too old for picture books! The Towering Tree puzzle is a large piece puzzle and is double sided! One side depicts a fall/winter landscape while the other side shows all the forest animals enjoying spring/summer. It is DELIGHTFUL and such an adorable collection to any collection!
This alphabet book is so well written and also takes readers through the months of the year!
Although written by Annie Silvestro, Teagan White illstrated Mice Skating and it's lovely!
Hazel village stuffed animals
Hazel Village stuffed animals are completely irresistible to me in their adorable little outfits and accessories!
I'm admittedly not crazy about a lot of what I see on Disney and Nickelodeon these days-- especially with the older kids programming, not so much the junior stations. I LOVE old school television shows and decided to introduce Holiday to them and she fell in love just as much as me! Dennis the Menace is by far her favorite. We own every single season, but this collection of "20 Timeless Episdoes" is AMAZING! My husband and I laugh right along with her and constantly lament that family comedies just aren't written like this anymore!
Leave it to Beaver is also a major favorite!
Holiday saw a preview for Father Knows Best on one of her other shows and begged for it. Not surprisingly, she loves it just as much as the other two mentioned above