Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Simple Play Corners

Keeping with our philosophy of very rarely buying new and when we do supporting small businesses, as well as making as much as we can with our own hands, I want to share some of our young children's favorite play things.

Our building branch blocks are a favorite. Our family makes them for our children and we also offer them in our shop and at Hip Mountain Mama.

Here is a little nook under our stairs.. the branches form fencing for the horses....

One purchase we made about 6 years ago was to buy a wooden kitchen. This kitchen has been used nearly every day and is right in our kitchen which offers pretend play while I am baking, cooking or cleaning.

This mop has become a daily favorite. A bucket is filled with warm water with just a touch of Murphy Soap and they get busy mopping our floors. We made the mop with a branch handle and hand crocheted cotton mop head that is removable to wash.

I enjoy knitting bunnies, gnomes and balls for our children as well as for sale.
Bunnies are filling our home, some to stay and some are hoping to find a home of their own.

What are your young children's favorite play things?

Warm wishes,


  1. plastic toy soldiers are a hit with my boys. My daughter loves to cook with me and play with all my kitchen utensils. I don't buy toys. The children get them from their grandparents. Toys take up room and you have to get your children to pick them up all the time. The less toys the better. Easier said than done, I know! Your handmade toys are precious.

  2. my children play with the gorgeous handmade toys we have purchased from you! in my last blog post you can see my 8 & 5 year old are playing playing with your memory game which I bought to give to a younger child - but it turned out that your toys are so amazing that my kiddos asked to keep them and create a memory food chain game where they have to flip over plants and animals in order up the food chain. And the fact that your toys entertain children of all ages, are beautifully made, and a joy to play with makes me so glad that i have found your space and store. keep up the fabulous work!

  3. Tonya, I am with you on your family's philosophy, and we try to do much the same. Now if the grandparents could only get on board... ;)

    I love your handmade toys. Do you sell, or share, the knit bunny pattern? My girls would love those!

  4. Same thing with us...the natural toys and homemade toys are the faves in our home. Kayla especially loves playing with her kitchen and also her knitted animals.

  5. My kids adore their blocks...and I love the look and feel of them! The play stand gets daily use as does the kitchen play things, dolls, and (ugh) they love their barbies!

  6. keep your eyes posted for the bunny pattern to be included in the spring issue of a lovely online magazine:)

  7. Oh how I love the look of baskets filled with wooden toys. I think my Little's favorite play things are their dress up clothes. They are in use daily. It's amazing what you can find at Goodwill.Next best thing is anything they have made themselves.

  8. Our branch blocks are favorites here too. My youngest still loves the gnomes you made. :) We have a local crafter that makes simple wooden trucks and trains. Those see alot of play as well.

  9. We have some branch blocks that we made when part of a tree came down in our yard. They haven't been a *favorite*, but they have been one of those valuable toys that gets pulled out and discovered anew with ever-increasing sophistication. My older kids build some pretty awesome looking structures the last time they played with them, while my 2 year old is still in the "stack-em-in-a-straight-tower" phase.

    Interestingly, my older 2 children have never played with toys all that much. There were some toys that they played with more than others, but none that I would say were indespensible. (Except my daughter's special Teddy that was her lovey.) They tended to gravitate toward gross-motor activities together: running around, jumping onto targets, dancing, bikes, etc. Even today -- they are 7 and 9 -- they get the most use out of books, bikes, board games, building sets (legos, building logs) and paper and tape (airplanes, origami, etc.)

    My middle son *loves* anything remote control, but he doesn't spend lots of time playing with them. He gets tremendous pleasure from them when he does, though. My Dad loves remote control and rocket kinds of things too, so it's become kind of a Grandpa/Grandson thing. Grandpa's Christmas present is always the one Alexander most looks forward too. I love that, even if they are made of plastic and require umpteen batteries. ;o)

    My 2 1/2 year old, in contrast to his siblings, plays with toys quite frequently and he has definate favorites. His brother's hand-me-down train set (Thomas/Brio type) gets *lots* of use. He also loves his Woody and Buzz Lightyear dolls. He plays out scenarios with them and has them talk to each other and to other family members. It's so cute! (Neither of the other 2 ever played with dolls like that, and it's fun to watch!) He likes his wooden hammer and peg workbench, and loves to put CD's in the CD player and crank up the volume! (I guess a CD player isn't technically a toy, but he loves it.)

  10. We have a mix of natural toys and plastic. My 4 year old boy spends much of his time with super heros right now. He also loves cars. Our almost one year old girl is enjoying blocks and cars. Her favorites though are her bunny blankets (the small blanket buddy type) that I knit for her. They are loveys and teethers... the perfect combination for a one year old.

  11. one of my kids favorite things to do when they were little was to play dress up...we had a big box full of dress up clothes and every day was a new adventure...I still have the dress up clothes but they don't get pulled out much at all any more. they grow up too fast.

  12. My little ones favorite toys are - a fairy house that my Ella who is 4 she made out of wood and painted with watercolor and my almost two year old, Vivian, loves her beeswax crayons.

    Best toy I ever bought was the play kitchen!

    I very much enjoyed your post.

  13. My six year old daughter also loves her blocks. She's had them since she was two and she alsways comes up with so many different ways to play with them.

  14. Dress ups are a big favorite around here (homemade!), as are the baby dolls and playing tea party. We don't have room for a play kitchen, but I'm looking at some options for my little girls (most likely in playmat form), to go with the tea party supplies. They all enjoy "Free Range Children" in the back yard. We're planning a playhouse tent for the warm months, and are planting the edges of the yard in pickable things (bachelor buttons, lavender, allyssum) and tall, mysterious things (sunflowers!) to create some controlled wild space to explore.

  15. My oldest has a Monkey that she carries everywhere (at 2 years old). My mom bought her a cradle and baby for christmas and that has been really fun for her. My youngest (10months) has an octopus that I made her and she likes to take whatever the oldest is currently playing with. Other than that they love to explore. Rocks, sticks, and snow are the biggest hits right now.