I have a love for wooden toys…there is just something about them. The ‘organic’ (organic as natural, living) feel of the wood, the way in which the natural colours glow, the satisfying weight of the toy in your hand. When I came across Manzanita Kids on a recent ‘stroll’ through etsy, I was immediately taken with their toys.
Based in Seattle, Manzanita Kids is a family-run business with both David and Adrienne designing and building the gorgeous toys they have to offer. Drawing on inspiration from their lives as teacher, artist and architect, and likely no small contribution from their own one year-old son, the toys coming from the Manzanita workshop are not only beautiful, but are also exceptionally well thought-out, and provide tactile learning experiences for tiny hands.
One of my favourites is the sapling puzzle (pictured above). Not only does it look like a fun puzzle to put together, but the puzzle can quite literally ‘grow’. Begin with an acorn, and add the sprouting leaves (the base of the tree serves as the ground). Add the surrounding crown of the tree and a full fledged oak is formed. The little squirrel is the finishing touch!
Manzanita Kids also have several wonderful stacking toys within their line-up. With alternating walnut and maple pieces, the nesting birds are made to be played with. I haven’t yet come across another stacker quite like the rocking stacker. Pegs of different sizes and wood colours fit perfectly into a wooden platform; when all the pegs are in and evenly placed, the rocker balances on the curved base…but that isn’t the only configuration to keep it level. What a great way for children to learn balancing concepts!
Finally, the interlocking modular walls look fantastic! Designed with doorways and windows, as well as crenelated walls, this set could be a castle, a town or perhaps even a star base!
Well done David and Adrienne, what a brilliant shop.
Photos used with permission from David at Manzanita Kids.
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