Where to buy eco-friendly, timber or handmade toys for children

Posted under Toys and Toy shops

15Nov

In 2006, I was lucky enough to purchase the most glorious wee felt folk in a seedpod shaped hanging bag from a business called The Friendship Tree
Started by two sisters, Kim and Donna, in Melbourne many years ago, their work is divine and has inspired many a toadstool house, I’m sure!
The girls have a broad range of wooden toys, wee felt folk, playmats, accessories for storytelling and things to decorate children’s bedrooms. But you may find, as I did, that your purchase feeds the child within you and you can’t bear to part with it!  Luckily, there are plenty of choices, just perfect for imaginative play.

Three Sisters Toys is another favourite of mine for all kinds of things. I’m coveting the little cuckoo whistle for under $5. What a great stocking filler! And with the strength of the Aussie dollar, there are plenty of bargains to be had. (Not so green of me, I know, with air miles and carbon output, but the same product here has already travelled the same distance, and sometimes the retailer wants double the price.)
Bright Buttons Toys is a new find.  These guys had a stall at the Mathilde’s Markets and I was loving the home corner toys especially.  They are not things I might normally find in my kindergarten, especially if I am hopeful (and supportive) that children will use their own imaginative energy to ‘create’ or find something they can use to represent a teapot, cup, sugar, teabag, kitchen, shop etc, but older children (6 +) sometimes want or need something more tangible/supportive during their final stage of transition from kindergartener to primary school child.
For those families who know their children are going to be given toys for gifts, it helps to be able to point family and friends in the direction of something you might think is suitable for their play, even if you wouldn’t necessarily purchase it yourself.  I’d much rather Ned have a gorgeous cloth teepee cubby, a cute timber kitchen and baking set, a french knitting kit in the shape of a Queen, or a sustainable bamboo truck than cheap and cheerful plastic rubbish, wouldn’t you?   And I’ll be doubly pleased by their efforts to support the creative raising of my eco-aware children.  Win win!

Children can never pass up a set of sweet timber animals, can they?
Toys 4 Tot has well priced sets of cows, echidnas, polar bears, lions, geese on a pond, a forest set, a farm set, a horse set, and wooden fences. Some are nicer than others. I particularly love the cows and the horses. In comparison to other wooden animals/sets I know of, these prices are realistic and affordable and are value for money.
They also sell the musical twirl- a tree shaped musical instrument that is played by rolling a marble/s down from the top. I bought one of these about 12 years ago for my school, and a more commercial version for myself about 6 years ago, but I havent seen them again since. This one is pretty cool and a funky accessory for bedrooms in later years. Just be sure to keep marbles out of reach, unless under supervision.

 

I really love Gary’s creations at Bentsticks . I’ve posted about his exquisite work before, but if you haven’t stopped by or had an excuse to buy before, Christmas might be the perfect opportunity.

Check out the delightful Pixie doors.  Children can build their own block creations and pop these into their play for that little bit of elf fantasy.  As a child, I would have fallen in love with this!  My love of all things beautiful is one thing, but being a practical taurus too, the Pixie Bookends really catch my attention.  Yes, my attention. Somehow, I dont think, even with good intention, that these would last long in either of my children’s rooms. Nope, I’d have to snaffle them! But get in quick… I can’t imagine Gary has too many pieces left as he has just completed a run of fetes.

I’ve saved my newest favourite until last, and unfortunately only Gold Coast locals will be able to access these great toys. Made by a local Grandpa, “Flash Toys” are cars and trucks ranging from $10 for a small car to $50 for the big solid walled truck as shown. There are concrete trucks, aeroplanes, helicopters, utes, short semi’s and one big long semi that even has its own ramp, and a place to put the ramp when you ‘drive’. Honestly, in all my years searching for well made, durable cars and trucks in plain timber, these trucks top the list BY A LONG SHOT!

 (This is Ned’s Christmas present from Santa! The Moondew cars, also from Flash toys, can fit right inside the Pantec trailer.  How neat!)

 The trucks and cars are designed with moving parts.
Knobs to turn gates shut, levers to lift trays and rotors to twirl.

 This one already belongs to Ned.  The tray lifts and tilts and the tailgate folds down.
Bek and the girls from Fingerprints gave this to him for his birthday and it is one of his favourites.

 

The only way to purchase a Flash Toy is to head to Carrara Markets, either Saturdays or Sundays, on Nerang-Broadbeach Road.  (Australian readers might try calling 07 55 311 335 to enquire about postage to your bit of the world).   Visit the big shed in the old part of the market, and you’ll find the shop “Carol’s Craft” on the left side.  Take your fancy.  Make sure you say hi for me!

4 Responses to “Where to buy eco-friendly, timber or handmade toys for children”

  1. Donna

    I love Flash toys. My boys still have the wooden trucks and loaders that they got for Christmas 12 years ago from this lovely man. Grace now has the joy of playing with them!

  2. Amber Greene

    I can’t believe I didnt know about him till now! Honestly, where has my head been? I could have filled the kindy with these toys, so strong and durable instead of all the ones I tried over the years!
    I miss you, lets catch up soon!

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