I’ve gotten my fair share of eye rolls from both sides of the family when I set boundaries on the types of toys I’ll accept as gifts for my son. It’s true, I’m a bit picky, but my boundaries come from a good place. I don’t like waste and I don’t like excess. I decided early on that we would teach my son to live in moderation. To have what he needs and share the rest. I believe firmly that he’ll have to live this in order to understand it. His playroom is relatively simple. We’ve splurged on toddler height shelves and a few toys that can be used at many stages. I also work to rotate his toys to keep his room tidy and clutter free. Instead of purchasing noisy gadgets, I work to curate his play room with toys that are environmentally friendly and made with high quality non-toxic materials. I enjoy spurring his imagination and work hard to encourage independent play. Nevertheless, he outgrows his toys and every few months needs a few items to keep him going.

If you’re looking for mainstream toys some of my favorite eco-friendly brands include Grimms Wooden Toys, Haba, Hape, and PlanToys. However, I have found that I can support many local business and find heirloom quality toys on Etsy. It takes a bit of work to find true craftsmanship, but it is well worth the effort. I’d like to share a list of toys that I’ve either purchased (and loved) or that are on my wish list for the future.

My most recent purchase from Etsy is this handmade alphabet puzzle. I opted for the hardwood upgrade. It’s not cheap, but many of the reviews touted its heirloom quality (and they weren’t wrong) and amazing craftsmanship.

ABC Uppercase Block Puzzle $46.50

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A stacking ring is an essential part of every montessori inspired playroom. This one by Heirloom Kids is beautiful.

Montessori Inspired Stacking Rings $39.99

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Once my little one gets a bit older and is ready to practice his alphabet, this is an item that I hope to add to his playroom.

Alphabet Chips $34.99

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I also gravitate toward toys that can be dual purpose. Below is a perfect example of a toy that will automatically get used in different ways.

Wooden Ocean Animals Puzzle $39.99

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Here is the most beautiful numbers puzzle I’ve ever seen. This is another item that is really high on the list of things I’d like to purchase for my son in the VERY near future.

0-9 Numbers Puzzle $50.00

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If you’re looking to add something to your playroom (or home) that will last years and years, I think this item will do the trick. It’s beautiful, practical, and a fantastic teaching tool.

Wooden Perpetual Calendar $350

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One of our goals for the next five years is to visit each continent. These continent storage boxes will be a great addition for collecting items from our travels.

7 Continent Boxes $315 

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Lastly, not all toys have to be purchased, some toys can be made. Now that our kids have more time on their hands, maybe they’d enjoy taking part in creating their own beautiful toys. I’ve made a few for my son and it brings a special kind of joy when I see him playing with some of the toys I’ve made. Also, this option can be a bit more affordable. One of my favorite stores to purchase unfinished wooden toys is Clickity Clack.

I’ve painted peg dolls and a series of sea animals. They do require a little bit of sanding, but the results are well worth the elbow grease. Here is the next project I’ve been eyeing.

Unfinished Wooden Cityscape $10.00

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I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge that talking about spending might be tough for a lot of us right now. Perhaps talking about buying new toys is tough, let alone toys that cost upwards of $25. Of course, we can only purchase what we are able to. What I would encourage is for all of us to make more conscious decisions to support small American businesses. Not because other countries can’t produce beautiful things, but because our neighbors and our communities need our support. If you are able to, support small business. If you are able to, support our communities.

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