Maya wrote in with a store recommendation for us: I found a wonderful source for handmade wooden toys just around the corner from my house, but available to all via the web. German toymaker, Gunther Keil, has been creating whimsical playthings for over thirty years and uses quality craftsmanship and non-toxic finishes...the way toys used to be made! He lives on a farm in upstate New York and has a studio that feels like you've entered Gepetto's workshop. Gunther has quite a selection of collector's item as well as things suitable for little ones. Check out his site and look for the puzzles, piggy banks, and pull toys, in particular.
Well, we did check them out and think they're great. Here are a few of our favorites.
Like all their toys, these habitats ($66) are handcut and include enough pieces to create an environment and stimulate imaginative play. Choose from Brontosaurus, Elephant, Dog, Kitten or Rabbit.
These wooden banks ($17.50) are great for socking away savings. If they're too plain for your taste, think about painting or decoupaging them.
Wild Apples makes several wooden ark and animal sets. This one above, the Heirloom Ark, is the largest ($240) and is intended to become a family treasure. It includes Noah and his wife, a ramp and 40 animals (20 pairs). Additional animals and smaller-scale arks are also available.
If you want to splurge on something really beautiful, we love this Tree of Life wood sculpture ($195).
To see the whole kit and kaboodle, visit Wild Apples online. Or, if you're near Trumansburg, NY, you can visit them at 4487 Rabbit Run Road. Thanks for the tip, Maya!