Imaginative Design: Toys That Promote Open-Ended Play

Imaginative Design: Toys That Promote Open-Ended Play

Lauren Pavao
Oct 29, 2012

Toys that promote open-ended play require imagination and tend to hold a child's attention longer than toys that rely solely on visual or aural stimulation. This means they get more action during playtime, can often be used indoors and out, and are perfect for babies, toddlers, and older kids. When such toys are beautifully crafted and are safe enough for baby's mouth, too, they are well worth the investment.

Toys that don't require batteries, are made with an eye to design, and won't be forgotten after the first play: what more could a parent want? I've rounded up some of my favorites below.

1. Nesting Bowls Children of all ages love containers for sorting, counting, carrying, helping in the kitchen, building, you name it. These nesting bowls from Bella Luna Toys are solid wood and colored with vegetable dyes so baby can even teeth on them safely.

2. Building Blocks Every imaginative playroom needs a set of building blocks, a toy that allows the whole family to get involved; even baby can join in once the smaller pieces have been removed. The maker of these blocks, Plan Toys, kiln-dries its wood to seal it without chemicals and has won several awards for its unique craftsmanship.

3. Animals These precious wooden animals from Snapdragon Fortress are sealed with beeswax to stand up to years of play. They are also safe for baby and would be great sandbox toys, dollhouse inhabitants, or citizens for a building block city.

4. Bucket and Shovel This sand play set comes in gorgeous colors and is also great for gardening, play-kitchen cooking, or treasure collecting. Green Toys makes all of its products from recycled milk jugs and colors them with non-toxic dyes.

5. Playstand A playstand is a Waldorf staple and can be mixed with play silks or even old sheets to create a fort, house, castle, cave, classroom, or anything else your child can imagine. This beautiful stand is also from Bella Luna Toys, is made from solid wood for long life, and is finished with a non-toxic lacquer.

Wooden Toys
Handmade Toys
Wooden Marble Runs
Favorite Toys for the Bath

(Images: As linked above)

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