When I was pregnant with Roo, I had a vision of a rambling ranch house that looked like something out of Dwell magazine, with a few casually scattered wooden blocks and maybe one of those bentwood, vaguely anthropomorphic rocking toys perched proudly upon a flokati in front of a flagstone fireplace. Alas, that picturesque vision of parenthood has been sullied by the realities of baby swings and walkers and primary and pastel-colored space-takers masquerading as playthings and, not least, actual children who leave rainbow colored trails of toy detritus strewn in their wake.
I've come to the conclusion that I should have started off parenthood with a zero-tolerance policy on plastic tchotkes. It definitely would have helped my state of mind. As it is, I am overwhelmed by the STUFF that a baby can accumulate. And when they start actually interacting with toys, it just snowballs. I think those Waldorf parents, with their focus on nature and naturally-derived playthings, might not be crazy hippies, after all…
Of course, prior to my first pregnancy I had no idea there were retailers like Gummy Lump Toys who specialize in experiential play instead of branded, packaged toys. The emphasis is on usefulness and fun, instead of sheer consumerism. Good toys don't have to be expensive, just well-curated.
Gummy Lump Toys sent me a set of wooden blocks that trump all other sets I have seen. The Russian Block set features arches and domes to inspire little builders for hours. It comes with 55 blocks, each carved out of maple and smooth and appealing to the touch. I want to build basilicas with these blocks, and I have never been much of a wannabe architect.
Gummy Lump carries a wide variety of blocks and building toys, at a variety of price points. You can choose natural wood finishes or a rainbow of colors. (I wish I had confined my kids to a palette of neutrals early on, but that's just me…) Everything from basic shapes to kooky architectural wonders- Mayan and Egyptian pyramids, castles galore, Roman arches and everything in-between.
If your kids' toybox isn't already a lost cause, you owe it to yourself to check out Gummy Lump Toys!