What do we mean by "Waldorf-Inspired"?
Waldorf-inspired toys are designed with the philosophy that children learn and develop best through active and creative open-ended play. Natural wooden toys with a minimum of finishing and detail allow the child to experience the wonderful feel and smell of the wood, and encourage the child to use their imagination and creative thinking during play. The toys become whatever the child can imagine. This also means that the toys are extremely versatile and grow with the child - for example, where a toddler enjoys simply feeling, stacking and banging the pieces of a Large Rainbow, a preschooler loves to put the rainbow together and create more sophisticated builds. A kindergartener may use the pieces in more imaginative ways as tunnels, fences, houses or doll cradles and create even more artistic designs. In this way, open-ended natural toys encourage active play and enliven the imaginative life of the child.
Fine Wooden Toys is pleased to offer a large selection of natural wooden Waldorf-inspired toys handcrafted in Germany and Europe. Stacking rainbows, elemental puzzles, arch houses, nesting bowls and boxes - geometric, mosaic and magnetic puzzles - "Dwarf Village" and "Fantastic Blocks" - Holztiger animals - all lovingly handcrafted and finished with natural dyes and oils. Many of these toys are so beautiful that adults collect them for display.
The Toy Makers
Most of our Waldorf-inspired toys are imported directly from Germany and Europe where they are created by Grimm's Spiel & Holz Design, Gluekskaefer, Holztiger, Kathe Kruse and Gruenspecht. Probably the most well-known, Grimm's Spiel & Holz Design was established in Germany in 1978, and has produced many award-winning Waldorf-inspired toys and wooden puzzles. Their foundation for toy making is based on Waldorf education and the teaching philosophies of Rudolf Steiner, and they try to include this aspect in the development and production of their toys.
All of these unique and inspired Waldorf natural toys can be used in a variety of creative ways. The wooden stacking rainbows and element puzzles can be telescoped, stacked and arranged in many exciting and fun ways, or used as tunnels, bridges and houses for other toys. The Fantastic Blocks, including the Dwarf Village and Gnome town sets, are puzzles, building blocks, and pretend-play buildings all in one! The thick wooden pieces of the mosaic puzzles and geometric block puzzles can be used out of the frames to stack and create vertical as well as flat table-top designs. Children (and adults, too!) can exercise their imaginations by creating endless original designs and patterns with the magnetic and geometric mosaic puzzles.
Grimm's Spiel & Holz Design uses only European wood, mainly Alder. Most of their Waldorf wooden toys are handcrafted and hand finished, which allows a much better expression than machine production. The toys are finished with natural vegetable/linseed oil or child safe water-based dyes. The wheeled wooden horses and pull along elephant also have felt, cotton and natural leather accents.
Many of these wooden toys carry the German "Spiel Gut" recommendation. This means that the toys have been tested with children and examined by experts with a positive result. Toys are judged by play value, material, workmanship, construction, durability, safety, design and suitability for the appropriate age group.