I had the opportunity to drift back into my childhood last week as I set up our booth at the NY Gift Fair last week. I remembered the fun times I had "playing store" with my siblings, as I handled the nicely carved wooden fruits & vegetables and placed them neatly in each wooden crate.
I remembered how I would line up the play food in rows on the shelves, or how I would take my basket and fill it with groceries.
Play is an important part of making sense of the world. I see it in my own children, and I remember how I loved to role play for hours as a young child myself.
Our new hand carved fruits & vegetables are wonderful. They are made in Germany. The paints meet the strictest standards. Because of the hand carved nature of the fruits & vegetables, each piece is a little different from the others...just as nature intended. While that is all well and good...I am most excited about the play value.
In particular, at Challenge & Fun, we have always felt that toys are a medium for learning about the world around us. To the degree that toys are cheap and disposable, or garish and loud, children will in some ways view their world that way. On the other hand, if their toys are natural & beautiful, this will likewise reflect in their view of the world around them.
They are also simple toys that provide the opportunity for creativity and interaction with others.
Finally, my mind then wandered to the cooperative farm that we recently joined (see my previous post). As I put out the wooden veggies I have seen so often now at our CSA...eggplants, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, etc. I thought about how important it is to expose young children to the farm & nature, to encourage appreciation for where food comes from, and also to encourage good eating habits.
The hand carved wooden fruits & vegetables from the German company, Estia, will be available online soon. If you would like to see close up pictures in the meantime, you can view our photo album on flickr.