I like to make sure that a good portion of the toys in our home are handmade and/or made out of natural materials. I personally feel that this makes for a richer play environment because natural materials feel different in hand than synthetic materials. Plus teaching a child to value a quality handmade toy, with its little imperfections, is important. 100 years ago, children had maybe 2 or 3 toys – a well worn doll, a toy sword, some wooden blocks, etc. They did not have an overwhelming amount of brightly colored, light up, noisy toys to command their attention. Now, I’m not against plastic toys, we definitely enjoy our Magnatiles, Matchbox cars and Shleich animals, but handmade toys bring balance.
So here are a few items that are on my wishlist for my 4 yr old and 1 yr old. These are all budget friendly with a variety of prices from $12-28 and cover a range of open ended fun. These are all slow, simple and enriching items that can bring balance to the busyness of other toys.
All prices are current as of this post, but may be subject to change. Please be sure you double check shipping and production times to ensure it will arrive when needed (like by Christmas)
These are affiliate links. If you purchase, it won’t cost you anything extra but helps to support this blog. I appreciate it!
All images are owned by the shop owners. I have used the images from their listings to show here.
Waldorf Dolls are special because they are soft, smooshy and perfect for snuggling. With cotton velour outside and warm wool inside they actually warm to your child’s touch. This one is 10″ so its not too big and not too small. At $27 its not as expensive as the more detailed dolls and can be a great way to introduce this simple style into your home.
This adorable puppets will be in our home soon! I just love them. This shop has some other varieties too. I don’t think they are made of wool felt, but thats ok because regular felt is easier to wash anyway. Lots of creative play to be found here!
I adore felt food! We have a mix of wooden and felt foods and both are loved. I love this little set because you get a good variety of foods and it makes such a pretty salad! Be sure to check out this shop’s other felt food options too!
This says for baby’s first year but my 4 yr old has already asked for it. And what a great toy to keep in a bag for when you need something quick to entertain!
Play Silks have no end of possibilities! This set is a great value at just over $3 per silk. I have purchased from this shop before and the quality is great. Unfortunately, while I was finalizing this list, the shop owner went on break and is not taking any more orders for Christmas, but definitely save this one for when she gets back!
In the meantime, here is an alternative: Set Of 5 Playsilks (Save 15% with code YOUR FAVORITE)
We have not yet made the jump to beeswax crayons because we are still pretty hard on them here but in the next year or so, we’ll start using them for quiet craft time and I plan to get this wooden holder because I think its just so beautiful!
If you a budding photographer, this can bring hours of play! And I love that it is both simple and intricate at the same time.
These small bowls are great for any kind of color sorting activity. You can gather up any small supplies like beads or marbles or buttons and ask the child to sort them by color. Play based learning is our favorite!
Move over bright plastics and hello, animal cutouts and wooden knives! This shop has so many beautiful sets that there’s one for any occasion.
Needlework can be difficult to pick up but doing preparatory activities like this can help pave the way. This shop has several different “sewing” and “needlework” options like this little patching job.
The definition of awesome. Strong wooden bow with soft arrows that won’t poke anyone’s eye out or cause damage! And what a great skill to learn too. This comes in the small size or a larger size for bigger kids.