Wooden Toys Stimulate Local Economies


Classic wood abacus by Melissa and Doug

Wooden toys have always been a favorite of mine.  There is something about the solid, lasting, made-of-the-earth quality of wood that satisfies a need I have as a toy-searching parent.

NPR’s All Things Considered recently had a report about a lumber company in Maine that has been refitted to work as a manufacturing plant for a new line of wooden toys made completely here in the United States.

The company had seen a lot of its manufacturing of house wares moved overseas, and an idea was sparked by the lead paint scares that revolved around toys coming from certain places in China.

The story got me thinking about all the toys we buy and how doing a little bit of research could end up saving jobs for people in our own country, whether that may be the US, Britain, or India.

Stimulating local economies is good for the whole world.  Any time a company is able to keep the entire production process on one continent there are environmental savings, but the added bonus of saving jobs in a time when jobs are scarce at best is wonderful.

Focus on American-Made Toys

For example, how does one find some wooden toys made in the USA?

A quick, simple search led me to a page called Maine Made – America’s Best, which lists all kinds of products, not just toys, that are built in the state of Maine.  Other online sites will have an index listing the toys they sell that are made in America.  Another way to find great handcrafted toys, and this is true no matter where you live in the world,  is to visit a local craft co-op or craft fair & talk to the artisans about their work.

The craftsmanship that goes into these items is undeniable and these toys will last generations.  My own daughter has a favorite toy that is a wooden craft toy I got a long time ago, and it is as much fun for her as it was for me at her age.

With just a little bit of thought–before we buy–we can support our neighbors and our own economy during these times where economic stimuli seem to be needed wherever possible.


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  1. According to Rudolf Steiner theory on educational toys the better toys are those which stimulate the mind and imagination. Buying toys which inspire the mind and do not require the child to follow a tight set of rules will indeed achieve the goal of acquiring new skills while playing.

    The materials used to make the toys effect the atmosphere of playtime. Children enjoy the smell, the sight, and the texture of toys made from natural materials such as wood and fabric for example.

    Handcrafted toys also have a spiritual value compared to commercialized toys, they do carry a soul which is reflected to the child.

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