Saturday, 27 January 2018

The Joys of Wooden Toys

One of the toy tubs at our school holds an old wooden train, that a former teacher brought while she taught here. It's probably the oldest toy we have. It's amazing, though, how much love this train has been shown over the years. Each year, new children come to school and many of them, especially the boys, love to play with that train. Even though the children sometimes get rough with it, it's never once needed repairs. There's not even a comparison with many of the cheap plastic toys we can buy nowadays. Best of all, it needs no batteries, so no incessant irritating beeps and whistles. Just the natural and delightful sounds of imaginative kids at play.

Hence my excitement when someone offered to send us some wooden toys.

I know I've said this a number of times, but I'm still amazed how after reading Hutterite Diaries, people feel compelled to contact me. Some years ago a Mennonite family from Wisconsin contacted me. They were traveling in Manitoba and asked to come for a visit.We loved having them. Another time, a lady in Latvia who got an Amazon gift certificate from her son, and bought my book with it. I gladly answered her questions about our Hutterite way of life. Some even offer to do something nice for me or our community. A few years ago, a teacher from South Dakota invited me to come share my book at their conference. I couldn't make it that year, so she offered to sell Hutterite Diaries for me, if I'd send her some. I sent her a box, and she sold quite a few copies. Last June I was able to attend the conference myself and it was well worth the trip.

If you're one of those people who've read Hutterite Diaries, and took the time to let me know. Thank You! Which doesn't mean I'm not grateful to everybody who's read it. Indeed, I am; even if I never hear from you.

Recently a man from New Jersey emailed me:  "Good Morning Linda, I just finished reading your book and wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed every page!  I've had a strong admiration for the Hutterite culture for years and I hope one day to make a visit to a colony.  You're such wonderful people!"

We exchanged a few emails, then he asked if he could send our students some wooden toys, that he had built and which his children had outgrown. Needless to say, I was surprised by this unexpected offer, and grateful to get more wooden toys for our school, and told him so.
They almost didn't make it, when at some point during the trip, UPS temporarily lost track of the box, after they had handed it over to Canada Post. Main thing is, the box finally arrived, to the joy of our excited children. Yes, even the girls were excited. I did take some pictures. However, out of respect for the parents who don't want their children posted online, I can't add them here. You'll have to imagine the big smiles and squeals.

Our new wooden toys remind me of the ones my cousin, Alvin builds. But his are more ornamental, so sadly, nobody gets to play with them. Read more about those toys here.

Further to this story, the same guy who sent those toys, also offered to give another beautiful wooden gift to our community. For that story, you will have to wait for some future post.

In the meantime, if you have some old wooden toys tucked away somewhere, give yourselves and your children the joy of playing with them. They're tactile and natural, fun and durable, promote imaginative play and best of all, they have no batteries and no screens! What's not to love?

And do tell me your own wooden toys stories.


  1. Many years ago we were visiting our goddaughter and her family, and little Betsy, perhaps 4 years old, was having a wonderful time playing with a beautiful wooden circus train her father had made for her. I was admiring the train and said to her, "Your daddy's pretty smart, isn't it?"

    To which she replied, "No. He's strong, instead."

    We've never let her father forget that one!

  2. Thanks for sharing that cute story, Hamanda! It's amazing what comes out of the mouths of young children sometimes, isn't it?


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