Handmade Wooden Toys

Two Girls

Ian and I made some wooden toys for Asher for his birthday. We learned a lot last December when we made his wooden dragon, knight, and horse, and his rainbow gnomes—not the least of which is that sanding wooden toys takes forever. We wanted to practice these new toy-making skills some more, so we made Asher two girls, an older boy, a pig, a goose, and a gnome cave. We ran out of time and didn’t finish goose woman and the other older boy we cut out. But they’ll be along someday.

Older Boy, Goose, and Pig

I drew these figures after looking at some old illustrations by Blanche Fisher Wright that were recently republished in a Barnes and Noble collection of Mother Goose nursery rhymes. I liked their simplicity and their old-fashioned clothing (kerchiefs and knickers and so on). Ian did a marvelous job with the scroll saw, which is the part that scares me not a little.

Gnome Cave and Gnomes

The gnomes in this photo were made last month, but the stacking cave pieces are new. They can be fitted together or separated out to form a gnome scene.

Now, the truth is, I don’t know if Asher will ever play with these items. Often plastic gifts grab a child’s attention quicker, and Asher got some of those for his birthday. For the most part, he prefers to play pretend and transform himself into someone new, whether human or animal. He doesn’t often sit and play with items the way they are intended by adults to be played with. A screwdriver toy becomes a sword, or a pen, or a magic wand. A firefighter’s helmet becomes a bowl or an astronaut’s gear. A stethoscope becomes a communication device or an air tube.

I will just sit back and see what he does with these wooden toys, just as I do with everything else, and be proud that we made them from scratch. They will be for him whatever he needs or wants them to be. And if nothing else, and if I’m very lucky, maybe someday I’ll see them in the hands of my grandchild.

Kitty, Kitty

This knitted kitty I made is far simpler than the knitted donkey I made a couple of weeks ago. Seriously, it’s all rectangles and all garter stitch. Easy, even for me.

Knitted Kitty

My cat is about 2 inches high and 3 inches long. The pattern I used is from Toymaking with Children by Freya Jaffke, but all you have to do to make this little cat is to knit a rectangle that’s almost a square (for the body). Then cast on half as many stitches as you used for the body to make a head, which you will knit until it is a long rectangle (almost three times as long as wide). Last, cast on less than half as many stitches as you used to make the head, to make a tail. Knit about the same number of rows as you knit for the head rectangle. Then sew up the tail into a long tube. If your cat will be small like mine, then no stuffing of the tail will be necessary. If your cat will be bigger, you might have to stuff the tail with wool roving. Fold your head piece in half, sew up three sides, stuff it with wool, and sew up the final side. You may wish to make a few stitches to accentuate the ears. For the body, pinch a corner of your rectangle and sew it into a cone (leg), then move to the next corner and do the same thing. Repeat for all four corners to make for legs. Stuff all of the legs and body and sew up the body at the cat’s tummy. Now attach head and tail in a way that looks appropriately catlike. Voilà! A kitty!

  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2018 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

  • Buy Our Festivals E-Books

  • Archives

  • Tags

  • Categories


  • Meta