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Natural Wooden Toys: 75 Easy-To-Make and Kid-Safe Designs to Inspire Imaginations & Creative Play Paperback – November 1, 2011


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Natural Wooden Toys: 75 Easy-To-Make and Kid-Safe Designs to Inspire Imaginations & Creative Play + Making Toys That Teach: With Step-by-Step Instructions and Plans + The Big Book of Weekend Woodworking: 150 Easy Projects (Big Book of ... Series)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Fox Chapel Publishing (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781565235243
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565235243
  • ASIN: 156523524X
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #271,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Addressed to adults but not beyond experienced young crafty sorts, this gathering of projects offers 75 radically simplified animals, human figures, trees, vehicles, and backdrops—all made from one or just a few pieces of sawn wood finished and decorated in child-friendly ways. After an introduction extolling the Waldorf style of schooling and “open-ended” toys, the author begins with basic advice for selecting and using woods, tools, safe paints, natural dyes, and polishes. She then lays out finishing and ongoing care instructions, and goes on to present projects in five settings, from “Fairytale” (castle, dragon, unicorn, knight, magic wands) to “City” (trees, multipart skyline, train, helicopter). Though occasionally she offers additional procedures or directions, most are so simple that a list of materials, a close-up photo of the finished item, and a template made to be copied, cut out, and traced are all the guidance given or, for that matter, necessary. Children in elementary grades will enjoy helping to decorate these sturdy homemade toys, and members of the diapered set will delight in playing with them. Grades 6-9. --John Peters

Review

Concerned with the safety of commercially produced toys, Freuchtel-Dearing purchased a secondhand scroll saw and began making?and then selling?her own natural wood toys. In this guide, she shares techniques, tips, and patterns for making a variety of safe, eco-friendly toys well suited for creative play. The projects are organized thematically (farm, fairy tale, ocean, cityscape, and forest), and the author provides a useful introduction to woodworking techniques. Most of the toys are simple and require little to no woodworking experience. An enjoyable guide to making toys to please children under eight.

In a time of rushing about, many parents are looking toward natural wooden toys for their children, free of toxic chemicals, flashing lights, and obnoxious sounds. Studies have shown that simple toys encourage more creative play from children, making simple wooden toys or handmade cloth desirable. For many, the cost of lovely wooden toys is prohibitive and making the toys is a daunting idea for individuals without any wood working experience. In her book Natural Wooden Toys: 75 Easy-to-Make and Kid-Safe Designs to Inspire Imaginations & Creative Play, Erin Freuchtel-Dearing has broken down the process of making your own wooden toys, from tool selection to natural dyes and sealing. With full color illustrations and numerous patterns which can be copied and used, the book is a great resource for non-wood workers who would like to make simple wooden toys for children. Waldorf education and philosophy are mentioned briefly toward the beginning of the book but the designs and information are applicable to anyone with a desire to make natural toys.

includes plans for over 75 toys in themes ranging from fairytale to forest and farm to city. Developed by author Erin Freutchel-Dearing for her own children, the toys are constructed with basic tools like a scroll saw, palm sander and drill. Finishing advice is also included.

This is a really fun book that you will love. Seventy-five great toys ready to be made for you or for someone else's kids. The toys are real simple to make with a scroll saw or even a fret saw and are finished with natural colors. Paprika will provide a beautiful orange shade, blueberries a flavorful purple. Specialty artist shops can provide you with brilliant non-toxic finishes as well. The toys are very basic but just as enjoyable for toddlers as those high tech toys to play with. And, full patterns are provided by the author; she provides recipes for the colors as well.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
I especially like the section on using natural dyes to color the wood.
Larry M. Robinson
I recommend this book for anyone looking for some fresh ideas and/or is new to woodworking and would like to start to make toys for kids.
Blitz
The projects in this book are easy enough for the beginner but the results are amazing toys your kids will love!
Mamaof4

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By HRG on May 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
My husband and I have enjoyed using this book to create toys for our daughter. It has been a fun family project. I love the author's designs, and the book sparked ideas for many other designs as well. It's easy to customize the toys to any child's interests. The directions are easy to follow. I especially like the instructions on how to use natural dyes and beeswax finish. Best of all, these toys are great for boys AND girls and don't involve marketing of any brands.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Blitz on December 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am new to woodworking and wanted to make toys for my daughters who are 5 and 2. This book is a fantastic way to get started because the book discusses tools needed, wood selection, painting and finishing. Many books just show you how to make one toy at a time - a car, a puzzle, etc. What is great about this book is that the author groups together like ideas - so you can make a whole set at one time.

The book is divided into sections - there is a fairytale group (complete with plans for a castle, knight, king/queen, etc), a section on the forest (trees, animals, etc), farm, ocean, and city (buildings, cars, trucks, helicopter, etc.) I just started with the fairytale group (pictures to be posted soon) and I am looking forward to working my way thru the book.

I disagree with an earlier reviewer who stated these designs were babyish and only good for 0-1 year olds. Yes the patterns are basic but when you paint the toys you can add as much or as little detail as you want. The point is that to a child with a good imagination the play possibilities are endless. My oldest has a vivid imagination and I can't wait to give them to her. I recommend this book for anyone looking for some fresh ideas and/or is new to woodworking and would like to start to make toys for kids.

One note: Most of the wood called for in this book is 3/4" thick stock and while you can cut out the patterns using a coping saw you really need a scroll saw to save time. They are simple to use and cheap if you can find a used one on craig's list.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amy K. Donschikohwski on January 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is a rare thing. Well-thought and comprehensive without being pretentious. Seriously, this book makes it so easy. A coping saw for less than $10, a couple bucks worth of wood, and some stuff you likely have around the house, is all it takes!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K.A.M. on April 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Got this book to make things with my kids. It's simple and inspiring... I'm not a wood worker and feel like I can do each of these. My kids like to look at the book and pick what toys they want.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Larry M. Robinson on November 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've made several projects as described by this author. The directions were clear, the illustrations are very well done, and I've enjoyed designing my own variations of these toys. Maybe I'm in my own second childhood, but I'm really getting a kick out of making these toys. My grandkids love them, too. I especially like the section on using natural dyes to color the wood. The materials are readily available, the process is easy, and the results are good. I've used both paint (AP rated) and natural food dyes, and I like the results of each.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By anon on March 2, 2013
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This is a great book for someone with more time than money, and zero prior experience working with wood. Some scrap wood (probably cheap or free), a $100 used scroll saw, food coloring/veggies and access to a photocopier gets you started making simple wooden toys that kids (under 10) will love. The patterns are easy to use, the directions straightforward and complete. My only quibble is that the beeswax/oil finish has no 'recipie' for amounts/proportions, which is likely an oversight, since trial and error is a pain. Once you figure that out though, it's a great finish.

What I like here is that the average 5 year old can be taught to safely use a scroll saw (with adult supervision obviously!). This means that kids can be actively involved in creating their own toys, which I find is just as fun as the end result.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peggy DeMent on February 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love these simple toys for toddlers. I have a whole new world open up for my toy making projects.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By duke on January 18, 2013
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This book was gift to someone who wanted to made toys to donate at Christmas and this had several good ideas.
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