I have an affinity for wooden things. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that my daddy was a carpenter for many years. I loved the smell of freshly cut lumber, each piece stacked and awaiting its turn to take part in the framing of a home. I loved the way the sawdust shot away from the board and caught a glimmer of sunlight as my daddy's strong, brown hands guided the board through the table saw.
(Here I am, loving wood.)
I loved wood when it fueled the campfires our family shared as my brother, sister and I passed marshmallows and stories around it's crackling glow. I loved gathering wood with my sister, pretending we were Laura and Mary adding our share of kindling to keep the glow alive.
I loved wood when it was cut into circles called "wood cookies" at Trout Creek Bible Camp. I strung a plastic cord through the hole punched in the top of my wood cookie and decorated my camp name (Juni) with many flourishes. I wore it 'round my neck every day and felt like I was a part of something grand.
So when I began to have children of my own, it delighted me to choose and receive special wooden toys for them. Drew was given the classic alphabet blocks by Uncle Craig and Auntie Krissie as a ring bearer gift when he was a toddler. He learned to read as Papa placed the blocks into three, four, and even five letter words.
The longest lasting and most popular wooden toys among my children have been the Thomas engines and Lincoln Logs. A few other gems have come our way too, such as the Noah's Ark Animal Bus from Granny and a basket full of colorful building blocks -- a steal from some garage sale.
Our most recent happy acquisitions are peg dolls, Qwirkle, and a beautiful chess set. The peg dolls were inspired my many darling blog and Esty designs that I attempted to copy for Avery. I'm not an artist, but she loves them. She has our whole family (plus some cousins and friends tossed in). I love to hear the click of their little bases as she creates stories for these people and marches them around our home.
(Look at wee Avery Kate in pink. Aidan is the super hero. I'm not sure where Drew and Bethie are lurking, but Mother and Father loom in the background, no doubt keeping a close eye on the five extra children.)
Qwirkle is a mind game that we have quickly come to love. (Thanks for the recommendation, Valerie!). I suppose it would still be fun if the tiles were plastic, but it's oh-so-much more fun to feel and hear and smell those wooden tiles as they click together in their canvas bag. (Don't you think there's an even greater thrill that comes when wooden things are stored in canvas bags?)
So you can imagine my delight when I wove my way home from Aidan's Saturday baseball game by way of several garage sales and eventually found a great, albeit simple, wooden toy. (I'm not sure what they're called.) Each thin disc has eight wedges that can be connected with other discs. Aidan and Avery have played with them nonstop. I love seeing their creativity.
One of my favorite creative expressions is when the kids combine their toys to make something new. The Lincoln Logs become animal cages for the wooden ark critters. The train track then carries the zoo train (the passengers being the peg folk) which weaves in and out of said cages. Avery has also already discovered that her peg people work very well with the wooden discs. I'm delighted. I think we might have another wood lover in the family.
The peg people patiently await their turn on the merry-go-round.