Blocks are the all stars of play based learning: cognitive skill builders, they help with attention, memory, judgement & evaluation, reasoning, problem solving, decision making, comprehension, and even language. They help develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination and creative thinking. Block play has been linked with advanced math skills. What's not to love?

At a recent parenting conference, we brought along some rough wood blocks. By rough, I mean we took a small felled tree and cut it into sections and lengths with a table saw. That's it. Bark still on, rough edges. While we brought them to help illustrate great open ended toys in Jess' lecture on Play Based Learning, we could not keep them off the table at our booth! Kids and adults were drawn to them, and many asked where to get their own or were inspired to create their own at home. 

As promised, we've put together a listing of some great family owned shops where you can purchase your own tree blocks. These blocks are the ideal free-play toy: imperfect, hand crafted, built to last, and certainly all natural. While we encourage you to get outside with your kids everyday (regardless of weather) we also believe that very child should have a bit of nature in doors. These blocks are a fantastic way to do just that.

Here are the companies and a bit about each. Share this article with those looking to buy your kids holiday gifts! (And then send them back our way for some wool crowns, Muddy Munchkins kids boots by MyMayu, Slugs and Snails tights, art supplies, and more! And don't forget to put in your request for a carrier or wrap for your little to big ones - you'll go much further outdoors without the stroller or a kiddo in arms!)

Shops are listed in no particular order (so look through them all to find your favorite!)

Clover and Birch


About Clover and Birch:
We operate Clover and Birch from our house in Canton, Georgia. Taylor is usually the one behind the sewing machine, ordering fabric and packing your purchases with a lot of love and a little help from our darling toddler. Jason works from home as a security engineer in the IT field. He contributes to Clover and Birch wherever he can be of assistance and is the artful heart and soul behind our amazing wood products.In our home we practice a mix of Montessori and Waldorf based principles because we know that children learn through play and we believe toys should encourage their growth and imagination, not limit them. The items we sell are the same ones our child and future children (a sibling is on the way!) play with and treasure. Enjoy looking and thank you for shopping small!

Monkeys On The Roof Kids

About Monkeys On the Roof:

Terry and I started our home based business Monkeys on The Roof (MOTR) in the fall of 2009. We are often asked what Monkeys on the Roof means. We have four boys. When they were all young, on road trips, they would obviously get loud and rambunctious. Instead of scolding, I would say – in an excited voice, “LISTEN – I hear monkeys walking on the roof.” Kids are so innocent and open minded, it worked every time. They would immediately quiet down and strain to hear that tap tapping on the roof. As our kids got older, the phrase came to symbolize that unique simplicity and basic innocence in the bond between parents and children. (read more at their wedding store here...)

Natura Baby

From Natura Baby:

I started making these for my daughter when she was younger as a safe alternative to potentially harmful children's toys, and she loved them! ... wanted to share that with other families who were looking for natural choices as well. - Eva

A Life So Simple

Click here to shop A Life So Simple!

(read more of their story here)
(photo by Heaven & Earth Photography)

About A Life So Simple:

It is with love and pride that we bring to you our line of simple, eco friendly products from our beautiful homestead. While you browse the selections in our store, know that you're buying from a family run small business. With each sale, we prove to our children that if you're willing to work hard, your dreams become realities. 
Kind regards,
Danny, Nikki, Annie, Lucy, and Jack Hayes

The Vermont Branch Company

About Vermont Branch Co:

Vermont Branch Blocks is a family run business on a small homestead in northern Vermont. Mom and Dad with their seven children (2 of which now live on their own nearby) work, learn, and play together rejoicing in the beauty of the seasons and God's goodness.

What a fantastic line up! What are you going to order? We love comments - let us know what you think!


October 13, 2014 by Jessica Schaefer

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