Childhood is a time of wonder. Young children radiate curiosity that’s waiting to be nurtured. But today, most children lead schedule-focused lives. Rushing has replaced spontaneity. Results are valued over process. Increasingly, play and academics are viewed as oppositional instead of intimately connected.

Rose & Rex believes that play is the foundation for all learning and development. It is a vital source and functional tool that helps children gain fundamental skills that they will carry through school and into adulthood.
Let’s embrace play, every day.
— Allison Klein of Rose & Rex

I feel like I repeat myself a lot on here when it comes to toys, but when Olive was younger I used to search high and low for toys that were special and thoughtful. It is important to me to help her develop into a creative and intelligent human -- I want her play time to stimulate her mind. I want her to be able to create new dimensions within herself. But it is also important to me that her toys be made with as little plastic as possible. I hate to think of all these thoughtless plastic toys that end up broken and forgotten floating in the ocean somewhere. Toys should be something that you invest in -- that hold meaning -- that teach and inspire. Not something that is bought with the mentality that it will be broken and forgotten days later. I have put together a list of my favorite toy shops and brands based on quality, design and character. 


  • Rose & Rex they offer "teacher curated content and a selection of elegantly designed toys that promote imaginative play."
  • Nova Natural They choose toys that "inspire creativity and practice sustainability by working with small businesses and artisans to supply families with heirloom quality, non-disposable toys that support healthy lifestyles in balance with the environment." 
  • Norman & Jules  They carry "handcrafted toys and imaginative decor that encourages children to explore and develop through creative play. They are committed to providing parents and children with options that are not only aesthetically beautiful, but are carefully crafted from sustainable materials."
  • Brimful Brimful is full of modern, whimsical, well-crafted items. Products that we hope will enrich your parenting experience and bring joy to your little ones.
  • Magic Cabin They are inspired by the "simple delights of childhood and good-old-fashioned imaginative play. We specialize in providing a variety of open-ended, nature-inspired toys and crafts that nurture children’s innate sense of wonder and curiosity."
  • Palumba They believe that "imaginative, open-ended play with simple toys crafted from beautiful, natural materials offers children warmth and a sense of well-being when discovering their world."
  • Bella Luna "Our quality toys are not disposable. They are built to last; the kind of toys that can be passed on or handed down to future generations."
  • Oompa "features a meticulous selection of fun, modern, sustainably-produced, and well-made toys."


Maileg, Hazel Village, Tegu, The Twig Co, BlaBla, Wee Gallery, Sarah Silk's, Kathe Kruse, Haba, Grimms, Plan Toys, Oli & Carol, Candy Lab, Beka Blocks, Bilibo, Eco KidsHolztiger, Manny & Simon.

10 MINUTES of imaginative play can improve a child’s performance on subsequent executive function tasks.
— Rachel White
A study shows that kindergarteners’ vocabulary was positively related to the quantity of time they spent talking while engaged in pretend play at age 3
— Dickinson & Moreton
Free play and play guided by adults both help preschoolers learn to notice other people’s feelings, as well as to regulate their own.
— Stephanie Pappas
In Finland, a country with one of the most successful school systems in the world, children spend an average of 75 minutes per day at recess. In the USA, children spend an average of 27 minutes per day at recess
— Alix Spiegel

Olives wore -- hair bows: Free Babes, Dress & Blouse: Zara, Sandals: Salt Water.