It’s here! Black Friday sales are here! And so are some great deals from small businesses. These are all the ones I know, if you have a company I should, comment below or instagram me @bindisandbottles.
As always, many of the links below are affiliate. This means I make a tiny commission if you buy something through the link. It costs you nothing but helps pay my hosting bills and to keep writing. Thank you for the support!
Danny & Luca – 20% off over $100 purchase. Few items left, subscriptions are sold out though. There will be a restock in a week or two.
Lollipop Sky – Grimms blocks, the dwarf village, pink pebbles, stacking boxes, fire and earth, and large rainbow are available.There are also some Holztiger and Ostheimer left too. Be sure to use my referral code and sign up for the newsletter to get a coupon code.
Dearest Diapers – 20% off with DDBFSALE20, some exclusions. Grapat bowls and nins still in stock, Glückskäfer, Grimms, car seats and lots of other brands.
Meenal Patel Studio – 15% off eligible orders, free shipping on most products. I love Meenal’s illustrations and books. An Indian American, her stories resonate with children of color and anyone who loves a good story.
Orlando Wooden Toys – Etsy – Free shipping on all purchases. Sale currently on, date ending unknown. Know for their elements stackers, rainbow stackers, and vehicles. Can come finished or unfinished.
Happy Tree Store – 20% off wooden toys AND free shipping. Trees, rainbows and lovely open ended wood toys from Russia is hot. Be sure to confirm ship out date to arrive to you by Christmas.
TheWoodPeckerFactory – 10-15% off, free shipping on most products. Great collection of wooden animals.
Wooden Caterpillar – 10-20% off and free shipping on most. German toy shop on Etsy. They have a massive collection of wooden animals. Particular favorites are the animal sets and trees.
Heir Loom Kids USA – Made in the USA wooden toys. They have a few classic Montessori toys: the stackers and shape puzzles along with custom name puzzles, and push toys.
Your Little Doves – Current 20% off sitewide with code SHOPSMALL (exclusions apply). Special Black Friday products will be 50% off (cannot be stacked with sitewide code). Also, you can use my discount code for $10 off (ymmv)
Studio Yali on etsy – Indian goddess peg people! Looking to add diversity and a little mythology to your wooden toy collection? Studio Yali has divine goddesses like Durga, Saraswati, and Lakshmi. You can also buy peg dolls wearing different Indian outfits.
Jens Pretty Pegs – Free shipping for most purchases. Jen’s hand-painted pegs are TO DIE FOR. Seriously, if you want beautiful peg people, go to her.
The Natural Baby Co – 15% OFF STOREWIDE* Fri., Nov. 29TH(12:01 AM ET) Through Mon., Dec. 2 (11:59 PM ET). *Excludes Jellycat, Grimms, Veer, Lilly & River, Wobble. GroVia 20% Off. Sale Category 50% Off. Referral code here should give you free shipping. Gluckskafer, Ostheimer, and more.
LOVEVERY – Sale over but plenty of things around!
Sanskar Teaching – Needing to learn Gujarati? Or freshen up? Enjoy 50% all week on the long and short classes. Use code HALF
Dyper – Not toy related, but diapers! Not any old diapers, bamboo diapers that are compostable. They can go in a home compost or be sent off for composting. (I’m not sure if they can be used in the city compost bin. Still, a way more environmentally friendly than any other company.
Why and Whale – 15% off sitewide with BLACKFRIDAY.
I also want to mention Nest.ca as a lovely store too. They aren’t doing Black Friday sales per se, but they have fantastic service and great prices.
That’s all for now! Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for supporting me!
It’s that time of the year to shop for the loved ones, and little people, in your life. To help support small businesses, I have put together my favorite products from Etsy and other small retailers (though a few are from Amazon for sheer convenience).
As I am part of several wooden toy and open ended play groups, these products come highly recommended.
This Christmas gift guide is ALL about wooden toys. It’s difficult to shop at, and find, businesses that foster a more environmentally friendly, sustainable method of production. Most of the toys listed below are made in Germany, Poland, Russia, and Thailand by small businesses.
This list *isn’t* about the big box manufacturers, it’s about the small, family grown companies that want the toys to last generations.
Skip the beeping and batteries, the branding, the fast fashion and return to the simplicity and elegance of wooden toys.
Share this list with your friends and families needing advice on what to buy for Christmas.
Also check out the Montessori toys & development small business list (coming soon) and the desi/South Asian toy and book lists (coming soon).
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate. It doesn’t cost a penny to you to click and shop, but I get a small commission by purchasing through the links below. This help fuels my sleep-deprived mom of 3 self with caffeine, fruit, and nuts.
Please note that some of these sellers are overseas so shipping times may vary. Also be sure to communicate with the seller if you want a custom order or need rush shipping.
It’s ridiculous how cute these peg dolls are. You can buy ready made peg people or have Jen custom make dolls to look like you. Exclamation point!
The Blockbuster Brands of Wooden Toys
Grapat – Made in Spain
Grimms – Made with love, and by hand in Germany, Grimms wooden toys is by far the powerhouse of the wooden toy world. Loved by children in endless open ended building of ball runs, peg people, and whatever landscapes a wooden block can bring, the Grimms toys are loved.
I own only a few Grimm’s toys, but expansion is on my horizon. The toys have a higher price point, but if you want quality, know the source of the materials, handmade items, then they are worth every penny.
We LOVE the large rainbow, 1001 nights, building boards, and semi circles. I plan to buy the stepped roofs, large stepped pyramid, moon houses.
Ostheimer – Made in Germany by hand, the gorgeous wooden animals and people are treasured in households across the globe. There’s something magical about holding a handmade wooden animal.
Holztiger – Also a German company making wooden toys by hand, Holztiger is a household name. Available at a more economical price point than Ostheimer, Holztiger animals are uniquely special.
Tegu – Tegu opens the world of wooden builds through magnetic play. Each wood piece have magnets on the ends and can connect with each other. Safe for one year olds and up, Tegu toys hit the stride with 3-6 year olds. While they are on the pricy side, they have good resale value and can be used for years. Like Lego, the Tegu block sets can be combined and built to make massive creations or pocket sizes bits.
Plan Toys – Made in Thailand, these wooden toys are made from rubberwood, a renewable resource.
You guessed it, they sell wooden trees. Different shapes and sizes and colors, pair them with wooden blocks, a cityscape or roadway, and the kids are good to go.
These rainbows are SO popular that as soon as they appear for sale on Etsy, people snap them up. These toys are made in the USA and are oh so gorgeous. Like Grimm’s rainbows and Ocamora rainbows, Myers have a special place in people’s hearts.
Skandico Toys is a Russian toy shop with a focus on blocks and puzzles. Their colors are from Germany and the wood is lime wood, a popular tree used for block making. They have several block sets so they worth investing if you want to keep the same color scheme.
A made in the USA shop, outside everywhere features lots of different wooden animals. Some are highly detailed in painting while others are simplistic. You’ll find favorites for sure.
An up and coming woodworking shop from Russia, their whale, penguins, and ducks have phenomenal detail. Some of their products are one faced painted, so may disappoint if you want them painted on all sides.
Want a ball run that is made from wood AND made in the USA? Look towards Amish country and you’ll hit the spot.
Russian Nesting Dolls – ROSTOK Toys
Paint your own Russian Nesting Dolls. These are beautiful and are worth the price tag and the shipping. I have a couple sets and love them…now to just finish painting them!
Star and Moon Stacker – Timber Wolf Concepts
Teaching children how to balance, this stacker will delight little ones (2+ years old). Made in the USA wooden toys.
Wood Toy Car – Timber Wolf Concepts
From the same toymakers as the star stacker, these wooden cars are handmade and perfect for little roadways.
Weather Peg Dolls
wooden dinosaurs with magnets
More toys to be added to the list!
I love being an ABCD (American Born Confused Desi). Why? Because our children today have SO many more options to blend their mixed heritages and learn about them in creative ways than we ever did.
30 years ago I never had cool matching cards or puzzles or even beautiful hard bound books to learn about India, Hindi, Gujarati and religion. If you are Generation Xennial, you know what I am talking about.
This generation is the South Asian renaissance. Our immigrant parents have firmly planted themselves into the diasporas, the children (us) have grown up as American and Desi, and now our children live multicultural lives on all levels.
Today I’m super excited to introduce you to indigrow, a small business publishing company based in Singapore serving the global community.
They have created their first collection of learning and play materials for children 0-5. Each of their products ties into the A to Z alphabet yet in different ways. There is a book, a memory match game, on the go flash cards, and a floor puzzle.
Indigrow was sweet and sent me their launch collection to play with. Our children loved them!
The puzzle was the most popular with my 3.5 year old. We did it once together and then he did it on his own. There is a mini poster of the puzzle in completion and it *really* helped us know how to place the pieces (yay!).
Little missy, who is 1.5 years old, was crazy over the matching card coins. I like how they are round instead square, it’s something unusual and fun to hold. I will admit Little Missy did not get the concept of matching but she love looking at the watercolor drawings and asking, “what’s dis? what’s dis? what’s dis”… “OHHHHHHH”
What I love about indigrow’s products are the paper quality, drawings, and diversity. The drawings are watercolor style yet so detailed and exquisite. The card stock for the matching coins and puzzle pieces are thick and heavy – perfect for little, destructive hands!
And, the alphabet takes inspiration from ALL over India, not just the well known cities and things. I even learned about different areas of India, like Nagaland.
Photograph on right: Retlaw Snellac Photograph
Did you know the outfit above is traditional to the Nagas? Me either. I ended up doing some fascinating reading on the state, which was enlightening. Turns out, we adults have plenty to learn from A to Z too!
Finding toys for your one year old is a daunting task. Their personality is just blooming and you don’t quite know what their likes and dislikes; although clearly from their tantrums, they HAVE opinions.
With two children in tow and speaking to a lot of moms, here are my favorite toys. They are non battery operated (except for the piano) and foster creativity, innovation and independent play.
Cheer’s to baby’s first birthday and hoping they love these gifts!
PS: These are affiliate links. I may make a small commission (that doesn’t affect your cost) that keeps this site alive. Thank you! <3
Melissa and Doug Pounding Bench
Nothing beats pounding the daylights out of something. And you know your young toddler will go nuts for beating something – legitimately!
Several brands make push carts and strollers. Pick the one that fits your budget. On the easy wallet side, there is IKEA (though the cart itself is small) and Brio. For wood based strollers/prams, there is Moover ($177) and HABA ($149), both on the more expensive side.
You should also stop a Home Goods store and see what is in store in the toy section. I found several wooden push carts/prams for under $50; what a steal!
If you have space for a small Yamama type keyboard, go for it. We have the Fisher Price Baby Grand Piano – it is absolutely silly but a LOT of fun. The music it plays isn’t annoying and you can flip the switch to play pre-recorded music or music notes. For something a bit more mature and more minimalist, the Melissa and Doug 25 key set is nice.
There, I said it. Find the tupperware or yogurt containers that you don’t want anymore and create a space in YOUR kitchen for them. This is the key, you need to sacrifice a cupboard to your toddler. They feel they get to be part of the kitchen while you get to interact with them. It’s a win win. I store unloved tupperware, a few old pans and spatulas we don’t use anymore in our shelf space.
Again, it doesn’t take much to entertain a young toddler. They are on their feet for the *first time ever* and using those feet mean exploring! We have several dressers in the house (ALWAYS bolt them to the wall) and we keep two drawers available for the little one. Each drawer is in a dresser in a different room. This provides ample opportunity to move things from drawer to another, while working on gross and fine motor skills (opening, closing, picking up, walking, placing/throwing items).
I think my baby spent three months walking back and forth between the rooms just opening and closing the drawers. Be sure to keep an eye for safety reasons (climbing in) and for when your phone disappears (true story).
This unassuming rainbow wood stacking blocks is magical. At first, we didn’t know what to do with it. Soon, we figured out how to stack them, mix them with other toys, and create art pieces. Made in Germany of solid wood, this is a present that will last years.
Montessori Infant Coin Box
This teaches a baby about object permanence. Your little one is well on the way of understanding object permanence, this coin box helps reinforce that idea. If you want to be very budget friendly, grab a shoe box, cut a hole and use a few blocks. Baby will go nuts! If you are feeling inspired by Montessori education, check out my post on Montessori toys for 0-4 years old.
Dropping a ball and watching it go down tracks doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing, unless you are a baby, then it is THE MOST EXCITING THING EVER. When looking for ball runs, make sure you find one that is age appropriate for age 1+. Most ball runs are in fact marble runs, and they are not safe for babies. My favorite ball runs that are for one year and up (but please double check before buying) are the Hape Derby Track, HABA build your ball run, Battat – Pound & Roll tower, and the Hape Switchback Racer (age: 18 months+).
Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 74 Piece Set
On the pricey side, magna tiles are awesome. Build in three dimension with triangles, rectangles, square, and trapezoids. A classic STEM/STEAM toy, your toddler, and their friends, will love these. For a budget friendly version, you can buy the off-brand tiles.
Large and easy for small hands, the Melissa and Doug knob puzzles are a great way to get your little one started on the world of puzzles. Teach them about matching, animals, and shapes. My kids got into them around 15 months even though they were introduced them at 10 months, it was mostly throwing at that age.
Any book that has flaps or lift up features will be a hit. Something about them enthralls young toddlers. Matthew Van Fleet books are always a hit, Moo, Dog, Cat, and Fuzzy Yellow Ducklings (so loved by my children it is in pieces, hehehe!) are just a few of his most popular.
Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go
by Richard Scarry
A classic paper book with all sorts of crazy cars, trucks, buses, and boats. For a baby, you can get the
Cars and Trucks, from A-Z.
I will keep updating this list as time goes. For now, I hope you enjoy! If you have a favorite toy (rather your baby does), post below.
As you have guessed by now, I love toys. I have a bit of an obsession with toys. This makes it very non-Montessori friendlyL lots of toys – not a minimalistic way of life. But, I do a lot of toy rotation and storage (for later donation).
One of things I have focused on in having in the household are real things (heuristic) and quality toys. Real things meaning scarves/fabrics, tupperware, spoons, and basically anything your baby will steal from your kitchen (because kitchens are awesome). And of course real things from the outside world, stones, pine cones, sticks, water, etc.
Our “quality toys” are usually wooden but we do have a few plastic toys like Duplo, Green Toys and Hess Trucks (my collection from childhood). What’s important to know that if you have a Montessori household, Montessori never advocated for toys – she wanted real materials for children to experience. Of course toys are a medium in which babies and children experience the world, but it’s not mandatory.
However, Montessori/RIE toys are always battery and lights free. It of course doesn’t mean your house should be 100% battery free, but rather the toys you have should stimulate active learning in children. I went through a phrase to try out a few battery toys and bought them on Facebook Marketplace (5 for $15 – score!). I bought them last year when my son was 20 months and mainly used them on a trip abroad. I won’t tell you the company names but they rhyme with StepBog and X-Mech. 😉
Pros: can entertain for long periods which are especially needed on long haul trips.
Cons: make a lot of noise, gimmicky, no learning or real entertainment.
My Hess Trucks on the other hand, are also battery operated, where the truck lights up. I have many great memories from those toys and I love my son playing with them (to be clear, my son sneakily found one of the trucks in a box – these are really for 5 years+ old)
Back to business, if you are looking for making your household less battery operated, these baby to young child toys are perfect. PS – This post contains affiliate links.
Wee Gallery Animal Alphabet Cards, High Contrast for Visual Development
Hape Color and Shape Wooden Block Sorter
Age range: 8 months – 2 years
Rainbow colors of nine pegs with 3 distinct basic shapes – triangle, circle, square
Plan Toy Solid Wood Drum
9 months – 3 years old
6 months – 12 months – teething, throwing around
12 months – 18 moths – stacking
Wooden Ring Stacker Toy | Fisher Price Self Correcting Ring Stacker | Grimm’s 11 Piece Ring Stacker | Grimm’s Nesting Rainbow Bowl Stackers | Pyramid rocking with Top – this you need to paint and varnish
Hape Roller Derby Wooden Marble Racing Toddler Toy
Age range: 2-3.5 years old
From an Amazon review: “Why I think it’s great: there is just enough color to pull them in and get them playing, but the toy is neutral enough that I don’t feel cluttered by it. The ball ramps are on both sides, so my children can easily play together. Each one had their own side. The developmental benefits of this toy are numerous. What I would change: I wish the little yellow starting platform was a bit bigger. My 22 month old struggled to get the ball started. ”
Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone
Age range: 1-3 years old
Amazing Tracker Ball Maze
Age range: 1-4 years old
It’s large and with a hefty price tag for a child’s toy ($88 on amazon), but it is amazing. Standing nearly two feet tall, the older babies and toddlers will get endless entertainment from it.
Galt Toys Wooden Retro Pop Up Toy
From an Amazon review: “I bought this to replace the original one that I owned over 20 years ago! It is such a perfect toy to have for small children. each of the coloured peg people bob about easily in the holes and are the perfect size for little hands hold easily – it is great for their dexterity! the colours enable early colour recognition and matching. A simple, well made classic toy that I highly recommend having in your child’s first toy box!”
Little Climber Pikler Triange
Age range: 8 months – 4 years old
Foldable for Flat Storage | Includes Climber, Reversible Accessory, and Board Book
Guidecraft Peekaboo Lock Boxes (Set of 6)
Age range: 18 months – 3 years old
Good for fine motor skills, color matching, shape sorting
Amazon review: Wonderful quality, super sturdy and well made. I was a bit sceptical because of the prize, but just like other reviews said, we’ll worth the money. My 2 year 4 month old daughter plays with it every day. The locks are just difficult enough to keep her thinking and exploring, but doable so she doesn’t feel like it’s impossible. So many options with the blocks, the color base to sort the colors, count, stack, etc.”
Grimm’s Stacking Rainbow
21 months – 5 years old
Manhattan Toy Skwish Natural Rattle and Teether Grasping Activity Toy
Age Range: 12 months – 3 years old
Pounding Peg Boards
Age Range: 10-18 months
Plan Toys Pounding Bench | Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Pound | Hape Little Pounder
The Hape one has music. All three brands are similar except for sizing and number of pegs.
HABA Palette of Pegs – 32 Piece Wooden Pegging & Arranging Game
Age range: 12 months – 2 years old
PlanToys Plan Preschool Walk N Roll, Push and Pull
BeginAgain Cat Family Puzzle
Age range: 2-3 years old
What makes this puzzle great: Kids learn colors and their names. Play with pieces individually, use them as stencils and in storytelling, or complete the children’s puzzle. Each piece has the color name in English on one side and Spanish on the other to build kids’ bilingual language skills. Handcrafted from plantation-grown, sustainable rubberwood. Comes with storage tray.
18 months – 5 years old
Wood based, simple, no logos, brands, and ‘stuff’ on the kitchen set. You can IKEA hack it as you please. The fabric food, metal pot set, and ceramic tea set are also worthwhile.
Little Partners Learning Tower Kids Adjustable Height Kitchen Step Stool for Toddlers or Any Little Helper
Remember, it’s not about living the Montessori way 100% of the time – it’s about fostering independence, exploration, and curiosity about life.