Creative toys from Switzerland: Building blocks by naef

Today will focus on creative toys from Europe, toys that are versatile and support imaginative playing.  So first in line are wooden toys by Naef, available in a variety of shapes and colors.  I have picked two sets of building blocks to show you, the Ornabo- and the Animal Puzzle.


The Ornabo Puzzle is very basic in the sense that it only depicts basic geometric shapes.  But don’t be fooled by the simplistsic design:  All natural shapes are nothing more than combinations of circles, segments, squares, triangles and rectangles.  Thus, the building possibilities are endless!  It’s incredible how many things you can create with this ingenious kit, whether patterns, people, letters.. everything is possible.  Which is also its second great advantage: This toy will be a favorite for a long time.  And as was already mentioned, its great educative qualities extend from geometry to spelling and arts.  This is definitely a toy you can’t go wrong with, and suitable for boys and girls alike.


The Animal Puzzle is a set of 25 maplewood building blocks with different animal shapes on each side; elephant, monkey, lion, owl, hare and bear to be precise.  So while the kids are younger, they can have fun with the traditional style puzzle, putting together the individual animals, and at some point, they will surely be fascinated by all the combinations possible and start creating a monkey-phant or a lion-bear, or maybe even an ele-owl-hare…

The whole range of Naef Toys is available at the Swissmade Naef-USA shop.  But you can get a few pretty good deals at FatBrainToys right now on a smaller product range.  They currently have the Ornabo-Puzzle on close-out sale for only $66.94.



Dutch creative play: kidsonroof’s totem and popje

Ok, let’s move the European creative play tour to the Netherlands, to the smart products of Kidsonroof to be precise, whereof I am presenting the popje doll and the totem building kit.

The name already speaks for itself, as popje means little doll in Dutch.  But, you will be wondering, what makes this doll so unique? Well, simply said, its open design.  Popje is not the typical doll with blond curls and a tutu or sundress.  Instead, she has tweak of abstract design mixed into her looks, so she can be whatever the child imagines her to be.  Quite fittingly, on the Kidsonroof website she is described as follows “Popje is a girl or a rabbit, a doll, or a smiling cat that came from India. Maybe she is Russian, or maybe she’s you.”


Let’s now move to their Totem line:  These are cardboard building cards in a variety of shapes and some really cool and unique prints, giving the rocket, house or whatever creation it may be, the additional usage of not only a fun toy, but also some nice piece of room decor, something you don’t have with too many building toys.  Plus, the totem line is available in a boy and a girl edition, so everyone gets the prints they like, and little girls don’t have to borrow their big brother’s toys!

Available at the Kidsonroof website.