I'm a sucker for anything that sets a scene. Couple that with vibrant colors and organic materials and I become a lifelong fan. A playroom can only support so many themed areas, thank heavens, but the objects I continue to discover for children are just too wonderful not to tell someone about. Today I found Ostheimer toys. Simply amazing. Handcrafted from natural woods and still made in Germany, their toys elevate an object of play to that of family heirloom. Non toxic muted colors make each object a piece of art, and I wouldn't be too surprised to find that a lot of orders arrive at homes with grown up children. It would cost a small King's ransom to build an entire farmyard, however, I think it would be money well spent. When Wren was just an infant, we found Haba toys at a local shop. I have been buying their wooden toys without fail ever since. Had I known about Ostheimer...the mind reels. The children's wooden kitchen set from Plan Toys here at our house is the most entertaining place in their world. Countless concoctions have been served up within its cozy environment and it is a play set we build on every holiday. The same holds true for their wooden animal zoo set from the wooden toy maker Anamalz. With a wooden elephant in one hand and an animal discovery book in the other, imagination is brought to life at a pace that even the real zoo cannot provide. The trips to the real zoo become all the more special when met with an understanding of that living breathing miracle in front of them. There are so many things for children to discover. I am so grateful to people like the craftsmen and women of companies like Ostheimer for coloring the world in such a way that it makes life a true pleasure to be experienced by our children. I found it ironic that Ostheimer was once put out of business in the late 30's when plastics arrived on the toy scene. There is now one of the highest callings for wood toys ever in a world still far too dominated by plastics. When I pick up the kids toys at the end of the day I still find the beauty of their objects humbling...plastic never did that for me.