best of the nest | ostheimer wooden toys

I grew up living on a farm. My dad owned his own business and had a hobby farm on the side on his land. My childhood was filled with more animals than most people can imagine. Of course we had traditional farm animals like horses, ponies, pigs, geese and ducks. Lots of cats, always little kittens and two collies. Bunnies, chickens and baby chicks. But we also had animals that most people don't have on a farm. Living out in the country, there were white-tail deer in high numbers and when a fawn had lost it's mother, the DNR would bring them to us to care for. I grew up bottle feeding fawns in my backyard, watching peacocks strut across our acreage and tending to animals of all shapes and sizes from a very young age.

That's why I'm so excited to be sharing one of my favorite companies with you in today's Best of the Nest series. This company not only hand makes and sells the most beautiful wooden toys that are both timeless and encourage a child's imagination, but that also has a rich history and uses the highest quality materials. Based in Germany, Ostheimer Wooden Toys have quickly become Olivia's go-to play item, whether alone or with me or Dustin by her side. And to be completely honest, these toys are unmatched.

Ostheimer wooden figures all feature a consciously unpretentious design; with their elementary shaped forms and colors, all figures create scope for imaginative playing. Thus, each figure correlates with a childlike view of the world. Ostheimer is convinced that good, high quality products for children can only emerge from a profoundly responsible attitude. And I've seen first hand, these products are undeniably good.

From the moment I came across Ostheimer, I knew their pieces were right up my alley and that they would be right at home in ours. I've shared many times that we just love wooden toys; I love the creativity they require and the imagination they encourage. I love that they are timeless -- heirlooms that last and last no matter how many hours of play. I love that they don't require batteries or outlets and the only sounds coming from them are the ones Olivia creates.

I love watching Olivia's imagination come to life as she lines up her horses, has her cat chase a mouse, bends cows to eat the grass and chatters as if the animals are having a conversation with one another. They are the perfect size for her hands to hold and because we store them in an open basket, I love that we can move them between rooms effortlessly for play anywhere; the invitation is always there for her.

Sometimes her play is virtually silent as she has a serious look on her face, determined to organize each animal just the way her heart desires. Other times I hear her saying "tweet tweet" under her breath and glance over to see her holding birds in her tiny hands. Less is more has always been our theory when it comes to toys; quality is so much more important than quantity. Because I've often found the more toys a child has, it seems the fewer opportunities they have to be creative. I never want Olivia to play with something for a few minutes and knowing she has countless other toys, to quickly move on to the next. Give her a basket of Ostheimer toys and she's content all afternoon. It opens her eyes and sparks her mind; and to think, every animal, every tree and creature started from a single piece of wood and a vision, cut and carved with human hands.

Ostheimer offers a wide variety of wooden toys, including family & farm figures, animals of forest & meadow, wild animals from around the world, fairy tale worlds and more. All of the Ostheimer pieces are crafted by hand, beginning with the initial design process to sawing, sanding and painting, to finishing with an immersion organic oil bath to protect the surface and retain the color, all before carefully packaging to send to children all around the world. 

I know every single one of these pieces will be something all of our children play with, starting now with Olivia and eventually Penelope and all of their younger siblings in the future. There is something so special about holding these pieces in your hand, about seeing your child's creativity and love of play come to life as they arrange and rearrange each animal, bird and tree just as they see fit. 

That's why I'm so thrilled to be partnering with Ostheimer to give away not one but two forest sets to two lucky winners! Head over to my instagram @blessednestblog to enter and be sure to follow along with Ostheimer below:

To shop for Ostheimer wooden toys in the US, simply visit Bella Luna Toys. And I know a few new friends will definitely be ending up in a special two year old's stocking this Christmas. Happy Tuesday!

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