Personalized and Handmade Toys

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Alright, it’s confession time. I want you to raise your hand (seriously, do it.) if you’ve ever confidently said you would NEVER do (fill in the blank) before having kids and now have to retract your statement.

Me? Guilty as charged. I’m waving both hands in the air right now.

Here are a few things that I said before having babies that I may or may not have to take back:

My child will NEVER carry around a stuffed animal. Have you met Ted? If you know Hank, I’m sure you have. Ted is a part of our family and even appears in many of our family pictures.

Our children will NEVER get in bed with us. We have had middle-of-the-night creatures crawl into bed with us more more times than I’d care to admit.

Our home will NEVER be taken over by our kids’ toys. We now have an entire room (the biggest room in our house, mind you) dedicated to our children’s babies, blocks, balls, books, and board games. We so fondly refer to it as “the playroom.”

Today, I want to chat more about our playroom, and more specifically, a few of the toys that fill it.

Did you think confession time was over? WRONG! Now, raise your hand if you have WAY too many toys. I’ll be the first to admit: We have an excessive amount. We started out on the right track. I swear. Baby Hank had, like,  one basket of toys that we hid well behind a couch in our first home. And then birthdays and Christmases and more babies happened, and then BOOM! One day I woke up and we had a playroom full of Legos and monster trucks and Calico Critters and play kitchen food.

On more than one occasion (and much to Scott’s delight), I have purged toys and trinkets that are no longer of interest to my kids; however, there are a few things that I just can’t seem to get rid of. They are special, and I imagine I’ll keep them even after my babes are done playing with them. They’re meaningful to me because they are handmade and personal. I wanted to share them with you all, and encourage you to find a craftsman (hey, maybe you have someone in your family?!) to create something special for your little one(s).

Below are the toys that were designed and constructed for my kids. I don’t include the tutorials because I didn’t make them; however, if you like the ideas, a quick Google search should yield some ideas to get you started.

Tree Blocks. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these. Our Children’s Museum has an entire area dedicated to building using tree blocks, and I really wanted some for our home. I love how natural they look and how they bring the outdoors inside. One year at Christmas, my dad took a hike in mother nature, put his ax and saw to use, slapped on some polyurethane, and BAM! gifted us with this set. I keep them in a canvas bag and can totally see my grandkids playing with them one day.

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Latch Board. When Hank was around 9 (ish?) months, I sent a few latch board images to my in-laws. My father-in-law is quite the handy man, so I thought it would be neat for him to whip up one of these for his grandson. The latch board he created exceeded all expectations. I didn’t ask him to do this, but I am OBSESSED with how he personalized the board with Hank’s name. Nora and Duke have both enjoyed playing with this toy as well.


Personalized tools. There is just something about seeing your child’s name inscribed on household items, right?  Personalization pulls at moms’ heart strings (which is probably how Pottery Barn makes a killing on its merchandise). I love these personalized tools I have for Hank and Duke. They are from Pick Your Plum, and I’ve seen them for sale multiple times, so if you are interested, keep your eye out.


After typing these out, I see wood emerging as a common material. So maybe I just like wooden toys? Whatever your material of choice, I hope you feel inspired to design or build or construct or purchase a toy or toys that will survive the Goodwill trips and garage sale purges.

Do you all have toys that you plan on keeping forever? I feel like I need something “girly” to keep around for Nora. Any ideas?


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One thought on “Personalized and Handmade Toys

  1. Betsy…I too am obsessed with some of my kids and grandkids toys. Especially wooden ones. Another favorite are the Sterling silver Peter Rabbit rattles and teethers. That latch board is amazing!!! And of course before long Nora will need an American Girl doll of her own. Love, Teta Fox


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